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Letters for Your Next Act

Navigating a Purposeful Retirement

Sara J. White, Susan Teil Boyer, and Bruce E. Scott

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Cindi Brennan

Cindi Brennan completed her PharmD degree in 1980 at the University of Southern California and her MHA in 2000 at the University of Washington.

Cindi has a fascinating life story to tell. She devoted her professional career to patient care, pharmacy services, and academic and organizational leadership, then Cindi retired early to sail the world. Cindi’s advice: create a plan to make your dreams come true.

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Agatha Nolen

Agatha Nolen graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy in 1977, received her MS at the University of Oklahoma in 1986, and her PhD in 2011 at Tennessee State University.

During Agatha’s pharmacy career, she has taken advantage of the many opportunities to advance pharmacy practice and pharmacy health-system leadership, and to pay it forward to those she mentored. Agatha considers service to others as the capstone of her career.

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Bill Puckett

Bill Puckett earned his BS in Pharmacy degree in 1968 from The Ohio State University (OSU) and his MS in Hospital/Clinical Pharmacy in 1970 also from OSU. Bill completed his MBA in Healthcare Administration in 1977 from Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.

Bill shares his passion for pharmacy and for trains. Through his journey, he has an interesting life story to tell, including his advice from Disney’s “plussing,” that is, always try to exceed expectations.

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Gregory A. (Gregg) Matsch

Gregg Matsch graduated from Washington State University with his BS Pharmacy in 1981 and earned his PharmD degree from Washington State University in 1998.

Gregg shares his hospital and industry pharmacy career choices and retirement planning as well as his advice to those considering life’s journey. Through your career, do not be afraid to try something new. Put your energy into achieving your goals. Seek out a colleague to become your mentor. Find someone to mentor and find and read a good retirement planning book.

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John E. Clark

John Clark has served others for more than 40 years. He has done so as a clinician, educator, preceptor, mentor, researcher, and leader in pharmacy. His proud African American and working class family heritage continue to fuel his passion as a role model, supporting others as they pursue, achieve, and sustain professional excellence.

John is a 1974 alumnus of Texas Southern University, a 1979 Master of Science graduate in pharmaceutical administration from Wayne State University, and a 1983 graduate, with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, from Florida A&M University.

Dr. Clark shares his journey, thoughts of retirement, and links his legacy to his mother’s refrain: Do something meaningful that matters to others.

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Prati Wojtal

Prati Wojtal spent a career leading ambulatory pharmacy services, improving patient care, and advancing the profession of pharmacy. The thoughtful, planned, and purposeful approach displayed in her career continues in her retirement. She is a past president of the Wisconsin Society of Health System Pharmacists and was a board member for the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin. Prati earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1987 and a Master of Science degree in 1989 from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

Prati’s dedication to supporting and helping others also continues as she shares her reflections and lessons learned, including making time or reflecting on and exploring your sense of purpose.

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Lois Ann Murray

Lois Ann Murray’s pharmacy career was spent in institutional, retail, hospital, home infusion, nuclear, specialty, GPO, and PBM pharmacy services. In retrospect, she describes her career in the same manner that Sheryl Sandberg describes it in her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Careers are not necessarily about climbing a corporate ladder; rather, “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” The diversity of Lois Ann’s roles in clinical services, sales leadership, operations, general management, and contract management led to her final position, in which she focused on business development strategy. Additionally, excellence in patient care delivery was a core, nonnegotiable value. In retirement, she continues to focus her time in diverse areas and still has a passion for delivery of care to others. Lois Ann received her Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1976 from The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy.

Lois shares her thoughtful approach to living a really good retirement. The key is planning and the ability to pivot when life throws a curveball.

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Henri R. Manasse Jr.

Henri Manasse devoted his career to service in academic and professional organization leadership positions. He is now living a retirement of family time, skiing, teaching, and volunteering his talents to his church and community.

