A Conversation with Roger Lallemand Jr. MD on Business, the Medical Field, and How He Is Positively Impacting the Lives of Others

Roger Lallemand Jr. MD is a highly skilled physician and dedicated business professional. Having achieved success in a wide range of sectors, he considers himself a lifelong learner and is always searching for new and exciting opportunities.

Dr. Lallemand graduated with a BA in Biology from Harvard and received his MD from Duke University. During his undergrad, he worked at the lab of Nobel Laureate, Walter Gilbert, for DNA Sequencing.  Under the supervision of Dr. Pamela Yelick, he advanced the study of Zebrafish by analyzing a unique genetic presence.

Despite his passion for the medical and scientific field, he decided to pursue other professional opportunities. He attended Columbia Business school where he studied corporate finance, administration, and management. While there, he took the opportunity to intern in venture capital and health care related private equity. Over the next decade, Dr. Lallemand went on to establish a network of physician practices involving primary and specialized care. Most recently he has spent the last nine years in Southern Haiti and where he has helped to establish farms and distribution centers to boost the local economy.

Dr. Lallemand obtained his certification as a Certified Crop Advisor in Plant Biotechnology and Precision Agronomy from The American Society of Agronomy. As an innovative business professional, he has devised dozens of profitable business ventures and has helped organizations expand and optimize organizational performance.

1. What is your current role at your organization?

As CEO, I have a network of speculators in Haiti that go into areas where the local farmers are planting crops. Everywhere from L’Atibonit, Cayes, to Port au Prince, we buy crops from farmers and resell them in our distribution network at the best price to purchase so we can sell at a profit. Using our data, I’m also able to review how we’re doing in terms of spoilage and I assess if the teams are moving well enough to get the product out the door quickly. I make these decisions based on financial and inventory reports that I get every day. And, of course, I track the maintenance of our equipment and guide in the management of the 75 people I employ within our distribution network in Haiti.

2. What was the inspiration for beginning this business?

With the sale of my medical practices, I had made connections with a Dr. Compas, who invited me to go to Haiti with him.  Through my medical practice in Asbury Park, I had exposure and came to love treating patients from the Haitian community. Through our interactions, I became familiar with the culture and the language. In Haiti through Dr. Compas, I had made the acquaintance with the man that would become the next president in Haiti along with cabinet members of the former president.  In these meetings, I learned that though Haiti has an abundant amount of fertile land and a large labor force, the country still imported 60-80% of its fruits and vegetables. I also learned that the country ranks 77 out of 79 for food security within the world hunger index. Because most of the country’s food products were being imported, this resulted in a lack of jobs within the country as the Agriculture sector was recognized as the industry which could provide the most employment especially in the rural sections of Haiti. The man that would become president, was also a successful banana farmer. Through his numbers and projections, I realized that agriculture could indeed be profitable and sustainable. But more importantly, could be a major way to provided much needed jobs within the local economy and provide organic, and great tasting crops to the United States as well as the local Haitian markets.

3. What defines your way of doing business?

I’m an individual that relies heavily on data. I love to collect and analyze it in order to make the best possible decisions. I’m not the kind of person that relies on subjective data, because once I have the numbers, I can convince the stakeholders, shareholders, and managers where the company needs to go. At the same time, I maintain an open mind and the flexibility to learn how to get my goals understanding that processes are always evolving. My strengths are my empathy and my ability to analyze and communicate in a clear and effective way so that we all stay on board, while striving for the goals we all want to achieve.

4. What are the keys to being productive that you can share?

Establishing benchmarks to gauge progress, and staying focused so as not to get derailed by extraneous problems. You should be aware that in life and business there’s going to be ups and downs, but as long as you keep your goals in sight, you will always be able to find the solutions to any issues as you reach them. When you decide on something, make sure that you believe in it, because once that happens, it’s very hard for anything to derail you.

6. Can you share a long-term goal for your company’s growth?

As a professional, my long-term goal has always been to be a person that makes a positive difference in people’s lives but also to grow a firm that has large scale impact within the communities that it serves.  My angle is to be somebody of value to society professionally and personally. In Haiti, I have employees that were living in mud huts, had limited chances for work, little access to clean water, and maybe go a day or two without food. My having had the opportunity to provide work, food, simple medical care and stability for hundreds of people is God’s work.  When I look back on my life, I need to know that I did my best to be help the man that was not as fortunate in life as I have.

6. How do you measure success?

For me, how I measure success depends on the shared vision established by me and relevant stakeholders and shareholders within our organization.   Off course there is return on investment, achieving and surpassing key performance indicators as well as establishing a culture of integrity, performance, equity, and inclusivity.

Another measure, I think, is being a game changer in terms of incorporating new innovations or processes to make a difference in whatever field I take on. Healthcare, Agribusiness, and so on. Ultimately, though, the biggest gauge of success is the difference I’ve made in peoples’ lives, both within my organization and people affected by me and my organization.

7. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?

As a leader, you’re only as good as the people working with you. For that reason, you have to develop those that are working with you to become leaders. The better they are, the better you become, and the better the organization functions.

Another important lesson, I feel is that you need to be involved in the community within which your firm functions, even on a political level.  This way you can understand the business environment your firm is functioning in but also know the needs of the community in which your firm operates. As a manager and CEO, you have to understand what the layman is going through and not operate within a bubble.

8. What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in a similar field or opportunity?

Find your passion. Don’t decide on a business or career based on what your friends are doing, what seems “chic”, or the” big money thing” to do. Evaluate yourself critically, understand what drives you and what will make you look back on yourself 30 years later and say that you did right by yourself and others on every level. This way, you will be able to get through the rough times and upsets that you’re definitely going to find in your future.

9. What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I enjoy exercising, weightlifting, playing squash, snow skiing, tennis, and scuba diving. I love going to trendy restaurants that have a unique way of preparing and presenting certain foods. I’m also a big fan of opera and jazz. Though, my favorite thing is spending time with my children and family.

10. How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

It can be tough at times, but I realized that if I don’t have that balance, especially with my extracurricular activities, it’s going to make work much more difficult. So, if I’m not successful in both, they both suffer.

11. What’s one piece of advice you have never forgotten?

A laboratory assistant from China named Qi Wing told me once to always see people as my equal, because you can learn something from everyone.