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If You Don’t Have a Mentor, Get One

Bruce E. Scott

Those who know Bruce will attest to the fact that success has not changed him one bit. He is still the same warm, personable, down-to-earth, and humble person he was when he began his career. An accomplished hospital pharmacy director, business leader, and visionary, Bruce exemplifies all the qualities we expect to see in a successful leader. He rose to executive leadership positions in numerous businesses and was one of the youngest pharmacists elected ASHP president.

Looking back on Bruce’s storied career in pharmacy, it is difficult to imagine that anyone would have been qualified to serve as his mentor. Yet despite his stature in the healthcare community and his many impressive achievements, Bruce acknowledges the important role mentors played in providing guidance and support on his path to success. Mentors helped him understand the importance of learning, encouraged him to develop a vision for his career, and helped him set and achieve his goals. And further, his positive influence as a mentor to scores of others will continue to reverberate through the profession for years to come.

Bruce is currently retired, although he serves on the Board of Directors of various companies and organizations. He has served in executive roles at Allina Hospitals and Clinics, and several healthcare businesses. He earned his bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy and a master of science degree in pharmacy administration from the University of Kansas, where he also completed his pharmacy residency.

His advice to young pharmacists on selecting a mentor is clear: Mentors are invaluable as a sounding board, providing an objective point of view and direction in support of your success.

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It Takes a Team to Create Change

Marialice S. Bennett

Marialice ventured into clinical pharmacy at its inception in the 1970s, learning as she went because clinical education and clinical residencies were just beginning. She was indeed a pioneer and risk taker. Her career has focused on instituting new clinical practices and training residents and pharmacy students. She has continued to be innovative in creating, implementing, and conducting Community and Ambulatory Pharmacy Residency programs as well as cofounding, with a physician, an employee interprofessional wellness health clinic (University Health Connection). Marialice is one of only a few women who have served as president of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

She completed her bachelor of science in pharmacy at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. Marialice is currently Professor Emerita, College of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University, and former Director of the Community and Ambulatory Care Residency Program. She continues to collaborate with both ASHP and APhA to advance community-based practice and residencies.

In her letter she states that there were times it was necessary to ask forgiveness rather than permission in creating a new practice and that it would not have happened if we had followed all the politically correct channels.

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Just How Do You Know When to Make a Job Move?

Roberta M. Barber

When you meet Roberta, you will find an energetic dynamo who encountered and solved the challenges of balancing and integrating a successful leadership career with raising two children as a single parent. While there is not just one way to handle these challenges, she describes the trade-offs—which are so important to take into account—including the things to consider when you feel your job is not working out. Roberta identifies what an appropriate job fit really means.

Roberta completed her bachelor of science and doctor of pharmacy degrees at Union University Albany College of Pharmacy and her master’s of public health at Columbia University’s Joseph Mailman School of Public Health. Roberta is currently Assistant Vice President of Pharmacy Services, Virtua Health System in New Jersey.

In her letter she states, your career may take a winding path; taking the risk and finding the courage to move from one job to another will have you experience great joy, satisfaction, and reward in the journey.

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Learning to Ignore the Lies We Tell Ourselves

Jennifer M. Morris

Jennifer’s compelling energy and excitement for life is obvious in her pharmacy career as well as her governance responsibilities as a former member of the City Council in her community, or in her current role as Chairwoman of the Planning & Zoning Commission for the City of Marion, Iowa. She has a desire to continually “make things better” that is inspirational to all around her.

Jennifer received her doctor of pharmacy degree from The University of Iowa, College of Pharmacy and her MBA from The University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business. She is currently Manager of Ambulatory Care and Pharmacy Clinical Operations and Residency Program Director at Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She is actively involved in the pharmacy profession through local and national pharmacy organizations. Jennifer has practiced in community and health-system settings with a primary focus on expanding pharmacy practice and improving the care provided to patients in ambulatory settings. Further, as Residency Pharmacy Director, she enjoys the opportunity to help others become their best version of themselves.

It is in the spirit of helping others that Jennifer shares her experience regarding the negative voices, described by some as imposter syndrome, many of us hear during various moments in our careers. Jennifer shares her advice in turning the negative voices to white noise in her letter “Learning to Ignore the Lies We Tell Ourselves.”

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Lessons Learned from Others’ Experiences Enrich Our Lives

Sharon Murphy Enright

Sharon is an extremely creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial pharmacist. She stretches beyond the bounds of pharmacy and healthcare literature and has always thought deeply about where pharmacy needs to go and how she can assist practitioners. Sharon is great at making and seizing learning opportunities and has developed and conducted two start-up education and training businesses—one of which she sold to a major corporation. She is a master at assisting people in applying business and non-pharmacy literature by developing and conducting educational programs for close to 100,000 pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. As course-master and faculty, Sharon was instrumental in developing, implementing, and conducting the yearlong online ASHP Foundation’s Pharmacy Leadership Academy. She is President of EnvisionChange LLC, consulting to practice organizations and emerging businesses on matters of strategy, opportunity, and transformation, but spends an increasing share of her time with her art: fused glass, watercolor, metalworking, and encaustic and alcohol ink creations.

