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Archive for June, 2016

Introducing…The Inaugural #STEMPrincess Advisory Board!

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

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Inaugural #STEMPrincess Project Advisory Board Announced by Pharm, LLC

INDIANAPOLIS – June 30, 2016 – Pharm, LLC created a new national advisory board for its book series and movement to encourage more girls to choose STEM/STEAMED* careers under the #STEMPrincess book trilogy project.

The advisory board is comprised of 9 women in STEM careers, or leadership positions from the US to ensure the #STEMPrincess educational events, resources and programs are ‘edutaining’ and compelling for the next generation of girls choosing to pursue STEM careers.  The 9 advisory board members include:

Mandi Bishop – Firebrand, Social Entrepreneur, Women-in-Healthcare & Health IT Evangelist– Jacksonville, FL

Holly M. Davis – Executive Director, Center for Women and Democracy – Seattle, WA

Kristin Eilenberg – CEO, Lodestone Insights – Indianapolis, IN

Christi Garcia – Sales and Business Development Manager, E-gineering, LLC – Indianapolis, IN

Crystal Grave – Founder, President and CEO, Snappening – Indianapolis, IN

NaShara Mitchell – Founder, Studio B – Indianapolis, IN

Shelley Myers – VP, Consumer Health & Wellness, Fuzion – Carmel, IN

Tasha Phelps – President & CEO, Phelco Technologies – Indianapolis, IN and Independent Candidate, Indiana State Senate – District 30

Jennifer Ruby, Esq. – Attorney-Owner, Ruby Law and Founder, Finances 101 for Young  Professionals – Indianapolis, IN

Heather Torlina Hatcher – Biologist, research scientist, and STEM educator – Fishers, IN

“I have been humbled by this tremendous cadre of women who are already in STEM and said yes—to champion STEM education for girls with the #STEMPrincess project nationally,” commented Erin Albert, CEO at Pharm, LLC, STEM academician and author of The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM children’s book series.

“These women all want the STEM Princess movement out into the wider world in different, meaningful ways to in turn spark a new generation of women in STEM.  We know from the research that women in STEM are paid closer to parity with men, and have higher wage earnings. I’m excited to have this group of women already living the STEM dream help spread the broader message: that girls CAN be STEM superstars!”


About The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM: This children’s book series for girls and boys ages 5-9 is currently a story book (book 1), a hands-on activity book (2), and a coloring book (3).  The series is available online for sale at the author’s website:  More on the author at:

About Pharm, LLC: A service consulting think tank to healthcare, life sciences and pharmacy professionals, Pharm LLC educates on career development pathways through books, courses and articles to inform. Contact:

Beyond the press release – these women are all going to kick my dupa into gear on my STEM Princess dream – which is to get 50% gender parity in all corners of STEM.  Let’s do this, ladies!!!!

6 Things I’m Working On Right Now

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 11.26.33 AM1. <-This crazy poster for AACP Innovations in Teaching coming up in Anaheim, CA. I got the brilliant idea to lay it out more in pictures, like a Pinterest board, rather than a traditional sci/tech poster. Although, it’s half-baked right now. Not digging the layout. The struggle is real.

2. Finishing touches on an article for HCLA on leadership and quitting.  Seemingly incongruent, but really important for strong leaders.

3. Thinking about my talk topic for #SMDames16. I think I’ve got that one in the bag. Will I see you there, Indy ladies?

4. Next few Pharmacy Podcasts – looking at indie ownership, aromatherapy, pharmacy benefit management as possible upcoming topics.

5. Next book–wildly, wildly different ideas here. I may need to try several at once, since they are so vastly different.

6. The STEM Princess Advisory Board – first time I’m setting up an ad board for a book, but I’m disturbed by this growing backlash against educating girls and young women in STEM. Announcement on the amazing board coming soon.

Back on the #STEMPrincess Soapbox (Not that I ever left…)

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Dear Friends:

There appears to be a backlash growing against girls being exposed to STEM careers.  This article is a fine example of it.

