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5 Roads into LOVING Retail Pharmacy

October 18th, 2016

erin-albert-retail-pharmacy-podcastIn a 180-degree-move, I started a podcast miniseries today on LOVING retail pharmacy as a career.  After just completing a leaving retail series, I wanted to flip to the other side of the coin.

I’ll be putting the podcast episodes here too for my merry pharmacy friends.


Ok, I’m starting to feel a bit…guilty.

In writing an original post, then creating a 5-part mini series about the 5 Roads out of Retail Pharmacy over at Pharmacy Podcast, I’m worried that I may appear to be discounting or even trashing retail pharmacy.

I’m not.  Really!

I learned a LOT of valuable lessons about managing people and caring for patients through my various retail pharmacy practice experiences. I also learned a lot of soft skills through those experiences as well – like patience, fortitude, endurance, creativity and problem-solving – that I never would have learned inside a classroom.

So, I’m going to propose that I do this. I’m going to write 5 Ways to LOVE your Community Practice Pharmacy Career, right here, right now. I’m going to include ideas that I employed during my retail pharmacy times that helped increase my personal job satisfaction, or actions that others have employed, and hopefully it will in turn help you, if you’re in pharmacy, healthcare, or maybe even any profession.


5 Roads Into Loving your Retail Pharmacy Career:

1. Own it – why not own your own store? It’s becoming a reality for many pharmacists these days. Shout out to one of the wholesalers in particular who helps pharmacy owners take their businesses and their professions to the next level. Many pharmacists long to be their own bosses. In fact, back in the day, EVERY pharmacist was a business owner, because there were no pharmacy chains. So, if you’re going to be in it to win it, why not own it? I’ve never owned a pharmacy, but I acted like an owner when I was the pharmacist in charge of my first pharmacy – so “ownership” doesn’t need to be literal–it can be a mindset here too!

2. Get out of the fishbowl – Just like Hazel Walker described this week on the Pharmacy Podcast, you need to build a network inside the profession of pharmacy and OUTSIDE. That INCLUDES networking in your local community, with the patients you serve. My first couple of pharmacy experiences had me surrounded by glass around the pharmacy – so we used to joke that sometimes, we needed to “get out of the fishbowl.” Examples of this: could you get out into the community and discover nursing homes that need adherence packaging for their patients that you could help with? Is there an acute facility in a rural setting that could use your pharmacy’s help? Do you have a hospice program in your community you could partner with? If you’re the new kid on the block, why not get out and say hi to the doctors in your local community? Get out of the fishbowl and investigate!

3. Niche it – I have a friend in retail (large chain) who created a really interesting niche for herself in community practice pharmacy, which led her to meeting the US Surgeon General! There are pharmacies (yes, even in chains) that specialize different areas of pharmacy practice. So, even if you work in a huge chain, ask yourself the following: what are my passions within this profession? Also, ask your CUSTOMERS what their needs are as well. Do you have an older population, a younger/new family population, or something else? Find and fill their needs, and in doing so, you may just have created yourself an amazing career corner in practice! Even better – once you become the “go to” guy or gal, can you help train others about it in your company? Who does compounding in your neck of the woods? If everyone is a hot potato with it, why not own it and run with it? What about wellness? What about preventative care?

4. Step up – Volunteer. Do extra work. Show upper management that you want to train/teach/beta test/write/speak/ manage/help/recruit others and grow within your company or chain. Be the liaison between your pharmacy school alma mater and your chain. Take students on rotation and precept. The more you do and do well, the more you’ll get noticed, which is critical if you want to move up in the company you’re working within.

5. Play nice with others – This is a combo of all the 4 previous steps, but ask yourself how you and your pharmacy business can play nicely with others. Is there a visiting nurse service you could partner with in the community? Is there a way you could organize a community task force for disaster relief if, God forbid, something happens to your community? What about a tox away day? Can you set up a phone tree with other pharmacists to prevent theft and diversion in pharmacy? What can you do with strong non profits in your area that would help the community? Can you bring the community IN to your pharmacy to hang out and be a spot of joy and hope for your neighborhood, instead of another icky task they have to check off of their list? Ask yourself one more time what your strengths are, and how you can add them to your world around you to create a better retail pharmacy world. Maybe that’s through a broader, interprofessional pathway that could lead you to feeling FANTASTIC about your career of pharmacy.

After all, you picked a great profession! The sky is the limit….!

Pharmacy Podcast Miniseries:

Episode 1 – Introduction to the mini series

Episode 2 – Dr. Amy Lenell

Episode 3 – Dr. Kathy Campbell

Episode 4 – Dr. Chad Lesczynski

Episode 5 – Mr. Ron Snow

Et Tu, SXSW?

