I Have A Strong Support System Now
“Most professional athletes hate losing—period.It’s why we trained so hard, focused so hard on the details of the game that allowed us to block out certain aspects of pain and suffering to accomplish the goal. I knew I wanted to play in the NFL by age 11 and I made a consciouseffort to do all that I could to make that dream a reality. Playing pro football became my identity.”
Gerome grew up in Houston, Texas, with his older brother and sister raised by their single mom. “My father was in prison most of my life, andI didn’t have much contact with him. My mother did not want me to play organized team football until I was in the 7thgrade. But my older brother and I found street pickupgames with older kids and adults playing on concrete. I learned the instincts ofseeing the things around you and how not to get hit.”
Gerome is a former High School Parade & USA Today First Team All-American and Blue Chip All-American. He accepted a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, where he earned four letters in football. Named to several All-American teams his senior year, Gerome was voted Team Captain by his teammates. After graduating with a degree in Finance, he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens to play safety. The next season he signed with the Indianapolis Colts where he played two seasons, returning to Baltimore for two more seasons where he retired.
“I knew before I was draftedthat football was not going to be my lifetime career. My mom had stressed academics, making my brain as strong as I can and to think for myself. I have always wanted something more.” After football, he received an Executive MBA from Harvard Business School.“I was ready to flex my wings and to start my own company where there was no glass ceiling.”
His first company, Morph & Thro, LLC, made high-endworkout/fitness apparel from 100% recycled plasticproduced domestically.“It was the first company to create high-end, durable polyester workout gear from renewable sources. My clothing company caught the eye of an elite US Navy Seal unit.After a year of growing the company and our brand, I decided to sell my shares and start my next company,Fluencr, Inc.” Hedeveloped an algorithm for a web-basedsocial media marketing and monetization platform. “I was ecstatic to receive investment capital, but I also experienced a feeling of sadness sincethe possibility of ever playing football again was officially in my past.” A part of the investment deal required him to move to Las Vegas for five years with his family. “When I couldn’t raise the next round of financing, it was disheartening. I sold the algorithm in 2015.”
He then started a production company and directed and produced a reality show on YouTube called ‘Fresh Cuts Las Vegas’ when a friend opened a barbershop. Men in Vegas care about how they look; barbers have a lot of influence here with celebrities and the casinos.”
His next creative project was a documentary called “A Beautiful Encore” about ‘Life is Beautiful,’the most popular arts and music festival held in downtown Las Vegas. During the production of the documentary, he became interested in Virtual Reality and learned how to film in VR 360° He realized VR was a great potential marketing tool for the emerging marijuana industry in Washington state. “For someone who never tried it, they could experience the moods that the different strains produced. I guess, again, my ideas were ahead of their time.”
His next venture came from a concept he’d had in business school. “Health Binge was a fresh prepared meals company thatexperienced ‘a ton of success.’That’s why it was so disappointing to shut it down after nine months. It had grown to 16 locations across two states and became partners with the NBA, WNBA, Children’s Kids Museum, Chippendales, etc. When I couldn’t raise the money to continue, I decided to take a break from business and spend more time with my family. I was starting to feel a little depressed.”
He was at a crossroads in his life. Gerome met Noel Huerta’s cousin at a restaurant who told him about MVP. Noel is one of the Las Vegas center’s Program Coordinators. When he met with Noel, Noel asked him about the prepared meals company as a possible sponsor. Gerome was more interested in joining MVP as a member. “I needed to be around like-minded people at this point and needed the camaraderie. We come from the same places—sports and the military—we are looking for that sense of camaraderie and being part of a team again. We get each other.”
Just as he used his instincts to learn the techniques of football, his visionary business ideas show his uncanny ability to ‘think outside the box.” MVP offers numerous resources from other members, staff and the expertise from the advisory board to help members achieve their goals.
“I’m taking a break from working now. MVP reminds me of who I was and who I can still be. I have a strong support system now that has taught me life goes on.”