President Obama once asked, “Are we creating enough of a network that kids aren’t falling through the cracks, and when they make a mistake we hold them accountable?”. We owe our ancestors and the generations to come a commitment of accountability for the protection of our youth. This network starts with a movement of doers who are willing to teach and train kids how to properly navigate through systems that were designed to stifle their willingness. And for the men at That Suits You, a nonprofit organization that provides resources and attire to young men as they begin their professional journey, are taking the initiative to be that network. Founder, PK Kersey shared with us why organizations like That Suits You are needed for young men.
What essentials are needed to provide a firm foundation for young Black men to succeed?
For black men to truly succeed I believe they need a few essentials like a role model. Being able to have someone for guidance without judgment is a huge benefit. A proven winner that can give much-needed direction would save so much time, money and energy. Also a strong family setting. Many young men grow up in single-parent households. while I am not saying that 1 parent households cannot raise successful men, I do believe that having both parents in a solid marriage greatly aides in their development. Lastly, exposure and representation. Being able to see, read about and meet successful individuals that look like you sets an amazing tone and impression.
How important was it for you to start That Suits You (TSY) and did your personal upbringing has an effect on the process? (city, environmental, family etc)
After working for NYS DMV for over 24 years and see men not dressing appropriately for interviews I felt starting TSY was essential to help teach, train and provide clothing to individuals in that situation. My mother and father played a huge role in me having the idea to start TSY. They raised me, my brother and sister, to always have a giving heart and to consider others. They demonstrated love and care towards me growing up and that stayed with me to this day.
They say dress for the job you want, but why does appearance oftentimes overshadow one’s skills/abilities?
It all goes back to the 7/11 Rule. The rule states within the first 7 seconds of meeting someone we form 11 judgments about them. First impressions are so hard to overcome. So our principle is to teach never make a good first impression but always make an impactful one.
In terms of TSY core values, what role does community have in it?
Community is the heart of the city. If we don’t have strong and caring communities then the city is doomed. Strong and caring communities come from strong and caring families.
For someone who’s entering or reentering the workforce what are 3 tips that TSY suggest for making a good first impression?
First keep your visuals sharp (attire, haircut, resume). Secondly, be mindful of your tone and body language. Have a firm handshake and maintain great eye contact. Finally, communication is key. Many people fail by over speaking or not saying enough
Tell us about your $2 donation campaign and it’s intended goal.
Most people often want to donate to a good cause but don’t have the finances to do so. Well, we came up with the idea to have 20,000 people donate as little as $2 or more to help us continue with the work we are doing. We are also partnering with homeless shelters and libraries to reach more individuals in need.
How can we begin to create dialogue at home to assist with building up our young Black men before they go out into the world? What type of conversations should be had?
I believe if we have daily regular communication most issues will come to light. This will allow us to address them early on than to pressure these young men into forced conversations when they start acting out. If men believe that a person generally cares for them and has their best interest in mind, they will be more likely to have those tough talks without fear and concern for their mental well being.
What is the perfect interview suit?
I think the perfect interview suit is a navy blue one. With a crisp white shirt, a patterned blue tie, a brown belt, a pair of brown shoes, dress socks, and accessorized with a classic timepiece.