Henri graduated from the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy (1968) and pursued a Master of Arts degree in education from Loyola University of Chicago (1972) and then a PhD from the University of Minnesota (1974) in the behavioral sciences applied to pharmacy.

There are purpose and rewards in working, but you should look forward to retirement with challenges and dreams of a new future.

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Patricia (Patti) C. Kienle

When Patti Kienle graduated from pharmacy school, she intended to work in community pharmacy; however, as she was looking for her first pharmacist job, it was clear they didn’t want to hire women. Lucky for us, she found her first job in a hospital where she stayed for 25 years, even as it became a regional health system. However, her system pharmacies then became part of a national pharmacy management company, which opened a corporate Medication Safety Manager position, which enabled her to move into the corporate world where, even though she is beyond her retirement age, she continues to work.

Patti graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now the University of the Sciences) in 1975 and received her MPA from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1983. She completed an Executive Fellowship in Patient Safety from the Medical College of Virginia in 2003.

The keys to being able to ease gracefully into a new position: Groom others for every facet of your responsibilities; delegate what you can; as you are developing skills, accept delegation from others when appropriate; and, be nimble in how you work.

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Jennifer R. Moore

Jennifer Moore enjoyed a more than 30-year career caring for patients through her pharmacy practice and leadership positions. During her career, careful planning and supporting her team were areas in which she excelled. However, her retirement planning started long before her pharmacy career as she realized that a long and enjoyable retirement required financial resources and the ability to identify and pursue her interests beyond her profession. She prepared for a soft landing in retirement and shares her journey.

Jennifer received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of California San Francisco in 1984.

In her letter, Jennifer shares that pre-retirement financial planning is important; and equally important is accepting who you are and discovering your interests and passions.

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Richard Caldwell

Richard Caldwell shares his practical experiences in answering for himself whether he was financially ready to retire, mentally ready to retire, and to leave his job. He admits that there was also a negative mental connotation to retirement, as it somehow meant he was old. It meant that he was going to stop doing what he had been doing for 40-plus years and do what with his time.

Richard received his Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy education at the University of North Carolina (1979). He completed two residences: one (postgraduate year one [PGY1]) in Chicago and one (PGY2 Administration) with his MS at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Making the decision to retire is life changing for both you and your family, but my advice is to set financial goals for retirement, retire for the right reasons, and retire when you are ready to go to your next chapter in life. Rely on your family for advice and support, and expect the unexpected.

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Ulfat Usta Shanouha

Ulfat Usta shares her approach and thinking about her “retirement.” For her, retirement is a crucial transition full of challenges in handling psychological, physiologic, and economic changes. How we respond and manage those challenges determines the quality of the life we have afterward. Ulfat obtained her degree in pharmacy education in 1982 from St. Joseph University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Think of retirement as just the end of one chapter of your career and the start of a late-career transition.

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Christine Berger

The foundation of Christine Berger’s successful career in pharmacy practice and education was always her ability to identify practical solutions to complex problems, a characteristic admired by her colleagues. So, when faced with the complex problem of the first year of retirement being possibly the best year of her life and yet she wanted to return to work, the ability to identify a practical solution was needed when her husband did not share the desire to return to work. Christy graduated from the University of Kansas College of Pharmacy with her Bachelor of Science degree in 1976 and her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 1994.

Christy shares how her first retirement became a sabbatical and reshaped her view of retirement. By rethinking retirement, she discovered a unique approach to work while pursuing travel interests and learning many lessons along the way.

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Bonnie Kirschenbaum

Bonnie Kirschenbaum shares her career and life adventures, which illustrate the “next act” concept with those that were planned and those that were not, tracing her development as she moves along.

Bonnie received her BSc Pharm from the University of Alberta (1971) and completed a residency at Ottawa Civic Hospital (1971-72) (University of Ontario Toronto-affiliated) and her MS and residency at The Ohio State University (1974-76). She received the Latiolais Award in 2015. (The award is presented to a graduate of the hospital-systems pharmacy administration program or an individual involved with the development of these programs who has made significant contributions to institutional pharmacy practice.)