I’m here to state that I don’t like this movement–it’s scary. Because it’s basically holding women back.

Next, consider this report, that states it will take us nearly 120 years to close the gender pay gap. 120 years! I am sad to report that I will be dead by the time we reach gender pay parity.

Do you find this acceptable?  I do not.  And the one place where we get closest to pay parity is: STEM careers.  So, when organizations bash educators and the community at large for trying to expose girls to STEM careers early, I get twitchy, because this holds girls back.

Personally, I hated geometry growing up–all the rules to solve a problem–why not just solve the problem?  Physics wasn’t my best subject either, but I was and still am mystified by quantum physics, ‘spooky action at a distance’, and whether or not there are 10-11 other parallel universes going on at the same time.  I love art and writing. And despite (maybe because of) all of this, I still chose a STEM career–which apparently puts me in the category of “upper middle class” according to several reports.  (Although, trust me, I do not feel upper middle class. I feel middle class. But I at least have a shot.)

So, my friends, when people ask why it is so important to get more STEM education going on for girls, I discuss the data above, coupled with my own experience as a child.  While I think I can always do better, I turned out OK, and that’s thanks in part to a great STEM career.

The next time you see someone holding back a girl from exploring different career opportunities, STEM or not, call them on their BS, please.  I know I will.

Sincerely yours remaining on the STEM soapbox,



On Quitting

Friday, June 24th, 2016
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Resignation letter – in cake. From: /04/newscast-directors-resignation- letter-really-takes-the-cake/21179566/


I’ve been asked to write an article on leadership over at HCLA.  (BTW, if you live or work in Hamilton County, IN, you should check out this leadership program – I learned a ton about where I live through it.)

Leadership is kind of like what Justice Stewart of SCOTUS said of pornography in Jacobellis vs. Ohio – hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. It’s also a very, very large topic.  Within the large topic of leadership, I chose a subtopic: factors for a leader to consider when quitting.

Quitting doesn’t seem like a very leadership-like trait. In fact, quitting is usually associated with some type of negative halo–leaders don’t quit!  They go down with the sinking ship.

However, sometimes, the BEST decision a leader can ever make is knowing when to quit when it is in the best interest of all parties.  It’s also very, very hard to do well. (BTW, this guy–you’re doing it right!)

Here, in this post, I wanted to lay out a list of all the reasons why a leader should consider when to quit work.  Although, many of the following reason(s) could apply to quitting other things – like bad habits, or relationships.

Regardless, leaders I think struggle with quitting the most, because quitting has a sense of losing or failure associated with it.  There’s also a factor of the unknown when quitting, and leaders like to control what goes on around them.

Instead, maybe we need to think about quitting as bravery or something noble, perhaps. It’s a necessary part of life in order for change and growth.

Regardless, I’ve traversed the internet and reading universe to bring you the ultimate check list on quitting. Here goes:

Checklist for: Quitting

Generally, there are two arenas that one should assess when leaving work:

1. the factors about you or that you can control, intrinsic factors, and

2. the factors out of your control, but that still affect you, like your manager, your leaders, or the culture of your organization. I broke them up in these two buckets below.

When it’s about you:

