As Loblaws’ senior director of pharmacy operations, Gayle Romanetz provides leadership, direction and decision making in alignment with the organizational, national, and regional pharmacy strategy.
“When you work in operations, you are a jack of all trades,” she says. One important responsibility is the delivery of health programs. “We strive to create an innovative experience for customers while encouraging pharmacists to leverage their full scope of practice,” Gayle notes.
Photo by Brandon Gray
Education: University of Manitoba (Bachelor of Science, Pharmacy)
Current role: Senior Director, Western Canada Pharmacy Operations, Loblaw Companies Limited
What has been a highlight of your career?
There are many, however I am proud of the partnerships that transitioned pharmacy education and awareness surrounding tobacco-reduction off the drawing board and into the community. As a volunteer with regulatory and advocacy groups, I got back far more than I gave and saw firsthand the great things that pharmacists were doing. That continues to energize me.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
I wouldn’t do anything differently, but I would have done some things sooner. Asking patients to pay for services, for example. Why were we so afraid of this? We would have made it easier for those who came after us if we had been bold – and had the foresight – to pave the way. I also would have become a volunteer ealier. My work with Pharmacists Manitoba taught me an important lesson: it’s okay to fail. Having the courage to try is what matters.
What advice would you give new pharmacists to help them in the years ahead?
My daughter wants to be a pharmacist. I tell her, and would offer this advice to anyone: If Plan A doesn’t work, keep on going. The alphabet has many more letters and opportunities will find you. It’s a great time to be a pharmacist and a trailblazer. This profession has been generous to us and when you are able, give something back.
Is enhancing adherence an integral part of the work you do?
Drug regimes can be complex and you see non-compliance every day. We play a key role in helping people in the most fundamental way. It can be as simple as a call to check on how a patient is doing with a new therapy or a refill reminder for someone past due. The key is to be curious and non-judgemental; try to understand why people are non-compliant and develop a care plan. Engage other healthcare providers as needed; it all starts with your desire to improve adherence.
Why is it critical that pharmacists build strong customer loyalty?
Some may assume customer loyalty is linked to a loyalty program. It’s not. As a patient, getting help to manage your health shouldn’t be complicated, yet it can be. At the core, a pharmacist wants to help. When you truly help someone manage their health, you demonstrate your value and that is what builds loyalty. At Loblaw, we have food and much more available in our stores and that convenience and frequent shop is a great way to stay connected beyond the provision of a prescription. Here’s an opportunity to invite that customer to check their blood pressure each week and ask questions related to lifestyle and nutritional needs. Customer loyalty starts when you give people a reason to return.