Bonnie firmly believes that it’s so important to find your niche. Hers is the financial side of pharmacy in an institutional healthcare setting and the nuances of reimbursement. She urges you to follow your passion and be happy with what you have chosen to do.

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Tracy Furgiuele

Tracy Furgiuele has displayed an unwavering work ethic throughout a career devoted to serving patients and leading others in the care of patients in multiple practice settings, including the Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) and pharmaceutical industries. Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in the development and successful deployment of clinical strategies that elevated the care of patients. He is a 1982 graduate of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy.

Tracy has always been devoted to the continued development of others and advancement through the sharing of information. Here he offers thoughtful guidance as you consider the important decision of retirement, including remembering why you started to work in the first place and deciding what brings you joy.

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Mick Hunt

Mick Hunt received his BS in Pharmacy from The Ohio State University in 1969, his MS in Clinical Hospital Pharmacy from The Ohio State University in 1971, and his MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School in 1985.

Mick Hunt is retired after a career advancing the practice of pharmacy. His career spanned pharmacy practice, executive leadership in a group purchasing organization, organizational leadership, and academia. On reflection, Mick shares his journey to retirement, his planning, and his lessons learned.

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Michael Mustard

Mike shares his experiences and practical advice with the decision to retire, which isn’t as simple as it sounds. He graduated from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in 1977 acknowledging that retiring someday was the farthest thing from his mind.

Be sure you are not retiring from something, but rather retiring to something, and by age 60 have assessed your current situation.

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Bill Campbell

Bill Campbell graduated from Oregon State University School of Pharmacy with his BS in 1965, MS in 1967 and received his PhD from Purdue University in 1971.

Bill Campbell’s career in pharmacy education and academia and his retirement are described in two acts. Bill’s advice is that there is a robust second act in life, available for the taking; it can be as good as the first act.

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Bruce E. Scott

Bruce discusses considering leadership positions outside hospitals and health systems. He shares that leadership skills are transferable but that there likely will be new skills to learn.

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Katherine (Kat) Miller

Kat believes that the contributions of a team have a greater reach than the contribution of an individual. She shares her thoughts on building and leading successful teams.

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Patrick Fuller

Fight for patient safety, live life on purpose, be kind, ask “how can I help,” appreciate the gift of failure, and say thank you. People will not forget the way you made them feel.

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Andrea Luebchow

Andrea shares how she determined the steps in her career and the path to realizing that it is the “people” part of her work that she values most.

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Jennifer Zvaleny

Jennifer reminds us that even though we will continue to face the uncertainties of tomorrow, engaged teams can rise to any occasion.

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Susan Teil Boyer

Embrace your vulnerability and develop trust with your team and your colleagues by strengthening your listening skills. Learn to delegate and empower your team. Keep your positive attitude to weather the storms.

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Steven B. Cano

Be on the lookout for those frequent “Aha!” moments of intellectual clarity and the less frequent but momentous “Eureka!” opportunities for incredible innovation. Embrace these moments and use them to direct your practice and elevate your leadership effectiveness.

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Virginia (Ginnie) L. Ghafoor

When pharmacists ask me if I found the PLA program to be a worthwhile investment, my response is that participation in the PLA program was the decision I made to accelerate my leadership training. I would highly recommend participation in the PLA and MBA programs to fast-track career advancement.

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Janice Glascock

May you find a path leading you to contribute in a way that returns satisfaction as a protector and advocate for your patients when they need you most. You are a pharmacist, a part of the most trusted profession.

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Lorraine (Lori) Lee

Each day, leaders are confronted with challenges; how you react to these challenges is what matters. Leading means a team is moving along to the same goals and aspirations; it means that we stretch ourselves and we stretch our team players; it means supporting each other personally and professionally.

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John H. Grubbs

To be a successful leader, first determine your path to leadership, pursue formal management training to gain and develop the skills you need, and know and understand yourself.