October 17th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-6-26-26-pmToday, I was rejected for the second time by SXSW2017.  Both panel pickers (the other rejection came a while ago for SXSWedu) were a big fat NO from the organizers for next spring’s big shin dig in Austin.  Considering thousands of panelpickers were submitted for consideration and only hundreds were selected, the panels were kind of running against crazy odds in the first place–but for me, this was a bucket-list item.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post–to share yet another of my fails in a big and ever-growing pile (trust me, there are many, MANY to choose from!)

I’m writing this post to ask you–when was the last time you failed? Like massive, epic, public, defcon-level-1 failure?  My fails this year have been big in scale and proportion.  These 2 are tiny compared to other whoppers I’ve made this year–some I’ve shared, some I have not. (Yet.)

My point: if you’re aren’t failing big, you’re not taking enough risk in your life.  You’re not growing, and you’re not pushing yourself enough.  Those who ultimately achieve big great hairy audacious things keep pushing, moving forward, failing, experimenting more, and trying again.  I know in the realms where I was professionally educated–law and pharmacy–we’re trained that failure is something to be shunned and avoided at all costs, because failure in these realms can mean big, bad things like death and/or incarceration.

On the other hand, if you keep succeeding and never face failure, what are you going to do when it DOES finally arrive? (Oh, and it will. Guaranteed.)

I’m not afraid of failure.  What I am afraid of is not trying…and most worrisome of all: regret.

So, celebrate that next big fat fail!  If you’re failing, you’re trying and pushing yourself.  Go on with your bad self, you rockstar, you!


P.S. If you were kind enough to vote, share and tweet about this and the other panel picker over at SXSWedu earlier this year, THANK YOU for your support during our panelpicker voting!  We could not have gotten this far without your support!!!!

First Bank of Karmic Retribution

October 14th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-9-47-06-amI was raised a United Methodist.  However, if I had to re-think my religion and study others, I agree philosophically with the Buddhists in a lot of respects.  One of the concepts I am a firm believer in is Karma.  (I also think cats are closer to Nirvana than the humans, but I’ll save that for another post at a later day.)

Karma is defined as the sum of one person’s actions, with some other stuff (like past lives’ actions, which in turn creates one’s future to some extent).  I don’t know if I believe in past lives, nor do I know if we go on other other lives after we leave Earth, but I definitely DO believe in Karmic Retribution, or the concept of–if you’re a good person, good will come back to you.  But, if you’re doing naughty things, Karmic Retribution will definitely hunt you down and bite you in the keister.

Such the case for me personally this week, where I must have been doing something right in order to avoid an epic-stage-bad-karmic situation.  I’m grateful that I had enough in my reserve in my account at the First Bank of Karmic Retribution to cover my own personal situation.  And while I know I was covered for this incident, I need to work really, really  hard to start making more deposits in said bank, so the next time I encounter an episode, Karma stays in the black on my side.

I’m writing a bit of a vague post, I know, and I certainly don’t need to go into the boring details about my own situation.  My point is this: make sure you’re not withdrawing too much in your own Karmic Bank Account.  Overdraft fees can be…egregiously high.

Have a great weekend!

My Favorite Things of 2016…Thus Far

October 9th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-11-33-04-amAs I read around the internet this morning, all I can keep thinking about is Dickens’ opening line: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” T-minus one month before elections in this country, and there’s nothing but hate, vitriol, and indecency online, it seems.  It feels like the latter end of that opener to me this morning.

So, I want to turn this ship around.  Instead of joining the haters and the ugly, I want to flip this post and share with you some of my favorite things of 2016 thus far.  Ready?

Best book trend this year: Coloring books.  If you’re a reader of this blog, you know I love books.  But what I love even more than books is books you can make your own – stuff like Choose Your Own Adventure, or in this case…creating something unique from something else.  Coloring books allow you to do this.  And no matter what age you are, coloring books can be a fun, stress-free way to chase off negative energy.  Here’s the vid on our own STEM Princess coloring book.

Favorite adult book of 2016: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, by Adam Grant.  There has been a bit of controversy over this book, but I don’t care.  It’s got some great ideas in it, and I found it fresh and inspiring (unlike the energy I’m seeing on most of the internet right now.)

Best talk I heard this year:  Bring on the Female Superheroes! by Christopher Bell. It’s over at TED. He’s right.  150% right.  350% right.

Best talk I gave this year: My talk on multipationals and the coming sea change in careers moving forward.  Slides are here.  I gave this talk to a couple hundred women at Women & Hi Tech this spring, and there were tons of great questions off of it.  While I still have a few talks left to go this year, I think this one will remain the most relevant to the future of work in this country, and you all know how much I love the future…

Best side project this year: Setting up the masterminds on pharmacy career development and writing/publishing.  This is something I tried in the past offline, but now thanks to Google+ hangouts, zoom, and slack, this is awesome to try online.

