Pharmacy U

Pharmacy Leader of the week: Connie Beck – “I have always strived to improve the status quo.”

Connie Beck_Pharmacy Tech


-Education:  Registered Pharmacy Technician, Bachelor of Science, Master in Educational Leadership

-Current role:  Coordinator and Professor of the Pharmacy Technician Program at Lambton College


How would you describe a great day at work? 

For me, a great day at work means that I have made an impact on another person in our profession or on the profession itself.  Sometimes the impact is on students I am teaching and sometimes it through interactions with other pharmacy professionals. I think that even though we have seen an expansion of the scope of practice that there is so much more that both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are capable of in the healthcare landscape. During this year, we have seen so much growth in the responsibilities for pharmacists and I look forward to the new challenges ahead of us.


When you graduated, what did you envision for your future?

When I graduated, I was working in a community pharmacy.  I was passionate about the opportunities that we were starting to have in the profession. I recall when MedsChecks were first introduced in Ontario and how the pharmacists that I worked with were hesitant to start the new program. I worked with them to help implement new processes and procedures to support the program. Our patients benefited greatly and we saw how pharmacists were able to make a difference in their patients’ lives far beyond what they had been doing previously. It was then that I knew that I wanted to do more in the field and that I too could make an impact. This started me on a path to completing a Bachelor’s, then a Master’s Degree, and a career in the field of education.


How important was mentoring in your career? 

Mentoring has been so important to me during my career. I was provided the opportunity to serve on both pharmacy advocacy and pharmacy regulatory boards and committees representing our profession. The mentoring I have received from other women in leadership positions provided support and inspiration; they answered my questions and at the same time pushed me out of my comfort zone, which accelerated my growth and skills. I am truly thankful for their mentorship and hope to be able to provide the same support to others.


As a leader in pharmacy, what continues to drive you? 

The possibility of change and the challenges I see in the future (continue to drive me). Pharmacy is the cornerstone of healthcare and the professionals within it have vast capabilities that are not yet being utilized.  This vision of what could be is what drives my passion for the profession.  As pharmacy professionals, both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, have the power to shape the future, and collaboration between all of us is essential.


Do you feel there is a glass ceiling for women in the pharmacy? 

Yes, unfortunately I believe that we continue to have a glass ceiling when we consider executive leadership positions. While we do see women break through the boundaries of the glass ceiling there are still many barriers that exist. As a woman and pharmacy technician, I understand the invisible boundaries that are present. With every woman who is able to break the boundaries, we are making progress and helping more women and organizations to reach their full potential.


What is (or has been) your greatest challenge as a leader in pharmacy? 

There are many challenges but within them, all of them, lies opportunity. Within the profession, I have always strived to improve the status quo. Nothing expresses this more than the relationship between the pharmacist and the pharmacy technician.  My focus has been on increasing awareness of the abilities of pharmacy technicians and the skills that they can bring as regulated healthcare professionals.  In order to this, we have to overcome decades of bias and habit.


What do you think needs to happen to have more women in executive roles across various sectors in the profession?

Organizations, associations, and regulatory boards need to put policies and processes in place to promote equality.  Women who are part of these groups and interested in leadership should be encouraged to pursue executive roles.