Women in Pharmacy events foster future owners


By 2025, it’s expected that 2-in-3 pharmacists will be women, but that ratio doesn’t carry into the realm of pharmacy ownership. That is why Cardinal Health Women in Pharmacy has taken up the task of turning more female pharmacists into pharmacy owners, and at Cardinal Health RBC 2016, there were various events and educational offerings for attendees to help women through the process of owning a pharmacy.

“Today nearly 60% of pharmacists are women; however, those numbers don't translate into female pharmacy ownership,” program director Eden Sulzer told attendees at the Women in Pharmacy Mix, Mingle and Mocha reception at Cardinal Health RBC 2016. “Cardinal Health is dedicated to inspiring, encouraging and providing resources to female entrepreneurs to turn those statistics around.”

In addition to the networking reception at Cardinal Health RBC 2016, Women in Pharmacy held two continuing education sessions:

  • The first CE was titled “Diverse Market Segments: Tailoring Your Marketing Strategies,” and

  • The second CE was on security and risks in day-to-day pharmacy operations, run by Cardinal Health Global Security Director Hollis Mignogno.

But the main educational event for Women in Pharmacy at Cardinal Health RBC 2016 was the fifth annual Pharmacy Ownership Boot Camp. Over the course of three hours, a group of pharmacy students, pharmacists and new pharmacy owners were given a start-to-finish overview about getting financially prepared to buy, approaching potential sellers, designing and operating a store and growing a store’s profitability through clinical services. Cardinal Health VP of Pharmacy Acquisition Services Dave Ellis told attendees that a big part of running an independent pharmacy is knowing how other owners run their stores.

“It's important to think about planning and understanding the business,” Ellis said. “If you haven't worked in an independent, work in one — maybe work in two or three to make it a journey to see the different styles of pharmacies. Learn from different owners and have mentors.”

The Boot Camp also featured a peer-group panel that included Live Oak Bank’s Mike Bollinger, the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy’s Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Executive Director Bryan Ziegler, pharmacy owners Jenna Gresens and Leslie Davis, and recent pharmacy school graduates Jennifer and Jessica Macklin. The Macklin sisters emphasized networking and focusing on professional development while in pharmacy school to create opportunities later that can pave the way to pharmacy ownership.

“Every time we'd go out of town, we made sure to go to an independent of some sort, whether it was calling someone ahead of time or just walking in. Visiting pharmacies across the country, we’ve seen so many different options and avenues for women in pharmacy,” Jennifer Macklin said. “My biggest advice to students is that while you're in school, it's a great opportunity to look at pharmacies in your area and introduce yourself. We were very shy in high school and undergrad, but one day we realized we can't live our dreams by keeping them to ourselves.”

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