Best campaign: SXSW17 for the STEM princesses and children’s book projects, of course!  We find out Oct 18th if we are in…until then, THANK YOU ALL for your votes!

Best mentoring: for me this year was creating the Fellowship at Myers and Stauffer.  There is nothing better than creating a position where I can teach alongside parts of my work that I do every week.  It’s been a blast!  (And we are still taking applications for APPE rotations NEXT academic year at M&S and the fellowship for 2017-18 until November 15th – you can see both positions on my LinkedIn profile.

Best podcast show I heard: This is probably a 3 way tie between The Ask GaryVee Show, James Altucher, and Tim Ferriss, but all 3 dudes had interesting guests on, and answered interesting questions.  (Although, some of the content one of these 3 at times was not my cup of tea.  I won’t say which one right now, because I’m not falling into the haters’ trap that I mentioned above.)  I’m also going to be honest here and state that I’d like to hear more WOMEN podcast hosts in 2017 step up with interesting content moving forward.

Best podcast I co-hosted: I’m not done here yet over at The Pharmacy Podcast for the year, but thus far, I think the most professionally rewarding show was the 5 roads out of retail pharmacy miniseries.

Best article I read: I read a lot online.  But one of the stickiest articles I’ve read recently is this one, over at the Chronicle of Higher Education.  There are several reasons why, but let’s leave it at the point that I can relate with a lot of it.

Best article I wrote: The best article I’ve written this year has not been published yet, but it’s the first ever INTERACTIVE article I’ve written.  It compares fellowships vs. residencies for pharmacy majors, and it is coming out this fall over at Pharmacy Careers.  I actually created a quiz for the reader to take online to determine if she or he should try a residency, fellowship, a job or both out of school.  I’d never written an online quiz before, and while not scientific, I did have some of my pharmacist friends take it and it seemed to be pretty accurate.  Look for it this fall, pharmacy majors!

I hope this brings us back to the light side from the dark, even a smidge!

Women, Hi Tech and STEM

October 7th, 2016

This weekend, I conducted my 6-month regular analysis of women in healthcare and positions at the helm. While data wasn’t all for naught, the advances women are making into the C-suites in the realm of pharmaceuticals and healthcare are not exactly at lightening speed, or any clock-able speed.  Here’s the data.

Alternatively, in Indiana this week, Women & Hi Tech is hosting their biennial Leading Light Awards.  And, emcee this year is none other than former Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, (who, in my opinion, was the BEST thing that came out of the Pence administration–I wish she was running for Gov this cycle!  I digress.)  In my humble opinion, the nominees here are the bright future of Indiana’s innovation–they will be the leaders of tomorrow in STEM.  And, congrats to the winners!  (Also, shoutout to Christi Garcia of e-e-gineering for nominating me in the category of “You Inspire Us!” and…I won! Which also means I need to get back to work right after finishing this post…).


But, in this era of heated political debates, and not enough women in leadership positions–in healthcare, STEM, politics, media, and pretty much every other sector you can think of, I just want to hi-light this awesome ceremony here, and challenge the media to COVER this type of event, rather than spending every night focused on stuff that does not matter on the news–like sports, bickering politicians that don’t focus on the issues, and NOT showing the great diversity that makes our country great.  (If you need a picture that screams lack of diversity, particularly in Indiana, this one should do–I think there may be 2-3 women in it – but I can’t tell, since they don’t have a seat at the table.)

During the Indiana Gubernatorial debate the other night, I traded tweets with another person who is equally passionate about early education for Indiana and STEM, which I share, and which I personally think should be a focus in our campaigns this fall…and I challenged the twittersphere to the same challenge I’m giving the media above.  Why doesn’t our society focus on what really matters?

Until we do, I fear we’ll never be great again…

Challenge aside – CONGRATULATIONS to the nominees and winners, and especially to the student scholarship nominees!  Keep studying and doing what you’re doing, for tomorrow–hopefully–you’ll make better leaders than what we’re currently seeing and hearing.

And to the organizers at Women & Hi Tech – THANK YOU for focusing on the right stuff!


October 2nd, 2016


I’m still working over here.  Here are some updates of public documents I share with my peeps!

Healthcare Certifications for pharmacists and in healthcare – added a bunch!

Who’s at the helm in Healthcare? Sad to say, not many new women…

The Know Thyself Kit – added a couple of newer books out on how to help you get to your best you.

2016 Pharmacy Meetings – I’ll be heading to AMWA next week!

Hope these help.

Seeking 1 Amazing Sponsor for Our Amazing #STEMPrincess4 Adventure!

September 29th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 5.27.36 PMHi:

I’m cranking out STEM Princess 4, among other books right now.

But, I’m not going to sugar coat it–I’d like to find at least 1 good sponsor to help me out for a print run of this new book in the series.

