SLIDESHOW: Cardinal Health Final Night
WASHINGTON — Cardinal Health RBC attendees were filing into the main auditorium on the final night, where Cardinal gave away $21,000 to independent pharmacy owners before the main event of the evening.
SLIDESHOW: Cardinal Health event prepares female pharmacists for ownership
WASHINGTON — Cardinal Health on Saturday, July 26 hosted its third annual Women in Pharmacy “Ownership Boot Camp” — a series of networking opportunities and educational seminars to encourage and help facilitate more women becoming pharmacy owners and operators.
At this year’s boot camp, 50 pharmacy students and pharmacists interested in pharmacy ownership gathered for an intense, daylong lesson on what it takes to own and operate a successful community pharmacy – covering topics such as marketing, finance and human resources.
“Our Ownership Boot Camp … basically teaches you a little bit of everything you need to know about becoming a business owner,” said Eden Sulzer, director of the Women in Pharmacy initiative at Cardinal Health, during a “Mix, Mingle and Mocha” networking event Saturday morning. “We’ve really grown exponentially. We now have on Facebook and LinkedIn over 600 men and women who are part of this movement called ‘Women in Pharmacy. Since this time last year, we now have some women who have entered into ownership.”
Also speaking at that event was Joan Kim, owner of Ellicott City Pharmacy. “If your goals and your purpose in life is what drives you, I feel that hurdles in life are [easily overcome],” she said. “It’s been a really happy and challenging 10 years, but I love getting up in the morning and going to work every single day.”
Meeting for the first time on Saturday was a chapter of the Women in Pharmacy program from Oklahoma. “Today we wanted to have the [Oklahoma] women start recognizing faces and putting names to faces,” Becky Gillenwater, director of the new chapter, told DSN. Gillenwater already has secured support from two local universities — Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma University — who will be sending their students to the meeting. “It’s going to be a wonderful support to these pharmacy students going forward.” The chapter plans on meeting quarterly, Gillenwater said.
The students participating in the day were treated to a series of presentations that gave them a better sense of what was involved in owning and operating a pharmacy, as well as some of the Cardinal services they could employ to make their pharmacy a success. The presentations included a lecture on money management and a seminar on how to use data to tease out opportunities in today’s retail pharmacy arena.
The Boot Camp closed with a panel of owner-operators who fielded questions from the students. “You have to have good problem-solving skills,” advised Afua Nutor, who opened Hope Pharmacy earlier this year, speaking to what it takes to be a pharmacy owner-operator. “Also effective communication [is] very important. We have to learn to be good listeners.”
“You have to be a really good motivator,” added Brooke Aldrich, owner of Lawrence Drug & Compounding Lab. “Also just being innovative. I’m sure a lot of you have seen that with RBC — a ton of different ideas that you can put into your business. So try to think outside of the box.”
Today 61% of pharmacy students are women, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Yet only a fraction of the nation’s 23,000 community pharmacies are currently owned by women. That will change dramatically in the next decade as older pharmacists retire and sell their businesses to younger successors, often women, Sulzer noted.
Pharmacy is the second-highest paying career for women — with a median income of $116,670, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Pharmacy Ownership Boot Camp is part of Cardinal Health’s wide-ranging initiative to help women pharmacists seize the opportunity of pharmacy ownership. The effort includes giving more than $4 million in pharmacy school scholarships to students who want to own their own pharmacy someday, as well as providing mentoring, networking, and career and business development strategies to help them succeed.
Earlier this year, Sulzer discussed the opportunity female pharmacists have to assume community pharmacy ownership roles during a panel discussion at the 2014 International Women’s Day Forum, which took place at the United Nations.
Sulzer discussed how female community pharmacists are particularly well-positioned to serve as trusted, convenient, local healthcare resources for fellow women — who make 80% of healthcare purchasing decisions for their families and often serve as caregiver for their children, as well as aging parents.
Economic factors are positioning women pharmacists as a powerful force in the reshaping of how health care is delivered at the community level, Sulzer said. For example, women comprised less than 13% of all pharmacists in 1970 and comprise almost half of all pharmacists today. Additionally, because two-thirds of new pharmacy graduates are women and because most pharmacists nearing retirement are men, the proportion of pharmacists who are women will continue to rise. By 2025, 2-out-of-3 pharmacists are likely to be women, she said.