Pictured: Brothers and Co-Founders of That Suits You PK Kersey and Jamael Thompson
New York-based non-profit, "That Suits You," is an organization that seeks to educate and inspire men of color to take a more active role in constructing their professional image and seizing opportunities to better their lives. The organization collects donated new to gently used professional attire to then be recycled to men in need of appropriate attire for job interviews, graduation, prom, and other special occasions. The organization also facilitates branding, image, and life skills workshops via partnerships with local job readiness training programs.
In 2013, the non-profit was founded by brothers, Gerard “PK” Kersey and Jamael Thompson. Both brothers had spent a total of 20 years in the corporate world and wanted to create an initiative that not only provided young and older men with appropriate professional attire but also allowed them to educate them on the importance of image in the professional world. They attributed the professional opportunity gap for men of color to two things: lack of access to professional attire and simply ignorance to the expectations and culture of the corporate world regarding image.
“By founding That Suits You, we tried to eliminate both obstacles as far as free suits and teaching young and older men about the importance of image because being in the corporate world, we understand how important our image is,” Kersey told Black Enterprise.
Within the first year of their founding, Kersey and Thompson quickly partnered with Black Enterprise Magazine. President & CEO, Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr., donated 50 suits, ties, and shirts on two separate occasions. They have since continued their partnership with Black Enterprise who will host a suit drive during this year’s “Black Men XCEL Summit." The summit will take place August 29-September 2 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. In addition, FedEx, one of the magazine’s listed “Best Companies for Diversity," has agreed to underwrite all donation shipping costs in an effort to collect as many suits as possible during the summit.
Since its inception, "That Suits You" has been able to provide suits, ties, shirts, suit accessories, and informational programming to over 7,000 people. Given their upcoming suit drive, they are hoping to increase that number significantly in the coming years.
“FedEx is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Black Men XCEL Summit and we’re supporting That Suits You by donating the shipping services for the collection drive. Through this outreach project, Black Enterprise is giving attendees the opportunity to help other men who are trying to improve their lives and define their career paths," shared Shannon Brown, senior vice president of Air/Ground Freight Services and chief diversity officer at FedEx Express.
"Sometimes we go through life and we get some form of success or recognition, and that’s good, but we have to share that with the village and other brothers who might not have the opportunity. People always say that it’s lonely at the top. But, it’s never lonely at the top if you bring people with you,” said Kersey.
We couldn't agree more. Visit www.thatsuitsyou.org to learn more about the organization.