Here’s the deal – I don’t want to run a crowdfunding campaign on it because I have to hand over 1/2 the money to the platform owners, and frankly, they’re a TON of work – I’d rather channel the energy into making a great book!

Straight up – here’s what you get if you sponsor the printing, and there’s two different levels of sponsorship:

$1000 sponsor – I need 5 total at this level.  The 5 sponsors would share a two page spread for logos and ads inside the book, and each sponsor at this level would get 100 copies of the book.

$5000 sponsor – you’re it.  The whole, sole sponsor of the book. You get a 2-page spread for your logo or we can work with you on how you’d like your company logo to be part of the book.  You also get 525 copies to do with what you like!

That’s it. It’s that simple…and this is my plea.  If you’re serious about sponsoring the NEXT generation of girls engaging in STEM, email me.

Now, I’m going back to writing some books!

Going Way off the Blogging Grid…

September 26th, 2016

Hi. I’m Erin. And I’ve been missing on the blog.

First, took a mini break this weekend to DC to see #NatBookFest.  It was interesting. Best part was Stephen King’s appearance, which I think was also on CSPAN Book TV.

I’m afraid to share that I’ll continue to be off the blog for a while.  There are way too other projects going on right now – but those I promise to keep you updated on as they roll out.

Fall Masterminders – your invites are in your inbox for writing and pharmacy careers for this fall.  I can’t wait to get started – and both have people who are in!

Also attending AMWA, ASPL and a few other local meetings this fall.

Cheers and happy fall!

Desk and Charitable Copy Requests of My Books

September 19th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 7.35.32 PMThese requests have been coming out of the woodwork lately, so I had to create a google form to capture, catalog and triage requests.  It’s here.  It’s also on the Square Store Page – in the “Donations” section.

Trust me, I wish I was independently wealthy enough to give away desk and charitable copies left and right, but I’m not quite there yet.  Please bear with me!


September 18th, 2016

In an effort to broaden my horizons, I watched 2 radically different movies this weekend.

The first was Banksy Does New York – Banksy is a world-famous UK-based street graffiti artist who is also a bit of a mystery.  The doc focused on his 31 day residency of New York City a few years ago, and all the ‘hints’ via his social media channels on the location of the next art installation during his residency, and chasing that ensued during his random installations across the city.  What was most interesting was what happened AFTER people realized his art was installed somewhere – the removal of the art, the transformation of the art by other graffiti artists who thought Banksy sold out, etc., and the performance which actually became part of the art itself, really.  (And it also left me wondering about some art legal issues too – like, if Banksy left art on a building he didn’t own, who OWNED the art? Who owned the copyright in the art?  And, if it was removed, was it stolen?  Was it stolen if Banksy never said it was stolen?)

If the purpose of art is supposed to move you or get you to think, I think he definitely succeeded during his 31 day residency in NYC. Although, the mayhem that it caused was borderline ridiculous, considering the real challenges and problems in the world.  On the other hand, he actually made many political and social points while installing and scattering his art throughout the 5 boroughs.

The second movie, also a doc, Paycheck to Paycheck: the Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert was equally thought-provoking, but in a completely different way.  Here, we have a young mother of 3 kids, ill-educated (perhaps due in part to her marrying early?), with no healthcare insurance, making $9.49 an hour as a CNA, and doing her best to raise her family despite her own diagnosis of Graves’ Disease, and a former drug-addicted husband who lived in a different state at the beginning of the movie.  I’m not even going to try and sugar coat it, here: it looked bleak for her, particularly when she was trying to go back to school and get more education, and in particular when the kids had to give up their puppy.  I was exhausted for her just watching it.

The bright spot was Chambliss Child Care Center, which is a 24/7 center for kids who have working moms to help them with child care that is affordable.  Unfortunately, the waiting list for the center was crazy long at the end of the film.

One of the favorite games I like to play with my brain is trying to figure out how everything is connected, and I often think things show up in my universe at the same time for a reason.  But between these two films, the only thing I can see that is similar is the ridiculousness of both – in that the same energy put in to chasing some paint and street art seems incredibly wasted vs. putting more of our civic energy into helping more Katrina Gilberts in the world.  We’ll spend millions on street art, but we can’t seem to help working moms who are actually trying to better themselves with things like affordable child care and more education.

If Banksy is reading this, I challenge him to figure out a way to help the Chambliss Child Care Center, like he did for the second hand salvage store that donated to homeless/HIV patients at Housing Works in NYC in his film.  (I wouldn’t recommend fascism, however, as the vehicle by which he did it NYC.)  As for me, I’ll be making a donation to Chambliss as well.  For all of us, I challenge each to think about what we are channeling our energy into.  Is it something ridiculous?  More important, is there a way we can do better by our channeled energy to make the universe a better place?

That is all I have you for you on a Sunday morning.