  • Your health suffersA recent study demonstrated that women who work on average 60+ hours a week had three times the risk of getting diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disorders and arthritis than those who worked 40 hour weeks. (The guys in this study got off luckier—they actually benefitted from more work.) You won’t be helpful to anyone if you’re sick, including you – so never let your health suffer for a job, even if you do love it.
  • Your family and friends relationships suffer – just like personal health, relationship health is equally important for a balanced life.  If you’re blowing off your friends and family on a regular basis to keep on working, that’s also not good.
  • You are working too hard – The Japanese have a term for this: karoshi. This could be due to external influences (like your boss or company), or even worse, your own intrinsic motivation driving you into the ground. Either way, you’re overworked and this trajectory cannot be sustained over the long run.
  • You are no longer growing in your gig – The #1 reason men left their former employer in a recent Harvard study (see below for the link under pay) was that they saw no growth opportunities at their companies. While you’re in charge of your own personal and professional development—not your boss—if you have zero time and resources to develop yourself professionally at work, you aren’t growing. And that means you’re dying.
  • You’ve lost the love/passion/joy for your work – I call this the Sunday night blues: when you dread another workweek coming.  It almost feels like going to the dentist or the gynecologist – a little nauseating with a touch of dread.
  • Burnout – A horrific, prolonged state of many pressures and factors accumulating to mental check out.
  • Apathy – A wicked step cousin to burnout. The last stop for burnout.
  • Your talents are underutilized and/or under appreciated – I call this the ‘Lamborghini in the parking lot’ problem. Imagine you have the keys to a $200,000 car, but you only get to drive it around a parking lot. You have awesome skills and it shows, but no one around you is paying attention or giving you stretch assignments—or even worse, not allowing you to make your own stretch assignments.
  • Your network is no longer growing – If you are the Kevin Bacon of your job, it’s time to find another film.
  • You hold others back – This one is an interesting one I found while researching the leadership challenge of quitting. If you catch yourself holding people’s excitement back, that’s a strong sign that it is really time for you to try something new.
  • You’ve accomplished everything you set out to do – Your performance management goals for the year were set in January, and completed them in June.
  • You can’t live out your personal vision – Maybe your job is holding you back from something on your bucket list. Why? Why let it?
  • Your values are incongruent with or became incongruent the organization – This one is a big deal, and no one discusses it much. But I do think it is a factor on why many good people leave. If your personal values don’t match those of your employer, then you’ll ultimately never be happy with that organization.
  • You have no voice at work 
  • Your work has no meaning relative to vision/mission/goals of the organization
  • Either micromanaged, or never managed
  • You’re bored at work – While it’s certainly NOT your boss’s or leaders’ jobs to keep you entertained at work (hint: you’re there to work), you certainly should have some room to be creative.  But if the boredom washes over you like a drowning sea and you can’t find anything to keep your work fresh and interesting, maybe it’s time to go.
  • When you’ve exhausted every remedy or effort to affect positive change and it got you nowhere – time to bail, seriously. But at least you can do it with a clear conscience knowing you did what you could.  After all, the only one you CAN control in the end is yourself.

When it’s about where you work or external factors:

  • Abuse, sexual harassment, discrimination or illegal activities occur – It’s 2016. This garbage really shouldn’t be happening anymore in Corporate America, but unfortunately it does.  If so, bail ASAP. There’s a serious error with your leadership too if they allow this to occur.
  • They aren’t paying you what you’re worth – 65% of women said in a recent study published in HBR said the #1 reason they left their former employer was pay. (Yeah, that work/life balance thing for women and having kids is not the #1 reason why women are quitting, either.) If you’ve asked for a pay raise and been denied, you’ve exhausted that remedy.  Sign to move on: check.
  • Lack of support for your work – As in, the boss has one administrative person for himself, and you share an administrative person with 20 other peers.
  • The relationship between you and your direct manager was or became bad – a lot of surveys and articles overblow this one as the #1 reason why people leave jobs. While your relationship with your direct manager may have a lot of weight on your job, it’s not the sole reason why people leave gigs. On the other hand, a boss that micromanages or never manages you can also make your job hell.
  • Relationships between peers and co-workers was or became bad – Use Tony Hsieh’s beer test on your peers. Of your peers at work, who would you actually want to drink a beer with after work? If the list is short, that’s a bad sign.
  • The organization is unstable or closing – obvious.
  • Organization stops hiring or freezes salaries - a clear sign that the organization is not putting its people first.
  • Death by meetings – your company has a terrible culture about meetings—as in too many, or not enough, or worst of all…too many meetings, poorly managed.
  • No growth opportunities within the organization – Again, the #1 reason why gents leave gigs, according to HBR.
  • You know more than your boss.
  • Sketchy ethics or checked out leaders in your org – I think this actually carries more weight than your direct manager. If the leaders above your manager have bad ethics or are checked out, that behavior can just move downstream…all the way to you.
  • Out of the loop with leadership – When leadership is hiding more than they are telling.
  • Paper clip wars – when everyone at work is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and the ship is sinking—the priorities are poorly focused.  Said another way, death of the company by distraction.
  • Loss of confidence and trust in leadership – In yet another exit survey, the #1 reason for employees leaving is “loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders.” While one can lead at any level or in any position, when the senior leadership doesn’t or can’t get it right, the rest can be left in the dark.
  • No one inspires you, sponsors you, or mentors you at work – You need both sponsors and mentors. Sponsors might even be more important for you than mentors at larger organizations, because they can fight for you when you’re not in the room. But, if you don’t have any, there is no representation.
  • The number of anti-mentors are greater than actual mentors – When you actually work with more people who exhibit behavior you NEVER want to be a part of (I call this anti-mentoring) than true mentors, time to go!
  • Zero recognition or celebration in your office for good work.
  • No direction given on the future or vision of the organization – Do you know your organization’s mission, vision and values?
  • The wrong people are getting hired and/or promoted – Fast Company reports that the majority of managers are wrong for their roles. One of the ugly little examples of this one is nepotism. Another is when the boss promotes his favorites rather than basing promotions on something real, like meritocracy.

