2019 Alumni January 2019

Three alums recognized as top young innovators by Forbes

The artist and KREWE founder using fashion as his medium. The National Football League social maven harnessing big data for big engagement. The New York Jets tackle with a passion for startups and STEM education. What do they have in common? They’re SMU alums named to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, the magazine’s chronicle of “the brashest entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada.”


Stirling Barrett ’11

Starting when he was a teenager, New Orleans native Barrett found a market for his photographic collages. For five years after college, he supported himself by selling his artwork and flirted with opening a New Orleans gallery. Instead he took his savings and self-financed the launch of KREWE, an eyewear brand that includes sunglasses, prescription glasses and soon, sports eyewear. KREWE’s frames are plant-based Italian acetate with lightweight lenses. The company has two stores in New Orleans, a small Soho boutique that opened in 2018 and two traveling tiny house stores. It replaces any frame that breaks, in perpetuity. KREWE’s celebrity following includes Gigi Hadid, Serena Williams, Beyoncé, Kendall Jenner.

Barrett received a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Meadows School of the Arts.

Kelvin Beachum, Jr. ’10, ’12

When Beachum isn’t protecting quarterbacks, he’s padding his portfolio. With stakes in over 20 companies, he focuses on the manufacturing, agricultural and autonomous robotics industries. He also serves on the advisory board of OneTeam Collective, an accelerator connecting companies to athletes and their IP.

Beachum received the 2018  Emerging Leader Award from SMU and has been nominated for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and a Master of Liberal Studies degree from the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Sana Merchant ’11

Merchant advises the NFL’s 32 clubs’ executive teams on their social media strategy. She also oversees all social reporting that is distributed from the NFL to the clubs and helps teams analyze the data. She leads relationships with all major social platforms with which the NFL has deals, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. She launched the Social Managers Workshop, an annual meeting for teams’ social staff.

Merchant received a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications and public affairs from Meadows School of the Arts.

Read more at Forbes.