P4s: Takeaways from DC trip
This May, Laura Jane and I were honored to be the first Walker Leadership Scholars to go on a leadership development trip to Washington DC. We were there for three action packed days but quickly learned more about leadership both within and outside of pharmacy than we could have anticipated learning in a year. We started our week at the American Pharmacy Association meeting with President and CEO Tom Menighan. The opportunity to sit down and talk with someone who had made it so far in his career, to learn about mission and vision building, as well as how he has navigated through some tough career decisions was a great way to begin the week. Following this, we sat down with a few members of the APhA staff and had a crash course in everything you need to know to advocate for the profession on Capitol Hill. We learned about the major federal bills that impact pharmacy currently being discussed in Congress as well as how to lobby for the profession with knowledge and confidence. Our morning at APhA was filled with information that we would carry into the second day of our trip in order to effectively navigate Capitol Hill. Even better than that, we both had our interest piqued in a possible association management residency following this end of our P4 year, and opportunity we weren’t even aware of prior to this experience! The entire morning was topped of by an opportunity to eat lunch with the staff at APhA in the Walker-Pulido Board Room (HOW COOL!).
In the afternoon, we ventured to AACP to enjoy the second half of the association management day. We met with Lucinda Maine and her staff and were even able to attend a meeting that afternoon where we watched a board make amendments and go through the approval process for a policy. It was amazing to see such a large organization managed by such a small team and inspiring to see such a strong leader working so hard to make everything run smoothly. Following the meeting, we were fortunate enough to meet with Susan Winckler, who has explored almost every unconventional pharmacy field we could possibly dream about. (Interestingly enough, she had also done a residency in association management!) Our eyes were truly opened to the vast number of possibilities available to us as we complete our Doctorate of Pharmacy degrees. It was an amazing day full of learning and growth, and Laura Jane and I both returned to our hotel that night overwhelmed and excited for the future of our pharmacy careers.
As we began our day on Wednesday (stay tuned for Laura Jane’s section of the blog to hear about our awesome experience on Capitol Hill on Tuesday), Laura Jane and I were both ecstatic to have the opportunity to reconnect with a former Lunch and Learn participant, Mr. Lindsay Cobbs. As a graduate of the University of South Carolina, Mr. Cobbs has invested in the Walker Leadership Scholars program more than once, and we knew he would have a great morning planned for us. He did not disappoint and we spent our morning learning from himself and his colleagues as Johnson and Johnson. We got three unique perspectives on health care that morning, a thorough education about FDA regulation of compounding, and added even more knowledge to our databases about the infinite opportunities for leadership within health care. The week was an amazing learning experience and the perfect way to kick off our fourth year as pharmacy students. We cannot thank Ms. Walker enough for providing the encouragement for us to explore unique and interesting experiences within pharmacy leadership and we look forward to making her proud in whatever field we choose at the end of the year!
After an exhilarating and inspiring day spent with two of our own professional pharmacy organizations, we spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill. We were escorted around the hill by USC federal affairs contact, Steve Beckham, who really was the glue that kept everything together and without him Taylor and I would have been extremely lost! We had the opportunity to personally meet both of our state senators, Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott as well as one of our congressional congressmen, James Clyburn. In addition, Congressman Clyburns office treated us with a personal private tour of the Capitol building, which was an incredible and special experience. We were able to sit down with two of Senator Graham’s staff members and discuss health policy and legislation, which was truly an eye opening conversation. I never fully understood the importance of staff members and quickly learned through my own experience as well as through the advice of others, that if you want to get a message through to your Senator, the best way to do so is to sit down and spend time with the staff members. They do a lot of the behind the scenes work with preparing material for senators to review and such and are the front line. So spend time getting to know your senator’s staff, advocate for your profession and be involved with your local legislative team!