There. That’s about as comprehensive as I can get for someone on the fence about quitting.  If you stumbled on this post and sought a checklist, I think this one is pretty solid. Run through it.  Keep in mind, however, I’m NOT prescribing that you up and bolt from your day job without a plan if you ticked off several of the items above.  I’m just giving a laundry list of items to weigh and consider before you formulate a plan to leave.

And remember: life is short.  Don’t make it shorter by being miserable in a job with no love anymore. While we all need to pay our bills, that does not mean we have to suffer and toil all the time to an early grave…

Pharm Friday’s QOTW: How Do You Create a Creative Continuing Education Program?

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 7.25.36 AMI’ve been experimenting with Anchor a bit these days, (naturally as I have a face for radio)! Each Friday, I recorded a question of the week with my company, Pharm, called Pharm Fridays (QOTW) and provided an answer or asked another question around it.  You can find my anchor “waves” or audio files if you hunt for my twitter account after downloading the app (@ErinLAlbert).

This week, I’ll be discussing the following question:  “How might we set up an award winning educational program?”  One answer lies in a program we ran at Butler a couple of years ago now for pharmacy continuing ed (CE), called 21 Flavors: Ideas on How We Might Improve Medication Adherence.  But, I’ve used this format in non-pharmacy and non-healthcare venues and had success.  Most of the tools I used below are free, or at least have a free trial to use if you want to steal and reapply this format for your educational program.

I submitted this program to the inaugural AACP Innovations in CPE Award for 2016 at the annual meeting in Anaheim, CA coming up in July.  Did we win? Well, I guess you’ll have to keep your eyes on the social stream here to find out.  Fingers crossed!

So, why was the 21 Flavors event innovative?

1. The “Unconference” format – we describe the unconference format above, however, we wanted to try having a larger cut of the audience participating as speakers at a themed event with one topic of focus–medication adherence. By having more of the audience members also serve as speakers, more voices were heard throughout the learning activity, which can increase the number of ideas and participation.

2. “Sticky” titles – We also used a theme of flavors or varieties of medication adherence and told everyone to pick a favorite “flavor” for their talk, in order to try and help the 21 different ideas stick with the audience. We also limited each speaker on what parameters he or she could utilize for their slides, such as more pictures, less text on slides, and less number of slides per talk. This was an experiment in more storytelling, rather than dependency on slides.

