INDIANAPOLIS – Laila Ali is a world-class athlete, fitness and wellness expert, TV host, cooking enthusiast, founder of the Laila Ali Lifestyle Brand, and mother of two. The daughter of the late global icon and humanitarian Muhammad Ali, Laila was the keynote speaker at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo. Laila sat down with us for a few minutes to dish on her passion for nutrition, career success and service to others.
Q. What does it mean to speak at the National FFA Convention & Expo knowing your father has spoken here before?
A. “It is special. I meet so many people all over the world who say I had the opportunity to meet your dad. My father loved kids, so I’m not surprised he came here to speak to FFA.”
Q. You are a passionate health advocate. Why is good nutrition and fitness important to share with youth?
A. “As a professional boxer, I started learning about food and its connection to my performance. When I had children, I started doing more research…and focused on eating whole foods. I really want kids to start young recognizing where their food comes from. It doesn’t come from a box or wrapper. I love that FFA is bringing the focus back to agriculture, the importance of growing good quality food for our country to sustain itself.”
Q. What is something you do daily that has made a positive difference toward your success and well-being?
A. “Meditating…where you sit down, quiet yourself and come out of your body and thought process to really connect with spirit and intuition. Sometimes there are decisions I have to make and I can’t just ask someone else for the answer. I have to find the answer within me.
Q. How do you overcome a setback?
A. “There’s always challenges in life. I always expect something to be challenging. The key to life is figuring out how to get around challenges. The difference in a champion (and someone who’s not) is they don’t give up; they don’t get mentally defeated.”
Q. What advice would you give to FFA members to achieve their goals?
A. “I’m someone who’s a hard worker. I try to do the best in everything I do. I never want to stop learning. I always think, what can I do better? Always look to improve yourself and never get an ego.”
Q. How can today’s youth be a force for change in today’s society?
A. “I learned from father very young about giving back to others. What’s the point of being successful, famous or having money if you’re not going to use it to do good or uplift others? When I think of my dad, I think of a generous person who’s always trying to help others. No matter what you do in life, have a purpose. Think about others and how what you’re doing is going to impact the world.”
Lauren Schwab is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She works full time on her family’s pig farm as the farrowing house manager. She is a freelance writer and blogger at farmgirlwithcurls.com.