Sharon completed her bachelor of science in pharmacy degree at the University of Connecticut and a master’s of administration, business, and behavioral sciences degree from George Washington University. She completed a residency at Yale–New Haven Hospital and Medical Center and the ASHP Executive Residency. Her letter indicates that since any knowledge has a very short and increasingly limited lifespan, it is only through continued growth and learning that we can continue to contribute. She ends her letter by saying, love your work but don’t make it your life.

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Cover Letters to a Young Pharmacist

Letters to a Young Pharmacist

Even More Sage Advice on Life & Career

Susan A. Cantrell, Sara J. White, and Bruce E. Scott

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Life Is What Happens While You Are Busy Making Other Plans

Debra S. Devereaux

Deb Devereaux approached her career with a well thought-out plan. She selected pharmacy as her career path because it would allow her the opportunity to build on her keen interest in science and the flexibility to raise a family while also pursuing a career. She spent summers working as an intern in various practice settings to determine which would be the best fit for her interests and methodically chose to pursue a business degree to help achieve her goals. Despite the meticulous planning, she readily admits that some other factors converged to influence her career path: personal relationships, her pharmacy colleagues and mentors, and serendipity. In the world of pharmacy, Deb’s career has turned out to be somewhat unusual. Leveraging the skills she developed in hospital pharmacy management and through her MBA training, she has become one of the nation’s experts on pharmacy reimbursement issues and the Medicare Part D benefit.

Deb is currently Principal and Chief Clinical Officer at the Rebellis Group. She received her bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree in business administration from Regis University. She has been a board-certified ambulatory care pharmacist.

Deb’s advice to young pharmacists is: approach life with a plan and a strong dose of open-mindedness and flexibility, seek out mentors, and help and support others.

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Living with Imposter Syndrome and Knowing That You Belong in the Room

Donald F. Gale

Don spent his career striving to not only make himself the best leader he could be, but to make all those around him the best that they could be. He is a leader that considers mentoring and developing others a personal responsibility. He also places a high value on building and sustaining relationships and developing high performing teams.

Don received his pharmacy degree from Ohio Northern University and has extensive experience in the profession serving in various executive leadership roles. Until recently, Don served as President of ElixirPharmacies, a division of Rite-Aid, serving patients with chronic illnesses through mail and specialty pharmacy services. Previously he served in various leadership roles in the long-term care pharmacy industry.

In his letter, Don addresses the difficult subject of imposter syndrome. He shares his personal journey of understanding thoughts of doubt and arriving at the realization that, yes, he belonged in the room with other very accomplished individuals.

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Love Being Exactly Who You Are

Daniel J. Cobaugh

You will likely leave your first encounter with Dan impressed by the charismatic and sincere person he is. You will find him very engaging and obviously someone who is appropriately confident and comfortable in his own skin. Arriving at his current state of self-confidence and comfort with himself was, however, a long and sometimes challenging journey. In the following letter, Dan explains that his strong belief of being comfortable within your own skin and loving who you are will enhance your enjoyment of life and of your profession, leading you through difficult times.

Dan is vice president of publishing at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the editor in chief of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. Prior to ASHP, Dan had a distinguished practice as Director of the Finger Lakes Regional Poison and Drug Information Center and the Director of Emergency Medicine Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. As Associate Director at the American Association of Poison Control Centers, he implemented the nationwide toll-free number for poison centers. He is also recognized as a Fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, a Diplomat of the American Board of Applied Toxicology, and has served as President of the Association of Poison Control Centers of New York State.

He received his bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh and his doctor of pharmacy degree from Duquesne University. Dan completed a residency at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh and a clinical toxicology fellowship at the Pittsburgh Poison Center/Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Any readers who have wondered about their ability to contribute or their “fit” in the profession will find value in Dan’s message: Love being exactly who you are.

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Making Difficult Career Decisions

Michael D. Sanborn

Mike is the leader that every board of directors wants in a senior executive role in their organization. He is the ultimate professional and a great leader with a tremendous ability to develop and execute a strategic vision. Mike’s successful career is a testament to these abilities. His other admired characteristics include his thoughtful and reflective analysis of difficult situations. Thus, the thoughtful approach to making difficult decisions that he shares in his letter is not a surprise to anyone who knows him.

Mike currently serves as the President and CEO for Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. His previous experience includes direct patient care and administrative and pharmacy leadership positions in large health systems and academic medical centers. He certainly gives back through his involvement in a number of community and professional activities including serving in leadership roles for the Dallas/Fort Worth Hospital Council, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Young Adult Oncology Coalition, and others.

He received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees from the University of Kansas where he also completed his residency training in pharmacy administration. He has enjoyed a very successful career and, of course, has faced several crossroads during his career. From those experiences he offers very thoughtful advice: objectively analyze the situation and distill the decision down to the elements that are most important to you.