Later that day, we met with Senator Scott’s chief of staff, Jennifer DeCasper and his legislative director for health policy, Claire Brandewie over lunch in the Senators’ Dining room, which was an absolute treat (PS, if you ever get the opportunity to eat in the Senators’ Dining room, get the bean soup – it’s a must!). We had great conversation about both Jennifer and Claire’s personal journey through policy and some of the challenges they encountered along the way. We were also able to discuss a little more with Claire about health policy and the intricacies that comes with that job and how it plays into the political realm. However, one thing that I felt was extremely beneficial for myself was getting the opportunity to inform others about our profession, what its about, how its evolving and where it is headed. It is so very important to have others buy into our realm of pharmacy and support what our mission is to be able to carry the profession forward. It is up to us as students and as professionals to invest ourselves into the weeds oh pharmacy so that we can see the reward that comes from hard work.
After lunch, we spent part of the afternoon with Congressman Clyburn, learning more about his path through policy and his involvement. One very interesting thing that occurred on the day that we were on the hill that I have failed to mention to this point is that President Trump’s 2017 budget was released around lunchtime that made for a perfect day to be in DC to learn about policy. The last stop on our trip through Capitol Hill was at the Office of Management and Budget (again, interesting day to be on the hill) and we met with Joe Grogan who is the Associate Director for Health Policy as well as his deputy, Rob Pyron. Grogan has a very impressive resume as he has worked, as the head of federal affairs for Gilead Sciences, Amgen, was the VP of The Marwood Group as well as the Senior Policy Advisor for the FDA, clearly a remarkable individual for us to spend some time with picking his brain. During our conversation with him, there was one piece of advice that he gave that I really took to heart. He told us “You will only be valuable in policy, if you are an expert in your profession. And if you are not, you are no different than anyone else that is going into policy.” As I have thought this over, the best way to be an expert in our profession is to practice at the top of our license, being involved in professional organizations such as APhA who is challenging legislation and pushing pharmacy forward, and making ourselves valuable to everyone else. We wont just get there by being bystanders and watching things happen. We have to be involved and we have to be experts so that we can educate others.
Taylor and I developed relationships with these individuals that will hopefully carry for years to come. What an incredible opportunity to learn from others, to grow personally and professionally, to see the fire and passion that others have for policy and health care and within that, our beautiful profession of pharmacy. I am truly honored to be a part of such a wonderful program that empowers us and gives us the unique opportunities to grow ourselves professionally and personally.
P3s: Lunch & Learns with President Pastides and Provost Gable
This Spring proved to be an exciting time to be a Walker Scholar. The scholars had the opportunity to sit down with both President Pastides and Provost Gable- all within a week of each other! Anna and I we’re first introduced to both of these leaders in our Introduction to Leadership Studies class. We were enrolled in this class as a part of the program and our professor, Dr. Randazzo, brought both the President and the Provost in as guest speakers. To then have the opportunity to follow up in a Lunch ‘n Learn setting proved to be most valuable to me on a personal level rather than a scholarly level.
President Pastides has managed to balance his personal life with his career and has mastered providing strong leadership while simultaneously connecting and having fun with his students and staff. It was important for me to ask how he maintains his personal life amidst all the chaos. I wanted to know how he handled upsetting people and I found out that when someone asks him to move mountains for them, he often asks that they think about their request and how they will work together. If after some careful thought they decide the President is still the only one able to help them and there is nothing else they can do, he asks that they reach out to him again to continue the conversation. What he finds is that more often than not, further thought brings the person to a new conclusion or a realization that they are asking for too much. While this did not directly apply to me, I thought of this advice a few weeks later when my roommate seemed to get upset with me out of nowhere. I took her criticism seriously and have since thanked her for her observations, but during our conversation I found myself asking her to think about what she wanted me to do about the situation at hand. In reality she was angry at me for things I could not control or change, but in asking her to take a step back we were able to have a better conversation and I was able to deflect some of the hurt I was feeling. I am a people pleaser, and although I know that I can’t please everyone, I find this easier to accept by asking what they are asking for me to do in the future. This tactic helps me look at the situation in a positive and logical way, and helps detach me from the emotional guilt I dwell on when I upset someone.
