TRANSCRIPT OF SPEECH BY DR. ALANA ROACH
Introduction by Chairperson:
We move onto one of the big parts of our programme where we would introduce our feature speaker and I would just like to read an introduction of this well poised young woman. Her name is Alana Roach and Dr Alana Roach received her PhD in genetics and human genetics from Howard University in Washington DC, where she spent over 10 years working directly with and in the community to develop and implement health promotion and disease prevention activities.
Her earliest experiences began in 2001 as a community outreach liaison, where she provided testing and psyco-social support to individuals diagnosed with sickle cell disease and rape. She has also served the community as an informal health educator and assisted in the development of two (2) non-profit organisations is Washington DC. Not a stranger to clinical settings, Dr Roach has worked alongside professionals at the Howard University Cancer Center and Sickle Cell Disease Association for greater Washington DC. She has over 10 years of research experience and has several prestigious awards from institutions like American Institute of Biological Sciences, Howard University, NASA and the University Space Research Association and the American Society of Gravitational and Space Biology.
Prior to her return to Trinidad and Tobago, she was appointed programme director at the National Human and Genome Center (NHGC) at Howard University in Washington DC, and held a faculty position in both the College of Medicine and Department of Genetics and Human Genetics in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Howard University.
In 2010, when her own parents were diagnosed with diabetes and high cholesterol, she returned home for three (3) months to assist with their care. She was struck by the high rate of chronic lifestyle diseases in adults and even more disturbed by the high numbers of obese children, she decided to relocate to Trinidad and Tobago permanently and devote her time to reducing the burdens of diseases present in our country. It was based on this premise, that she opened Studio W in 2011, a boutique fitness facility and wellness centre that promotes a holistic approach to improving health and well-being based on the axiom that women are ably best to health in Trinbognian families. Studios W has become one-stop shop for fitness, diet advice, yoga and spa services. Additionally, Studio W works with clients and their physicians to help patients to lose weight, improve their fertility and adopt healthier lifestyle habits to manage high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and other chronic conditions.
In 2014, she joined the Public and Primary Care Unit in the Faculty of Medicine Services at UWI, where she remains committed to incorporating the knowledge gained from genetics and genomics research to develop tools and strategies geared towards improving community health and promoting wellness. One of her sayings is ‘I believe that the knowledge gained through the conduct and translation of genomic and research will enlighten minds and empower people.’ She needs no further introduction, this is by far one of the best biographies I have ever read, and so let me welcome Dr Alana Roach to take the platform. Please put your hands together and welcome Dr Roach.
Speech by Dr. Alana Roach
(Thank you, thank you very much) It’s truly and honour to be here this afternoon, so let me observe all protocols and say thank you to Mr. Wayne Roberts, the Chairman of CARIFIN Games and the committee for selecting me to be a speaker this afternoon. I would also like to recognise all the representatives of any financial institutions and sponsor who are here and a very special good afternoon, of course, to our very special guests – who are the awardees of this afternoon. I am looking at all there prizes and I am only seeing a few people, so I know some more awardees as probably missing. Right?
So after such a biography, you are imaging that you are expecting me to talk about health and fitness and staying healthy; but today I am actually going to talk to you about changing your life. How many of you feel stuck? How many of you desire a better life, but for some reason, you just can’t get to that place where you are finding that better life or you are holding onto that better life? How many of you want a better position in your company or more recognition in your company, but for some reason you keep feeling like there are obstacles in your way? How many of you want to lose weight? How many of you want to keep the momentum going from the CARIFIN Games, but you are just not sure how you are going about doing it? How many of you all are truly feel stuck? How many of you are paralyzed by fear when you think about changing your life and trying to get out of this life what you really deserve in this life?
Your MC read my impressive biography, but to me that biography is just words on a paper, it is a piece of who I am. If you know me, people call me by my first name, Alana, and that’s fine because that’s just a piece of who I am. Little known facts that are not in my biography, I got my PhD before I was 30 and I opened my first business before I was 35. Some how people have thought I found some sort of recipe for success – you have a PhD and lecturing in UWI, you must have found some recipe some magic pills some magic checklist, that you are checking off that makes your life so much better, that gets you to a place where you are so much more accomplished than I am.