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Nicole L. Mollenkopf

Realize that effective leaders, especially medication safety leaders, need to have a solid understanding of “how the work gets done” at every level. This is important to build credibility with your team as well as to design effective medication-use process interventions to reduce or eliminate harm from medication errors.

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Richard (Ricky) K. Ogden, Jr.

Define what your leadership values are and strive to live them day in and day out.

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Yanela Lozano

Yanela shares her belief that transformation requires an engaged staff empowered to think outside the box. She also shares her learnings regarding leadership roles in promoting engagement.

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Elisabeth (Liz) M. Simmons

Yes, we can lead when called upon and find fulfillment in opportunities even when we might not think the opportunity is right.

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Brandy S. Snyder

Seize opportunities that are presented to you, both professionally and personally.

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Nicole (Nikki) Wilson

Nikki has devoted her entire pharmacy career to caring for patients with infectious diseases (ID) and managing antimicrobial stewardship programs. She enjoys her clinical practice and advancing the care of patients with ID, and she is committed to the quality education of pharmacy students and residents.Nikki shares her journey as a reluctant leader and how she discovered that taking care of a team can be as rewarding as taking care of patients.

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Letters from Leaders in Pharmacy

Advice from Pharmacy Leadership Academy Graduates, Faculty, and Mentors

Sara J. White, Susan Teil Boyer, and Bruce E. Scott

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Tricia Killingsworth and BS Pharm

To pursue your leadership career, find mentors, be nimble, be in it for your right reasons, understand the importance of culture and organizational design, give back, and find balance.

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Michael F. Powell

Create an environment that focuses on developing people to create a powerful voice for pharmacy. In the end, it really is about the people you surround yourself with.

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Jill Reynoldson

Jill advises us that building a successful team requires patience, thoughtful recruitment, and a purpose to champion.

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Samuel (Sam) Vincent Calabrese

If you want to develop an outstanding team to assist in achieving a vision and reaching goals, you need to understand that it is not about you. Assembling a team that has talents that complement yours and those of each individual member is critical to your success.

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Nicole J. Clark

Take every opportunity you have been given as an opportunity to learn and grow. Be a Rockstar!

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Rita K. Jew

Be an inspired and innovative leader with integrity and compassion. Be on a continuous journey of learning, practicing, experimenting, and reflecting in order to perfect your leadership skills.

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Lindsey B. (Poppe) Amerine

What you become involved with may not end up looking exactly like what you had planned, but being willing to put yourself out there and apply for a position opens the door for endless opportunities.

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Andrew J. Donnelly

To move down your leadership path, take advantage of opportunities, take the lead on projects, learn from the leaders you work for, seek leadership positions in pharmacy organizations, determine your work–life integration, and give back to the profession.

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John A. Armitstead

John is an accomplished healthcare leader with an outstanding list of contributions to advancing patient care and the pharmacy profession. He is also committed to the education, training, and professional development of others. Thus, he has trained more than 200 pharmacy residents and precepted more than 100 PharmD students. Today, continuous learning and education continue to be his passions.John shares his approach to team development through implementation and execution of one’s continuous development plan.

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Jennifer M. Schultz

Successful leadership is all about your people. Invest in learning to successfully manage people, which is the most challenging skill to master, and you will have the most talented professionals wanting to be on your team.

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Ryan Erlewine

The one constant in leadership is you. You must find what is gratifying, what keeps you going day in and day out, and what keeps you leading yourself and others. Ask yourself: What drives me every day? Why do I do this work of leadership? How can I focus on the positives of the work I do?

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Sara J. White

Don’t be afraid to close one door because others will open. Have the courage to walk through some of them.

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Kimberly M. Boler

My greatest takeaway from the PLA is that being an effective leader is not about power or pride but instead about presenting with an attitude to serve others. A key piece of advice that I share with technicians interested in stepping into a lead role is if you are not willing to work on yourself, take a good hard look at whether leadership is the direction for you.