Becoming the perfect gentleman with Berto horne
Herberto Horne, known affectionately as Berto, is a native of Detroit, MI. Reared by a single-mother who taught him perseverance, love and fairness, gave him a strong foundation to do his life’s work. As a child, Berto’s dream was to receive a scholarship to play college basketball. After deep consideration, a full-ride awarded by the Daniels Foundation changed his life’s trajectory and led him to enrolling at Morehouse College in 2011.
Arriving at Morehouse, Berto was immediately impressed by the astuteness and traditions ingrained in Morehouse Men to become servant leaders with a social consciousness. Though Morehouse presented many opportunities, obstacles awaited Berto upon his arrival to Morehouse registering him in Remedial Reading and English which triggered timidity and uncertainty in his confidence, and a list of questions pertaining to his life’s purpose.
Now, Berto works as a Brand Influencer and President of his marketing company, TPCurators. When traveling across the country, Berto is speaking with groups ranging from schools and universities to Fortune 500 companies, equipping men and boys with the proper tools and formalities to present oneself in both formal and informal settings, and teaching them the nuts and bolts on speaking eloquently and dressing exquisitely. Even though TPGent is targeted towards men, women are heavily influenced, indirectly, as men evolve into challenging the stereotypical images of manhood and embracing chivalrous notions that uplift women.
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Written by: (Brandon Alexander)
tell us about your childhood and how it was growing up?
Berto: I'm from the West Side of Detroit. I grew up with my mom in a single-parent household and we bounced around city to city, state to state. Growing up, I saw my mom always working. She always had more than one job, but always put in time and energy with me no matter what it was.
What was your college experience like?
Berto: I didn't know what I wanted to do. I wanted to grow up. I figured I’d go to Morehouse. Not for academics or because of the business program but because of the conditioning and becoming a man. I needed that in my life. I knew if I went there, I could figure something else out.
When I got to Morehouse, I joined this promo team called Hit Squad. These guys were well known in Atlanta. I knew that joining them was an easy way for people to know me on campus. I was selling the most tickets. I had all these different tricks to get people to buy and that's how I became known on campus. I was always dancing like the little baby Diddy on campus. I wasn't doing too well academically, but I had a great social life. One thing that helped me was working in the admissions office. I wasn't the smartest in the classroom but I knew a lot of times operation shows how people got stuff. That’s how I was able to land an internship my sophomore year with Coca-Cola Foundation.
What were the first steps you took in your professional career?
Berto: I took a job with Coca-Cola. I started off as an intern personal assistant then became assistant brand manager. I was a wardrobe advisor for Commonwealth Proper. I did custom suiting, was certified in tailoring and design. I probably had like four different hustles while at Coke. And that was my way of having flexibility at Coke. I didn't have to work for my office. I worked in the Leadership Program and Sales and Marketing. Then I got promoted a couple years later into a marketing manager.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Berto: Yes, I only worked with Coca-Cola because of the flexibility and I knew how to make money on my own. I literally was supposed to be at work or with a client at some office in New York, but I’d have my personal phone and work phone, my work computer and personal computer, and I'd finesse it.
March 16, 2018 was the day I left. I remember like it was yesterday. I started downsizing my apartment. It was a mindset shift. I began to prepare myself and started letting my friends know. I had to learn how to say no to things and I had to start creating that mentality so people knew what was going on.
I'm in Atlanta so my market is not the same as New York or DC. I'm definitely in a more niche space than a lot of other people, but at the same time, relationships can be productive. I realized that I might not be on the camera, but I could be behind the camera. That's what encouraged me to start my marketing company.
Tell us about the Perfect Gentleman and your marketing company.
Berto: The perfect gentleman is my personal life-style brand. I work as a lifestyle connoisseur partner with luxury brands showcasing their product services through my lens. Then you have the Perfect Curator which is my Digital Marketing company. We focus on strategy and the local businesses, helping them create the content.
What types of initiatives are you doing with the foundation?
Berto: We'll be working with twenty young men in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. Most are juniors and seniors in high school, and freshmen and sophomores in college. We’ll provide shirts, suits, ties, shoes, and accessories. We'll be giving them tablets, the graduating seniors in high school will get a computer for college. We'll be giving them corporate and entrepreneurship tours then college tours for the high school students. We want to show them that they may need to get a trade or get their real estate license. At the age of 18, it’s important for them to get out there and start hustling.
What is a book that has really impacted your life?
Berto: I’m reading a book called, “Preeminence” by Glen Jackson and it talks about being the cutting edge of your industry. It talks about marketing, living your best life in a space where you are pouring yourself into an environment by giving your best effort to get the best results.
What frustrates you the most about today’s culture?
Berto: People who aren’t able to own up to things going on in their lives. I was doing remedial reading in English and had to take extra classes and do work before basketball practice as well as after practice. I was cool with it and wasn't afraid of it.
I owned it, I would joke around with it sometimes, but I owned it. I didn’t want to be in the same situation four years later. It was okay for me to say, “let me go get some help, let me take some more speech classes.”
Who are some mentors that have invested in you?
Berto: I have people who are able to call shots for me which are like my sponsors not mentors. My mentors are peer mentors, people who are in their 30s.
Cashy, Tamiko, and even my manager, J. I ended up having some older mentors who I've worked for such as Rodney Buller at the Chick-Fil-A foundation. Glen Jackson at Jackson & Spaulding, to Marrin Grading who’s the president of UPS North American operations in Atlanta. Last but not least, Joe Wilkams who works there at UPS as well and checks up on me every six months.
What is your passion?
Berto: My passion is being the people's champ, Muhammad Ali is my favorite athlete. I enjoy seeing someone do something that's bigger than themselves. From a young age, my mom always told me, “Berto you’re not better than anybody, nobody’s better than you, but you're gonna be somebody.” That always stuck with me.
Mentorship with students is important to me as well. I wanted to have internships, not only because of the work but also because of the mentorship. I wanted to blaze a trail for my people. Some people know me for being cool, joking and having fun, but I want them to say, “because of you I was able to take the leap of faith. You helped me not do X Y & Z. I did this instead.” I would love for people to hear about me if I was to leave tomorrow and for my mom to hear it.
What's been the biggest challenge for you?
Berto: It was growing up without a father. Not really a challenge or a regret or failure, it’s just the missed communication. I wish that maybe down the line we can start bridging that gap and creating that line of communication with each other again. Growing up without a father has motivated me. I’ve created the Perfect Gentleman and through that venture we mentor students. Essentially, giving them something I never had growing up.
What inspires you to succeed?
Berto: My mom. I seen her do so much and I want to make sure I can take care of her. My mom is 60; she shouldn't be working right now. My goal is to allow her to settle down with a nice crib, be able to travel and do things that she wants do to live her life.
What advice do you have for the next generation of creators?
Berto: Create your own lane if there isn’t one already. I would also reference the 10 by 10 by 10. Within the first 10 seconds of meeting you, people judge you. As they come within 10 inches it’s your hand shake, which is the grooming. Then it’s the first 10 words out your mouth. I realized most people will judge me off of that and I’m a well-dressed guy but at the same time they may not know me. I need to work my way backwards and get them to know me from the conversation and then they get a chance to see who I am over a period of time. That’s your true brand and that's how I've been able to work in my space. Also, do your homework, do your research and don't just think because people have a lot of followers they’re making money off of them. A lot of people are buying clothes, returning them to the store and just tagging brands.
Let everyone know how they can find you online.
Interested in learning more or connecting with Berto?