The look of a sharp-dressed gentleman means he is about business. Couple that polished appearance with knowledge, opportunity and execution and you have success.
Reginald French, Stephon Coleman and Thomas Nolan – local businessmen and fraternity brothers – consistently present that dressed-to-impress look.
French is a technology firm owner, recipient of the 2012 Kappa Man of the Year award, and a philanthropist who has worked diligently with Kappa Alpha Psi and St. Jude on Sunday of Hope. Coleman is an executive with FedEx. Nolan is an artist, firefighter, and most notably a culinary artist.
Carlee McCullough: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Reginald French: Currently, I am an entrepreneur with a focus on the technology sector. I also run the Fatherhood Foundation, where we mentor young black boys from single parent homes. I am married with one daughter who is a student in the public school system. I consider myself a champion for community service and the people.
Stephon Coleman: I'm 49 years old and I have been fortunate to be married for 22 years old to Tia Burks. I have two sons, Sgt. Quinton L. Coleman currently serving in Afghanistan, and Stephon F. Coleman II, a student at the University Of Memphis. I have been employed with FedEx Express for the past 27 years. I participate in mentoring our youth, giving them an understanding of their life today and aspirations for tomorrow.
Thomas Nolan: I am a married family man. Additionally, I am an artist, culinary artist, and a firefighter for 18 years. I am a graduate of LeMoyne-Owen College. I enjoy traveling to explore exquisite eateries with international influence. I love going to MLB baseball games, preparing food, and visiting art galleries.
CM: When did you realize you had a flair for fashion?
RF: I was blessed that my dad spent a lot of time with me on how to tie a necktie and shine shoes. Plus, we stayed in church, so a suit is something that I was wearing a lot as a kid and it carried into my adult life. My parents were big on manners, attitude and appearance.
SC: I'm not sure that I have so much of a flair for fashion. I just listen to the professionals. When I was growing up my parents were both in banking and I always saw my dad dressed appropriately for whatever event he attended...(He) would tell me it did not "matter what everyone else wore, we are going to dress appropriately."
TN: I realized that I had a flair for fashion when attending college in the early '80s on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College. This nice female complemented me on my attire, which consisted of the only pair of jeans that I owned which were so full of holes and colorful paint from the studio splashed all over the denim that I had paired them with a starched white polo dress shirt and ostrich skin cowboy boots. I have the less-is-more approach as it relates to fashion.
CM: Has maintaining a polished and stylish look benefitted you professionally?
RF: I think it shows a sense of professionalism and seriousness. However, I think one's attitude should mirror their dress. It's not enough to just look good, also to treat people in a good manner.
SC: Yes, it has. A year or so after the interview of the first management job I was hired for at FedEx, the person that hired me told me that when I walked through the door I pretty much had the job because of my attire. At that point they decided if I did a good job with the interview questions I was going to be the person they would hire.
TN: Absolutely. I have to wear several different attires. It depends on what hat I'm wearing for that day of the week. By that I mean, being a visual artist and my artistic state of mind will incline me to dress causal, chic and funky, because of the relaxing atmosphere that art galleries generates. When I'm on duty as a firefighter or a personal chef where I'm in the public eyes, I'm in my navy blue duty uniform or a stylish chef jacket. I take pride in a spotless professional and fresh presentation every day, which means a lot when it comes to serving the public. It gives a person a sense of trust and confidence when doing business with them or serving them in any capacity.
NEXT WEEK: Dress to Impress, Part II.