In speaking with the Provost, I also gained much needed advice about being a woman in leadership. When I first heard the Provost speak in my class, I was expecting someone old and boring simply because I had never heard of a Provost. To my surprise, a fabulous and candid woman sat down at the front of the classroom and I knew I wanted to meet her personally. The Lunch N’ Learn we eventually set up didn’t disappoint. We ended up discussing what it means to maintain a strong family while pursuing leadership roles. I valued the Provost’s emphasis on support and sharing. It helped me realize that rather than separating my career from my family someday, I should focus on looking for ways I can combine them. I like the challenge in this and feel that I have the creativity and drive to make it work. Hearing about the isolation she received at times, from other mother’s in her town who had time to get lunch together, made me aware of what may be down the line. However, hearing it from such a fantastic and strong woman reminded me that some isolation is a small price to pay for the career goals that would otherwise not be accomplished. More than anything, the Provost inspired me to always stay humble and make people comfortable. She disarms people with her honest and genuine personality and I think that relating to people the way she does is one of the most powerful leadership skills a person can have. Both the President and the Provost helped me understand mixing personal life with a career, and I am forever grateful for the time they spent with us.
This past semester, the Walker Scholars had the opportunity to sit down for lunch with USC President Harry Pastides and USC provost Joan Gabel. These two lunch and learns were some of the most unique experiences we had this school year. Usually in our lunch and learns, various faculty and staff from the WLS Committee also attend; for these two lunches, only the P2 and P3 Walker Scholars met with President Pastides and provost Gabel. This smaller group setting enabled each of us to have more one-on-one conversation time with each of them and establish a connection on a more personal level.
Both President Pastides and provost Gabel were extremely down-to-earth, welcoming, and willing to talk to us and give us advice on any subject. We talked a lot about pharmacy, leadership and the steps that each of them took to get to where they are now, and even the NCAA basketball tournament. I was so impressed by how willing they were to share their stories and how interested they were in ours. Their passion for and dedication to each student at the University and their respect and knowledge of the pharmacy program was really inspiring. They are both tremendous leaders and made me even more proud to be a Gamecock! It was truly an honor to have the opportunity to meet with two of the most renowned individuals on campus, and I cannot wait to have other unique experiences this coming school year.
P2s: Introducing 2 new WLS!
Hello everyone! My name is Chuck Hennes and I am a rising P2 from Seneca, South Carolina. I am an energetic person who is very goal oriented. Leadership has always been a big part of my life. I was the captain of my Wrestling Team, New Member Educator for my Under Graduate Fraternity, the Fundraising chair for my Pharmaceutical Fraternity, Vice president of my P1 class, and President of the P2 class. I became very interested in the unique world of pharmacy back when I was in highschool and have wanted to find a way to to make my career in this field. In my upcoming year, through the Walker Leadership Program, I hope to find various opportunities to increase my leadership skills and explore some unique roles in pharmacy that I might not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise. I really enjoy trying to bring out the best in others, which is one major area of focus that I believe the Walker Leadership Program will help me develop in. I am very honored and thankful to everyone that has allowed me to have this amazing opportunity and cannot wait to work with the current Walker Leadership Scholars.
My name is Hanna Murray, and I’m a rising P2 from Alexandria, Virginia. I grew up in a military household, so I’ve had the unique opportunity to live in many different states and to witness firsthand how strong leadership skills can pave the way to a bright and fulfilling future. I think it was my dad’s leadership in the armed forces and my mom’s independence that instilled in me the desire to become the best leader and role model in my career that I possibly can be. This year, my inaugural year in the Walker Leader Scholars Program, I hope to capitalize on the opportunities provided by the program to connect with other leaders in pharmacy, learn more about the varying pathways within the field, and to hone my own leadership skills. Since I’m new to the program I know I have a lot to learn, and I’m excited to see how my personal and professional goals grow and fluctuate as the other Walker scholars and I move throughout the year.