When it comes to a legacy, Beachum Jr. wants to be remembered for more than what he did on the gridiron.
For most athletes, the realization of playing at the highest level in their respective sport is enough to satisfy them. That level of success is the culmination of hard work, sacrifice and commitment to their craft. Once they make it, they do everything to keep it.
There are NFL players who see football as their identity, and want to forever be known for their contributions to the game. Kelvin Beachum Jr. wants to be known for more.
From an early age, Beachum knew he would be an athlete with a less conventional perspective; one who focused on more than just his sport.
“I always wanted to break the mold of the traditional athlete. I was the first football player to be on The Board of Trustees as a student-athlete at SMU,” said Beachum.
A product of Mexia, Texas, Beachum’s upbringing inspired him to diversify his interests outside the game of football.
As a student-athlete at SMU, Beachum was a captain on the football team, a leader on campus and a student trustee that frequently met with the Director of Athletics and the University President.
He made a habit of making deposits early in his career. As Beachum would explain it, he put small deposits in the bank to build up for later, in hopes of capitalizing on his hard work further into his career. However, his deposits were not regular dollars, but a culmination of both information and resources.
Beachum carries his family’s history with him in everything he does.
“My grandad taught my dad how to work on cars, so I grew up around that my entire life. That’s how I became interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM]. I saw it every day.”
Growing up, Beachum saw his father’s automotive shop become one of the most successful black-owned businesses in Mexia. Working within the family business taught Beachum the importance of hard work, and his early experiences influenced him to share his love of STEM-based education as he found success as a professional.
“How do young people get prepared for a future in STEM, and what am I doing to help with how technology plays a role in my personal ventures? I have a passion for ending hunger and providing clean water to the world. How does technology play a role in that? It’s up to us to answer those questions to get the youth prepared for the future.”
-Kelvin Beachum Jr.
Beachum is most notably an offensive tackle for the New York Jets, but is an equally savvy businessman, turning his attention to his non-football life after workouts.
He spends his offseason time making deposits into his business and philanthropic ventures. Aside from his NFL commitments, he works with numerous hunger organizations to fight food insecurity, is a private investor with Next Play Capital and an advisory member of the NFLPA’s OneTeam Collective.
The NFLPA OneTeam Collective is designed to accelerate growth for companies seeking to align with the sports industry, and provides access, funding and advice for current and former NFL players. This elite network identifies and vets investment opportunities for players, and the business connections give athletes the opportunity to learn from professionals in the spaces of investing, access and exposure. This board has been a catalyst for Beachum’s foray into venture capital.
In matters of business, brand and philanthropy, Beachum relies on guidance from various mentors.
“I have a football mentor, a telecommunications mentor, nonprofit, mass media, automotive, you name it. They invest in me.”
One of Beachum’s personal goals is to acquire financial and time-based freedom, post-football, as well as generational wealth for his family. One of his main verticals in both the business and philanthropic sectors aims to provide opportunities and access, specifically within STEM disciplines, for underserved populations.
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“I learned over the years that especially in the black community, the opportunities in STEM were slim, and in general, America hasn’t fully embraced the STEM movement, especially in education curriculums compared to places like China. I want to be someone leading the charge for change.”
It’s easy to see Beachum as the non-traditional athlete with a diverse portfolio and a clear plan, but he doesn’t limit himself to the opportunities in front of him today.
“There was a time I wanted to be an athletic director, a superintendent and a governor. But now, I’m focused on impacting the global economy and laying a good foundation to build for my family.”
From impacting NFL games on Sunday, to helping his parent’s on Fixer Upper, to speaking to corporations about embracing inclusion in the workplace, impact is the last thing we have to worry about for Beachum.
The STEM acronym embodies more than academic principles for Beachum, as he approaches everyday as an opportunity to help achieve his goals of Supporting, Teaching, Empowering, and Maximizing opportunities for others. When it’s all said and done, those small deposits he frequently puts away, will undoubtedly lead to a big payout — one he hopes will benefit his family and enrich the world around him in the biggest way.
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