Pharmacy U

The pharmacy leaders of today, inspiring the leaders of tomorrow


“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” – Vince Lombardi

To read the individual profiles of the Leaders in Pharmacy, click here

By Mike Boivin BSc.Phm.

In every field, there are individuals with vision and drive who help shape the future.

Unlike many professions where leadership is predominantly male, pharmacy has many women leaders in key roles in every area of pharmacy practice. celebrates some of the leaders who are influencing the way 33,000 Canadian pharmacists practise.

“The leaders profiled in this issue – all women – have shaped pharmacy through their strength and conviction,” says Rania Cassar-Awe, Director, Retail Strategy at Pfizer. “They have been a perennial voice in support of the profession. These retail pharmacists have consciously pursued leadership roles that would stretch them professionally and personally. They sought to effect change, to ultimately advance the pharmacy sector and the quality of patient care in Canada.

“We are delighted to launch Leaders in Pharmacy, which will shine a light on these exemplary leaders and help them extend their vision for pharmacy. The initiative includes a one-year commitment these leaders have made to mentor talented pharmacists in their communities. Interaction with established leaders may help the mentees raise their voices at a time when innovation and collaboration in healthcare are mission-critical. In truth, few businesspeople have benefited from formal mentorship programs – it’s an evolving field. We are pleased to mobilize mentorship experts from within Pfizer’s global organization and the broader Canadian business community to build the program.”

Although each pharmacy leader tells a different story, they share many of the traits exhibited by effective leaders in every industry. They are all driven, confident, supportive of their teams, grateful for their careers and humbled by their accomplishments. Through the interviews with each leader, some common themes emerged that may inspire other pharmacists to aspire to new heights:

Settling is not an option

Every leader talked about looking for and creating opportunities and playing an active role in setting the agenda for their career development. Many talked about their decisiveness or how they trusted their gut feeling when presented with a new direction for their career. Although many mentioned that they were unsure at the time if they were able to change, most had no regrets for trying a new career path.

Embrace the challenge

Without question, pharmacy is going through a significant transitional period. Each leader acknowledged the difficulty with profound change, but many looked at this challenge as a way to redefine what pharmacy is and can do for Canadians.

There is no magic formula; hard work=success

Some people feel that those who have risen at the top are just lucky and many leaders have not earned their position. But all of these women rose through networking, hard work and risk taking.

Dedicated to the next generation of leaders

Pharmacy leaders will eagerly discuss the impact that a colleague has made on their careers. These leaders have all said they could not be where they are today without the support of an incredible team.

The pharmacy leaders profiled here are so passionate about helping other pharmacists succeed, they are dedicating their time to mentor future leaders. By sharing their experiences and providing assistance and direction, they are offering the next generation a head-start in becoming the pharmacy leaders of tomorrow.

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