Special thanks to Geraldine Darko, Good Ground Literary Services, our sponsors Google for non profit organizations, Walton Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, HaitiLeve ‘s Board Members along with our Executive Leadership team, my wife Natacha Etienne Jeannot, and Jérémy Chane-Tu.
Dr Michel Jeannot is the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Co-founder of HaitiLeve which is anon-profit organization promoting effective leadership for a sustainable change. He is the President of Walton Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Staff Pulmonary and Critical Care at Piedmont Walton and Assistant Professor of Medicine at UA/UGA medical partnership.
A Look back At My journey
ACHIEVING PERSONAL SUCCESS.
Born and raised in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, the odds of becoming a physician and establishing a private medical practice in the United States seemed far-fetched. The obstacles seemed insurmountable. I faced a language barrier, financial limitations, and self-doubt. Despite my obstacles, I pushed myself to succeed. My motivation was clear. At a very early age, my family struggles and challenges to obtaining quality health care in Haiti had a lasting impact on me and sparked my desire to become a physician. I knew I was destined to become a doctor, but I was not fully aware of the arduousness of this path.
The journey started in medical school in a foreign country. I endured many long, lonely nights studying my medical textbooks, but the hard work paid off. I graduated one year in advance. That victory gave me the self-confidence to achieve all of my desires.
At that point, I knew I had a very bright future in Mexico. But, I was not ready to rest on my laurels. My heart burned with the desire to be among the best physicians in the world. Achieving that goal meant pursuing a career as a physician in the United States. I knew I had to face many layers of incredible challenges fraught with sleepless nights. I had to ace the USMLE (the United States Medical Licensing Examination) which was a tedious process. And I was accepted into a United States residency training program in 2004 in Brooklyn, NY. Shortly after, I received a Fellowship Program offer (which is a sub-specialty) at the same hospital where I graduated with honors in 2009. Looking back, I realize what an incredible feat I had accomplished.
Today I am Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, and Sleep Medicine and happily married to Natacha, a fantastic woman who helped me to achieve the unimaginable. We have two beautiful children, Nyla and Eden. In 2011, we launched a private medical practice, during the economic recession, with no prior experience in private medicine. We were driven by the desire to innovate and open a compassionate, state-of-the-art, patient-centered healthcare practice. We started with just four employees in Monroe, a small town in Georgia. Today we have expanded our practice to two different locations with 18 full-time staff members.
In the past, when I took stock of my life, I was sure that I had conquered the keys to effective leadership and personal success.
Armed with adaptability, patience, determination, and focus, I was able to overcome any number of challenges and obstacles in my path. Standing beside me through all of the hardships was my wife who I hold as my life partner, cheerleader, coach, and friend. My wife was my strength.
My wife did not enter my life as a novice. Her background is in business administration and accounting. She came to me like a coach since I was just a physician with absolutely no business acumen. We used each other’s strengths to set up best business practices with a patient-centered care approach. From the onset, we were focused on delivering positive results for our patients. This single-minded focus is how we built our brand and gained our patients’ loyalty. At the same time, with a combination of leadership and management, we were able to have the staff buy into our vision. Our vision was obvious. We wanted to build an inviting, stimulating, and family-oriented work environment. Through our concerted and combined efforts, we accomplished our dreams.
My Heart’s Desire
FINDING MY INNER SELF.
Despite my success narrative, Instead of a happy ending filled with blissful peace, my soul is not at rest. I feel that there is a piece missing in my puzzle. My Haitian roots can not let me rest. More than 60% of the population in my birthplace is living below the poverty line. More than 200,000 children are struggling to go to school and obtain an education. There is an exodus of the youth to countries like the Dominican Republic, Chile, and Brazil. On a daily basis, these children risk their lives for a better future. The reality is that the government is unable to provide the most basic safety provisions for the people. The country is without shelters for thousands of homeless people. Very few people have primary health insurance. This account is just a glimpse into the problems that Haitians face.
HaitiLeve is trying to develop leaders who will understand that every person embodies both sides in their spirit. We strive to help each leader transcend his egocentric self and emerge as a selfless being.
David’s book helped me to realize that, for most of my life, I was seeking simple personal success. What my soul wanted, however, was to build my character, find my inner soul, and open my eyes to the world. My inner soul was aching to understand a spiritual concept: We are all together sharing this human experience. I celebrate David Brooks’s work that eloquently describes two competing aspirations within every human being; the career-oriented and ambitious side of our nature and the inner character that holds our core values. Our inner core willing to do and be good, and willing to prioritize serving others over pursuing our personal goals.
The Birth of A Movement
HAITILEVE: LEADERSHIP FOR A SUSTAINABLE CHANGE.
After the earthquake in 2010 that devastated its land, and displaced 1.5 million people, my heart broke with the urge to help. I was intrigued by legacy of change that many leaders achieved. Those leaders were very influential. They peaked my curiosity as I started my quest for answers to how I could offer my country more of me. As I learned about these amazing leaders, a series of questions flooded my mind. How did they achieve their successes? What traits do they possess that can be applied to others in similar circumstances? From where do they draw their strength and wisdom? Can we extract from their experiences and inject their lessons into our future? Today I am convinced that effective leadership can be learned and passed on to the next generation.
Before embarking on philanthropy, I studied the life story of many great leaders who succeeded throughout history such as Lee Kuan Yew, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Neslon Mandela, Enrique Penalosa, Paul Kagame, Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ, just to name a few. Those leaders have changed their communities, their countries and left a better world behind. All great and Influential leaders that I know were focused and passionate about positive change. A vision of a better future inspired them and driven with a heart of service to accomplish it.
Of all the things I imagined myself doing as I got older, philanthropy wasn’t one of them. I knew I wanted to become a physician since I was six years old. I embodied the profession and groomed myself to become a doctor. Over the past ten years, however, philanthropy seemed to grow on me much as a plant grows on a vine. It began with an idea of how can we contribute to achieving a sustainable Haiti in 2010 after the terrible earthquake that claims so many lives in Haiti. We spent many years perfecting this idea. Our path of research and brainstorming led us to understand the critical importance of effective leadership as the leading indicator of success versus failure, poverty versus economic development. Despite the challenges of starting a non-profit organization while working full time as a physician, my wife and I believe that we are bringing an innovative and valuable perspective to philanthropy. Our goal is to build local leaders, working in collaboration with other non-profit organizations for a more significant impact. HaitiLeve is about leaving a legacy of change and prosperity for future generations. We believe this idea was worthy of an attempt, and in 2013, we incorporated HaitiLeve in Atlanta GA.
Call For Action
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.
I would like to invite you to reflect on the following question. What legacy are you leaving behind on this earth?
If you share this vision of a sustainable world and would like to participate in this movement, then join hands with HaitiLeve.
We are focused on finding sustainable solutions to fight extreme poverty. We want to attack the cause and not the symptoms of the problems we are trying to solve. We believe in diversity of perspectives and true collaboration.
Everyone is welcome to walk this journey with us. If you already have an organization and are looking for a partnership and collaboration to achieve a more significant impact, or looking to expand your programs to Haiti, we welcome you with open hands. If you are looking to donate to an organization focused on sustainability, education, leadership, innovation, empowering local leaders and if you are looking for an organization where your ideas can become a reality, then HaitiLeve is the right organization for you. If you are interested in researching leadership, if you are a writer, or if you have expertise in marketing, fundraising, grant writing, communications, photography, videography, contact us today. Whether you are an intern or a seasoned professional working full time or part-time, HaitiLeve will find rewarding work for you to do. We are looking forward to hearing from you and collaborating with you because together we can make it happen.