The fraternal organization known as the Gentlemen’s Journal was first conceived at Tarpon Bend, with the Gentlemen’s Creed — “Family First, Business Second”, “Honor Above Profit” and “Be Your Brother’s Keeper” — at the forefront. It’s more than simply an easy way to network and share ideas, or a safe space for guys to get away from their wives for a couple of hours; it’s a beacon of hope in an age that desperately needs it.
The group’s beginings are perhaps as humble as its intentions. “One day a group of guys got together over scotch and cigars to talk about business very informally,” says Brett Trembly, a Founding Partner at Trembly Law Firm and Co-Founder of Gentlemen’s Journal, who, along with Gabriel De Armas, Director of Business & Community Development at Home Instead Senior Care, Jon Ridley of multinational conglomerate Johnson Controls and Chris Colston of family-owned Second Chance Credit, first conceived of this powerful organization. “We had such a good time, one of the guys said we should do this more often, and so Gentlemen’s Journal was born.”
Applying the techniques of noted early 20th Century philosopher Napoleon Hill and drawing upon the deep well of contacts each respective founder has amassed over their professional lives, what started as an informal gathering became, almost all of a sudden, a monthly meeting where each member began to see a direct benefit, one that ran far deeper than simply developing better business techniques. Organizing their many monthly meetings (with membership limited to a core 24) and interest rapidly spreading, there are Gentlemen’s Journal chapter’s spread all across Miami-Dade County, from the central chapters of Miami and Coral Gables to the more recent Pinecrest, Kendall and Hialeah/Miami Lakes chapters.
Each session is split into an hour of informal drinks and cigars followed by seminars and sharing about subjects ranging from “Best business advice ever received” to “Toughest family tragedy you’ve ever dealt with,” the scope of the Gentlemen’s Journal catapults way past quick and easy capitalist techniques to what it means to be a man in the world today. “When the founders first told me about the group I had quite a few questions, and it wasn’t until I went to the meetings that I found it was really something original,” says Christian Rodriguez, Partner & Chair of the Litigation Department at Trembly. “What I found was guys not just interested in developing better business concepts but becoming better men. A lot of these networking groups don’t focus on those facets, they focus on forming better businesses period. But I, and a lot of other guys, need something more than that.”
Rick Alberty, Business Development Manager for famed upscale Barbershop & Spa Well-Groomed Gentleman and soon-to-be-opened Well Groomed Image Consultants on Miracle Mile, agrees. “The journal is not just about meeting like-minded individuals like yourself and it is not just about networking,” he says. “The Gentlemen’s Journal is a group of professionals that understand the difficulties of keeping a balance between work, home life and your love life. We strive to put family first, above and beyond profit. Too many families in today’s world are split up because many of us are always working and we don’t always devote the necessary quality time with our spouses and kids. In our meetings, we really divulge many personal items to the group and we help each other in whatever way we can to improve each other’s lives. These gentlemen are true gentlemen. Whether we do business together or not, we are available to help each other out in our daily lives.”
Stressing the fraternal in fraternal organization, what seems most apparent from the outside is that the Gentlemen’s Journal offers young professionals something they desperately need in our impersonal age: A place they can return to each month to make and nurture friendships; it’s a true network that runs deeper than a simple laundry list of name-dropping. “I recently had a baby and the guys all got together and sent my wife an arrangement of flowers,” says Rodriguez. “My wife was so taken aback that she looked at me and said ‘Wow, what a great group of guys!”
Aware that being a better man expands far beyond the boardroom and the family dinner table, Gentlemen’s Journal is intent on positively affecting the community.William Colas, Senior Associate & Director of Sales at Kerdyk Real Estate and Gentlemen’s Journal Coral Gables’ “Brother Of The Year” fondly recalls the group’s impact during last year’s devastating hurricane season. “After Irma, we felt residents of The Keys needed some hands-on assistance so we gathered about 20 of our brothers, bought supplies, chainsaws, cooked food and went down to the hardest-hit areas and helped with cleanup efforts,” he says. “Some of the locals hadn’t had a homecooked meal in weeks! We were able to provide that for them and it felt great!” Not only limited to immediate disaster awareness, the group (either together or as individuals) have been personally and professionally involved in a number of charitable efforts including St. Jude, Apex Youth Services, Miami Wind Symphony, Be A Santa To A Senior, Coral Gables Museum and We Love 305, among many others.
Although business is not the primary focus of the group, it’s natural that bringing two dozen successful and independent business professionals together under one roof for a few hours once a month wouldn’t create some fascinating new opportunities. Just from that side alone, Ramon “Moncy” Blanco Herrera of Ramon, Rodriguez & Blanco Herrera, LLP has found the Gentlemen’s Journal invaluable. “As a professional, you’re just not going to refer one of your clients, family members, or friends to a person you don’t trust,” he says. “Trust, much like respect, is earned, not given — once you get to really know people, trust and referrals will almost always certainly follow.”
Wary of becoming stagnant, perhaps the most attractive aspect of this revolutionary group is its embracing of diversity in all its forms, in all aspects of life. Stating unequivocally in their charter that “no matter the background, race, creed or color of any person, superiority reins with the wisdom and brotherhood to fellow men,” the only limits to membership seem to be available space in the group, an invitation by a standing member and some matter of autonomy in your professional life. “We’ve got members with multi-million dollar chain businesses and young guys with shoestring startups,” says Trembly. “That kind of elder wisdom and youthful energy melding is really what creates a great dynamic!”