3. Short “triads” – We wanted shorter talks…we all seem to have shorter attention spans these days.  We also literally had a gong in the room and gonged speakers who went over their allotted time of 5 minutes. We actually reapplied ASHP’s pearl sessions with the stoplight learning activity model at this event, but raised the stakes with a very loud gong instead of a red light to keep the day moving! We batched speakers in triads for several reasons with reflection time, not only to give time to reflect immediately after 3 ideas, but also meet the requirement of the minimum block of time for allowing CE learning credit as 15 minutes.

4. Built in reflection – Not only did we want to keep it moving with 21 speakers and shorter talks, but we also wanted to have reflective time for tables to discuss the ideas immediately after each triad as well, to get the ideas to “stick.” Through 10-minute reflection periods in between a 3-speaker triad, small tables had more opportunity to discuss how they could utilize the 3 ideas in their own respective practice settings immediately, rather than waiting until after the event was over to reflect.

5. Learning and having fun – Some CE programs aren’t retained, frankly, because they are boring. But, very few who attended this event forgot it, as it was a fun theme of flavors of ice cream. We even created a Pinterest board for “pinspiration.” Although it was a learning event, it also was fun—“edutaining.” Learning doesn’t have to be boring!

6. We recorded it and shared it with the universe online – Not one of the 21 speakers protested when we decided to share the content with the universe live on a Google site, nor did anyone protest when we went to Drug Topics with the publication. Even though we did not offer homestudy CE online for this event, the ideas are still out there, nearly 3 years after the event, for everyone to learn from – and not just other pharmacists.

7. We built a free website with the content – As director of CE, I never before this event created a website to share classroom content. Thus, by experimenting with this content freely online, it helped the Butler COPHS CE Department grow other homestudy CE programs delivered online.

8. We turned the content into an enduring publication, for a wider audience – We never had any intentions of publishing the outcomes from this event in a national pharmacy magazine, but we did it! Article that appeared is online at our website and here: ways-boost-medication-adherence.

9. Interprofessional – We utilized a variety of professionals, both directly inside and even outside of healthcare to share their expertise on medication adherence.


6 months, 6 podcasts

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 12.23.37 PMAs I was cleaning up the Linkedin profile this morning as part of my she-shed/reinventing work on myself project, I realized that I’ve been a podcaster now for 6 months!  Wow, has the time gone by quickly.

Props to Todd Eury over at Pharmacy Podcast for the privilege of trying to bring different career development avenues to the pharmacy word during my time with his shop.  He himself just celebrated his 300th episode, and updated his website.  It’s been so much fun reaching out to other leaders in and around pharmacy, HIT and healthcare to bring back the best hits on pharmacy and healthcare to our 50,000+ listeners.

Thus far, the 6 podcasts I ran or helped out on were:

1. Maximizing pharmacy meetings by investing in them wisely – with Kristin Eilenberg over at Lodestone Insights

2. & 3. Writing to enhance one’s career – part 1 and 2 with Dr. Elaine Voci, one of my writing mentors

4. Feeling the burn (out) – how to manage away from pharmacy and career burnout

5. Building a successful career path in pharmacy – including ‘trepping – with Shaun Young

6. BU Well – interview with our incoming student EIC, Anne Leighty.

I’ve really enjoyed my time here.  And frankly, discovered that I not only have a face for radio (haha!) but I also will be ramping up on this activity even more in the future. I have a few other ideas cooking and taping soon.  And, I recently gave a pearl talk on other podcasts for pharmacists to tune into.

By all means, if you’re in this space and have ideas on who you’d like to hear from, let me know – I’m only a tweet away @ErinLAlbert!

The Know Thyself Kit: Tutorial

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

I know I’ve been quiet.  I’m out back in the she shed reinventing myself.  More on that later!  And don’t worry if I remain quiet for the rest of June and July – the things I’m working on are worth the wait.

In the meantime, enjoy this little video tutorial I put together on the Know Thyself Kit, which is something I require all my rotation students to complete.  I just thought I’d put it up on video so I can send them the URL in prep for the rotation…it’s good exercises for ALL of us. Summer hugs to you all (just make sure you put on your sunblock!)