Earlier this summer, CultureMap announced a new program called Top Texans Under 30, in which we celebrate the twentysomething power players making things happen in business and community.
To determine the 2016 honorees, we solicited help from fellow Texans who have themselves made an impact. After the editors culled a group of finalists from the vast pool of public nominations, our expert panel reviewed the list and chose the winners.
Before we reveal the names of Texas’ newest trailblazers, we first wanted to introduce the judges, without whom we couldn’t have made this program happen:
Designer and CEO, Kendra Scott
Scott started her company in 2002 with only $500 and just three months after her first son was born. Armed with a tea box full of her jewelry, she went door to door to boutiques, wowing potential customers with her infectious personality and unique eye for design.
Using natural stones and custom-design shapes, Scott’s jewelry has won over women in her home state of Texas and celebrities alike. Today, she runs a multimillion-dollar business based in Austin, with a focus on family, fashion, and philanthropy. In the past 12 months, the company donated $1.4 million and 50,000 pieces of jewelry while working with more than 1,000 local and national organizations.
Managing member, Chevalier Law Firm
A native New Yorker of Cuban descent, Chevalier is an experienced transactional and government affairs lawyer representing governmental agencies and Fortune 500 companies in a cross section of industries. Recently the Houstonian joined Engage Cuba, a national organization lobbying Congress to lift the embargo against Cuba. He’s assisting U.S. firms with market entry into Cuba.
Chevalier’s civic engagement includes serving on the Greater Houston Partnership’s International Trade Development Committee and Government Relations Advisory Committee. He’s also the founder of Key PAC, a nonpartisan political action committee with a national reach, comprising corporate executives, business owners, educators, and other professionals.
Co-founder and CEO, Dallas Entrepreneur Center
A champion of the Dallas startup scene, Bowles has built numerous for-profit and nonprofit organizations and now leads strategy, vision, and overall development for the DEC. Together with Mayor Mike Rawlings, he co-founded the Mayor’s Star Council, a group of culturally diverse and civically minded young professionals who make an impact on the city.
Bowles also launched an entrepreneurship department at SMU in the Meadows School of Arts, where he still serves as an adjunct professor. Most recently, he co-founded and launched the Dallas Innovation Alliance, a public-private partnership with the City of Dallas, local leading nonprofits, and major corporate partners to design, develop, and launch a Smart Cities initiative in downtown Dallas.
Chief executive officer, Foot Cardigan
A self-proclaimed eternal optimist, and the fastest beard-grower in the West, DeLuca majored in music business at Belmont University in Nashville — which worked out well, because he’s now the face and brains of a sock company: Foot Cardigan, of Shark Tank fame. A Europhile at heart, the Dallasite possesses a charisma that puts others at ease while simultaneously inviting them to join the fun. Foot Cardigan also has a spin-off for kids called Whippersnapper.
Founder, Renee Rouleau
Rouleau is a trusted skincare expert whose products and facial treatments have been helping both women and men attain healthy, glowing, beautiful skin for more than 25 years. She has two spas in Dallas and a robust e-commerce business, thanks to an innovative line of more than 60 results-oriented skincare products that address nine distinct skin types.
With a track record of proven results — you need only look at her own beautiful complexion — Rouleau has earned the trust of clients around the world, including celebrities like Sofia Vergara, Emma Roberts, and Demi Lovato. She’s now based in Austin.