by admin | January 17, 2018 10:52 am
New York Jet’s offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum is using his voice and his platform as a pro athlete to make waves in the business world as both a savvy investor and a devoted philanthropist. In an exclusive interview with The Small Business Journal Kelvin took some time to share his insights on what makes a good investor into a great investor as well as what inspires him to give back.
Jay: I have to say, Kelvin, I love how you’re leveraging social media to build your own personal brand especially through LinkedIn. I’ve spoken to a number of athletes and I tend to see a strong connection between what it takes to succeed in sports and what it takes to succeed in business. There’s so much more talent beyond what they show you on prime time television which is why I think athletes are a superior example of entrepreneurs. You’re a somewhat unique example in that you’re involved with other initiatives while still playing in the NFL. What first sparked your interest in the business world?
Kelvin: It started when I was in Pittsburgh. I was thinking about going back to get my MBA and a friend of mine who worked at AT&T said to bypass the MBA and he would teach me everything I needed to know about business. After that I started looking at things through a different lense and I saw some of the startups coming out of CMU and I got to see the tech scene out in San Francisco when the Super Bowl was there. I invested in my first fund in 2016 while I was in Jacksonville, Next Play Capital, and once I did that, things really started to take off. I was also placed on the advisory board to the One Team Collective, an athlete-driven business accelerator for innovative companies seeking to incorporate sports strategies to drive growth. Since coming to New York I’ve been able develop relationships within the financial ecosystem here and have gotten into a number of very profitable companies and profitable startups in all different phase
Jay: What an inspirational story both for other athletes and for aspiring entrepreneurs. Speaking of which, there are so many elements in sports that can be translated into business and life. Seeing as you have been successful in both realms, can you share the traits that have contributed the most to your own triumphs?
Kelvin: There are two things that have been invaluable in my journey. The first is that listening is a skill. When I look at what I’ve done on the football field and what I’ve done in philanthropy and in the business sector with investing and startups and venture capital, it’s all about listening. For example, in football, if you have 95,000 fans screaming at you and it’s third-and-four, there’s two minutes left in the game, and you’ve gotta get this first down and you’re down by four on your 40 yard line, it is vital that you listen to the quarterback. You not only have to listen to the play but you also have to listen to the snap count and you’ve got to listen to what the guy next to you is saying, and you may have to listen to the left and to the right because there might be a call that’s being relayed from the right side of the line to the left side of the line. In that situation you’ve got to listen but it’s a learned skill. If you translate that into the workforce, it may not be as loud, but listening is also a skill. Many different things that are happening on a daily basis, whether it’s a board meeting, whether it’s a supervisory meeting or a manager meeting or an investors meeting or a founders meeting, there are so many different things that can easily be misinterpreted because people are not listening.
The other trait that translates from sports to business is attention to detail. I can go back to that scenario of two minutes left in the game and it’s third-and-four at the 40 yard line — you have to pay attention to those details: Are you doing the exact thing that you’re coached to do? In that exact situation are you putting yourself in the best position to win? People may not see it as a detail when you have a successful block, but, I’m asking myself: did I sit my stance right? Did I engage my core right? Did I activate my traps right? Did I punch him square? Did I drive out of my stance? Did I have intent when I drove? If you flip that over to the boardroom, it’s the details that make a good investor a great investor. It’s the details that make an investment manager a dud or a stud. It’s the same thing, Jay. It’s the details and really paying attention to those details that has helped me on the football field and beyond.
Jay: Thank you for sharing those insights. In addition to your reputation in the business world you’re also becoming well known for your philanthropic work. Can you share what inspired you to get behind the specific charities you partner with?
Kelvin: I’m really passionate about two things: ending hunger, both domestically and worldwide, and providing access to STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) for disadvantaged youth communities. To help end hunger I’ve partnered with World Vision on the global side and on the domestic side I’ve partnered with Feeding America. This is a cause that hits close to home for me because growing up in Mexia, Texas, food insecurity and hunger was something my family experienced from time to time. Over the course of my football career, I’ve partnered with various food banks and seen how I can really use my voice and my platform to bring about positive change to needy individuals all across America, and all across the globe.
Regarding STEM, again this goes back to my own childhood, but I witnessed how my Dad benefited from knowledge that was passed down to him from my grandfather and that enabled my dad to open one of the largest African American owned small businesses in Mexia. I was fortunate enough to have studied economics and sports management for my undergraduate degree and then organizational dynamics for my masters, but I saw, especially when I got to the league and started talking with kids, just a lack of access to a better opportunity and not just a better opportunity to play in sports, but a better opportunity for education and how education influences and impacts their life moving forward. When we give these kids more access to STEM programs and curriculums and resources we don’t just give them a fish, we teach them how to fish, as the old saying goes.
Jay: It’s really great to see how you’re using your own humble upbringings to now impact and inspire so many others. Thank you so much for your time and best of luck this season, Kelvin. To check out some of Kelvin’s great initiatives click HERE 
Kelvin currently plays in the NFL for the New York Jets and can be best described as diligent, disciplined, focused, with a thirst for knowledge. Kevin is a professional football player by occupation, but making a positive impact is my passion and my purpose.
He has spent my college years at SMU doubling as an involved student, and dedicated athlete. Through his involvement as a student leader on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, the SMU Board of Trustees, the President’s Substance Abuse Task Force, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and SMU Football team captain, Kevin has learned the art of juggling responsibilities as well realizing his vast and diverse areas of interest.
Source URL: http://thesbjournal.com/video/kelvin-beachums-keys-to-success/
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