Pharmacy U

Sherry Peister boosts good governance and leadership


“My advice to every new graduate is to not let the ‘old-school’ pharmacists squash what you want to do.  We NEED and WANT you to drive the profession forward.”



  • University of Toronto – Pharmacy
  • Rotman School of Management – Institute of Corporate Governance Certification

Current Role

  • Chair, Green Shield Canada

Throughout her career, Sherry Peister has identified a need for, and demonstrated how, pharmacy could benefit from a strong foundation of governance. She started her career in community pharmacy practice, but quickly realized that she had a passion for governance and leadership. Her work in pharmacy organizations and the payer industry has the potential to change completely the way the profession advocates and increases pharmacy’s influence with payers and all levels of governments.

What was it like when you started your career?

I started my career as a pharmacist for Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM) and eventually became an associate. It was a great place to work, where we could be highly innovative and had the flexibility to do things at the store level. For example, there was no emphasis on patient education and we could see room for improvement. We developed and started distributing patient counselling information pamphlets before pharmacy management systems were capable of generating them. This was the start of encouraging our clients to be more involved and educated about their healthcare.

Why did you leave?

Over time, the corporate environment changed and it became more difficult to be creative and innovative. When I could no longer drive the business to where I wanted it to be, I knew that it was time for me to seek other opportunities.

What did you do after you left?

During a summer of career reflection, I finally decided to focus on consulting. I can remember wondering if I was qualified to be a consultant. My friends, colleagues and family reminded me that in the previous 10 years, I had been involved in voluntary consulting on a number of different projects. This encouragement gave me the confidence I needed to take my career in a new direction.

When did you join the Green Shield board?

Because of my recognized leadership in pharmacy, I was invited to interview for the position of pharmacy director on the Green Shield Canada board. I felt that I could make a difference to the organization, so I agreed to join the board in 1997. Through the encouragement of different influential board members I allowed my name to stand, was interviewed and then elected as chair of the board in 2010. It has been a great experience to be exposed to an environment where I can continually learn from excellent colleagues.

What has been your role at CPhA?

I am currently the president of CPhA. I am working with the staff and new CEO to change the structure and direction of our national organization. Now more than ever, national decisions made by governments are impacting the pharmacy profession. Therefore, pharmacists in every province will benefit from the strong national leadership CPhA can provide. By having a single united voice, we can influence the national healthcare agenda, share information, improve communication and support the role of pharmacists in the healthcare system.

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by GenMed, a division of Pfizer