The truth is, there is no magic checklist. The truth is about change and people say change is difficult, change is hard the more you are trying to change your life and you would be doing that for a long time. You are trying to get from where? You trying to be promote to what? A lot of time, we have been conditioned in our life to believe that change is impossible, that change is difficult. I want you to think of all these people who have told you throughout your life that you couldn’t, that you can’t and that you do not deserve. I want you to think if the story they are telling about their lives is the story you want for your life. Then listen to people like Oprah, Tony Robbins, listen to local persons like the owners’ of B’s Ice Cream or Closet Red and they tell a different story. They say change is not hard and change happens in a moment. We call that moment, your BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT, but you all know that breakthrough moment; that’s the moment when you know something happened – you heard a speech, you heard somebody talk and you felt energized. You felt like you could take on the world, you could change things, you could change your life and you could. So you started to jump start, you started to kick start your life, but before you got things rolling, something happens and so you go back and all those old sayings repeat themselves – ‘boy, change is really hard. This life is really difficult. I can’t do this!’ The brainwashing starts again, but there is nothing wrong with you, that is actually very normal.
(I have a song I asked them to line up the chorus for you all to hear, but we would play it at the end.) That is normal, when you feel that you are in a moment of a breakthrough in your life, what you have to do is what you need to get you from that breakthrough to the point of success. How do you do that? Most times, what happens to people is that the moment of change fizzles. Do you know why that moment of change fizzles? Because most times you do not have a strategy that comes from the change that strategy, that would help you keep that momentum that you got in the breakthrough moment. We do not have enough time this afternoon for me to give you a whole strategy because let me tell you, it’s moving from that moment of change to the moment of where you feel like you attain success. Let me put my disclaimer out there, I don’t think I have reached that pinnacle of success as yet in my life. There is much more for me to attain. But to move from where you didn’t have to where you have; from where you are now, to where you really want to be – there are three (3) things I think are very important: you have to align your thoughts, your actions and your crew with what you want to do, with that change you want to see, with that change you want to accomplish.
Many people, some of you even, maybe the gentlemen but I am looking and not seeing to many beer bellies. I know you all have some of those friends, they have little beer bellies or a little gut and they want to change and lose the belly, but every Friday evening, they are by Brooklyn Bar drinking beers with their friends because that’s their crew – that’s their riding partners. Ladies, some of you in here may want to have happy healthy relationships and you want something different from your life, you want to find that true partner but when you look around your circle, everybody has a broken marriage or they not married or they have no man. Am I speaking the truth? How are you going to accomplish and sustain change in your life if you are not aligning yourself with people who will facilitate your change? Somebody is going to call you and say Alana, you got up this morning, I don’t have time – you heard my life, I don’t have time even though I own a gym, I don’t have time for an entire hour or two hours of exercise every day. So I need to get in half an hour every morning. And let me tell you, in my circle I have people is going to call me at six o’clock in the morning ‘Alana you got up?’ if my phone rings, it’s going to keep ringing or they are going to ring my significant other’s phone till I get up, because they are there to help me sustain change I want in my life.
The other thing is your actions – let’s go back to this losing weight story, because I’m many of you, if you are not on that journey, you know someone who is so it’s something that resonates with us. You want to lose weight, I will start the gym next month when I get paid or you start the gym and you say ‘well I will change my diet next week or two (2) weeks from now when I eat out everything I have in my pantry. Let me get rid of this food first, I don’t want to waste it,’ donate it. Because that action is contradictory to the change you want to see in your life. The things about success, the thing about achieving success when you have decided, when you have reached that moment of change in your life is that you have to understand success requires gradual steps. I am not going to wake up one morning and see success knocking on my door and step over and yes I am successful. That is not how it happens. Everything you have seen or heard in my biography I thought about it before I achieved it and every action that I took in my life, every person I hung around, every thought I had in my mind was geared towards achieving everything that you see written in my biography.
You cannot have contradictory actions, you cannot have misaligned friends when you are trying to achieve your goals. This is your story, how are you going to write your story? What do you think about your story? Now that is the key and I left it for last because if you do not believe that you can achieve this change in your life, that you can sustain this change you want in your life, if you do not believe it then it is not going to happen. That is where it all starts, if you are not thinking about that change you can’t walk that change, your actions will never reflect the change you want to see in your life. You have to think about it and when you think about it and you say it like a mantra, you let yourself believe that you can. Believing that you can change and believing that change is easy – that is when the change really happens, that is when you are on that road to success.
I was having a discussion with a friend of mine this afternoon and he asked me ‘what are you going to talk about?’ and I said, I’m going to talk about change and changing your life. ‘Why do you want to talk about that?’ I said you know how much people think change is hard and I don’t subscribe to that notion that change is hard. Change sparks that moment, when you decide that this life that you are living is not the life that you want to live, that you deserve more, that you are worth more and that you can achieve more. So I urge you and I know CARIFIN Games is a good start, I urge you to maintain that momentum by aligning your thoughts, your actions and also important, your crew, your friends, the people you hang around with that change that you really want to see in your life. Not everybody who is with you today, will make it to that point with you, you can’t carry everybody on your journey, you have to understand that and let go of some people, you have to let go of some thoughts, but you can do it. If I can do it, you can surely do it. Thank you.