Gerard “PK” Kersey understands that getting a job goes beyond having a good resume, possessing good interviewing skills, and being experienced, which is why he launched his company, That Suits You. For five years, the nonprofit organization has provided approximately 8,000 suits for men: young, old, and in-between.
“Working for the state and seeing so many qualified gentlemen come in [for job interviews] but not getting the job that they were going for simply because they didn’t have the proper attire, I felt kind of bad about that, and I wanted to do something. So I spoke to my brother, and he felt the same way. And, so, we went in our closets, and we started giving suits to individuals who were in that same position,” Kersey told TNJ.com.
The Kersey brothers observed the sense of pride and confidence in the young men once they put on the suits, and they too felt empowered to help more males realize their potential. They began reaching out to various programs including those that focus on job training, mental health, and ex-cons bettering their lives.
It is quite fitting that That Suits You also supplies workshops, called C.H.O.I.C.E. The acronym stands for Change, Habits, Options and Opportunity, Image, Communication, and Effort. This year’s theme is Being a Gentleman is a C.H.O.I.C.E., which guides students on how to disregard negative stereotypes and labels and instead make the choice of being a gentleman. Being a provider, a businessman, honest, and having integrity are the attributes of a gentleman, according to Kersey.
Before taking on the role of president and CEO in addition to founder of That Suits You, Kersey had a 24-year career with the DMV. The decision to leave his job in 2017, where he made $95,000, and commit to his company full-time was a tremendous challenge for the entrepreneur. In addition to having a family to support, he was embarking on an unknown and uncertain path. But ever the visionary, Kersey believed in himself and was willing to work at accomplishing his dream.
“A lot of people talk about owning their own business and being an entrepreneur,” he said. “I believe everybody’s built for it, but if everybody’s not willing to put everything that they have into it, then it’s not going to be successful. You got to know that you know that you know that this is what you want and that you have something of quality.”
And speaking of quality, That Suits You recently partnered with Banana Republic for an upcoming Family and Friends Day campaign for this month and September. The photo shoot will take place at the store’s Rockefeller Center location. How did the collaboration start?
Banana Republic saw the work of That Suits You via social media. Being active on social media, building relationships, building the company, and building trust are vital tools Kersey recommends for any aspiring entrepreneur, CEO, and/or president.
Kersey has reached a point where he now expects challenges as a businessman. The difference, he says, is entering a battle hoping to win and already knowing you’ve won. And for him, the rewards outweigh the challenges. Upon being asked about those rewards, Kersey discussed his new, bestselling book, Suited for Success: 25 Inspirational Stories on Getting Prepared for Your Journey to Success.
He conceived the idea for his book last February and sought out friends and social media to enlist 24 men who would be open to sharing their journey and wisdom with the world. The reception for Kersey’s debut has been nothing short of positive. In addition to being a bestseller, Black Enterprise named Suited for Success one of the must-read books from black authors, and there has been an outpouring of testimonies from men and women readers alike who described the book as “powerful.” What’s more is, the book has also intrigued the C.H.O.I.C.E students. Part of the workshop is designed to motivate the students to write a book, an aspect that is important to Kersey.
“When people see that the book has my name and picture on it, they’re like ‘wow, how did you do this?’ And I tell them it was hard, it was a process, but it’s possible. So we try to get them to think about those things at an early age. Instead of always thinking of yourself as an employee, you can be the one that employs people. You can be the owner, the businessman, the entrepreneur.”
Kersey, who is the father of twin nine-year-old boys, has taught them how to tie their ties and says he sees them following in his footsteps soon.