January Man of the Month: Chris

Published on Sunday, January 9, 2011 in ,

Getting Personal with our Man of the Month:
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?Don Cheadle hands down. From playing a controversial, but brilliant radio personality ( Petey Greene in Talk to Me) to a hotel manager in the movie Hotel Rwanda, he always has a deeper purpose for his roles. He also has a great comical side to him which is important because you can’t walk through life without laughter. Off the screen, he is a very involved humanitarian and possesses the perception of himself as a “global citizen.” As time goes on, I can see myself maturing in this way.

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be? 
Life’s Progressions and Lessons. There’s a lesson to be learned in all that you go through.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Determined, spontaneous, and faithful.

If you are given a chance to travel back to the past where would you go and specifically why? 
I would travel back to the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s. African Americans from that era shared a common goal that could be traced back for centuries and centuries- this was a goal of freedom, forward progress and opportunity. There is a disconnection in the past, present, and future of our culture. It’s important for each generation to understand the preceding generation. That experience would give such great insight and refocus our drive and determination in life. 

Looking Towards the Future with our Man of the Month
What dream are you currently pursuing?
I’m pursuing the dream of becoming a certified occupational therapist. I just graduated from Howard University and I’m currently studying for my national boards. I’ve always had a deep-rooted passion for helping others especially the disabled, sickly, and mentally ill population and I feel like this would be the perfect opportunity to realize my dream.

What are the first steps you took to follow your dreams?
First, I researched my field and made a mental checklist of things I needed to do such as taking prerequisites or reading certain books pertaining to the field. Next, I found positive role models who were significant contributors to the community and healthcare. I walked up to people of success and asked QUESTIONS WITHOUT HESITATION. “How did you accrue this wealth?” “Why are you in this field?” “Can you let me volunteer or work for you?” Then, I prayed for my dreams to become reality and went after them with a lot of tenacity and courage.

What are some road blocks that you have come across?
When I was nearing graduation at the Univ of S. Carolina, the department chair told me pretty emphatically that I wasn’t of grad school potential and I should go to an associate’s school. That made me upset, but I transferred that energy into accomplishing my goals. I wish he could see me now. I’ve also met opposition from people who are very close to me. Not necessarily because they didn’t want me to grow, but they realized that you can easily get knocked down in life and it’s easier to stay marginalized. I also experienced a lot of underlying racism and socioeconomic bias while working in South Carolina and Texas. A LOT… especially in a field where I’m a double minority.

Who are some individuals in your field you admire and would like to work with in the future?
These people are not necessarily in my field, but it would be great to work with them in some facet. Ben Carson, MD, the great African American neurosurgeon that performed the Siamese Twins separation. I had the opportunity to work quite intensely with one of his patients during my internship at Johns Hopkins. It would be great to be like a preventive health/rehabilitation consultant for Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN’s chief medical correspondent) As I said earlier, I want to get into humanitarian work so working with John Legend would be an honor. He does a lot of work in helping underserved youth get quality education and he’s very involved in the fight against poverty effort in Africa. Big dreams huh, lol?

Is there anything that you’d like our readers to learn from you?
I want your readers to know that your dreams should be such a large part of your life that there’s absolutely no room for doubt. Dreams can become reality in the blink of an eye. Be courageous. Realize that for you to reach your dreams you may have to stand alone—you and God, but it will be worth it in the end. Just pray and have faith, and God willing it will come to pass.

What are your future career goals and aspirations? How are you progressing towards those goals?
As I said earlier I want to work as an OT working first in the US then eventually spreading my efforts overseas. Become a humanitarian and author of memoirs and poetry somewhere along the road… go back to school for a Doctorate or Ph.D and teach at a university. I’m progressing towards these goals with an abundance of faith, studying, reading, and learning. 

What motto do you live by? 
If I had to pick a motto that I lived by, it would be “Have courage and faith,” but honestly, one word could sum up my life, and that is Passion. I want to be remembered as a man that was passionate about everything he committed to whether it’s my career, family, future wife, or any other part of my life. This word is a part of a tattoo I have on my arm as a constant reminder of this commitment.

How do you stay motivated to accomplish your goals?
The possibility or better, yet, the certainty of “making it” will always motivate me. It’s all I think about whether I find myself drifting into a daydream while listening to music or while I’m helping my patients and perfecting my craft. I always keep my parents and my church family in the back of mind because it reminds where I came from and that I truly share my dreams with my ancestors and the “village” that raised me. I find myself looking at the past for support and substance while at the same time I’m facing the future head on and getting excited about all the good things coming my way.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Really positive and big things... don’t sleep on your boy!!!!

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