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Archive for October, 2016

Avoiding Midyear Meltdown

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-7-57-00-amIf you’re not in pharmacy, you may not have heard about Midyear.

It’s a meeting thrown by ASHP (the hospital pharmacy association) and it occurs at “mid” academic year, but actually at the end of the calendar year.  It’s a huge meeting where last year pharmacy students start trying to figure out and interview with companies for either fellowships or residencies or both.  This year’s meeting will happen in Las Vegas in a few weeks.

Pushing 140 schools in the US, we’re talking a lot of graduates here.

The process can be somewhat intimidating, especially if you don’t know what you want to do after school.  And, both residencies and fellowships are fiercely competitive.  (Again, 140 schools, thousands of students, and not enough experiences to go around…).

In an effort to help out pharmacy students around the US, the fellow Lauren Steinbach and I put together a mini series over at the pharmacy podcast on how to prepare for Midyear.  Part 1 launched just in time for post-PPS-freak-out.  (PPS is the service that posts all the jobs for Midyear, and it came out this week.)  We also have a lot of show notes for this one, which you can also find over at Slideshare.  If you have no clue which route you should take, try this quiz I put together to see if you have an inclination one way or another.

If you’re a P4, please listen to this podcast and read the show notes.  You have just enough time to set yourself apart from the herd…but ignore it, and you’ll just blend in, go un-noticed, and may not get your first choice experience after pharmacy school…and why oh why would you want to do that after spending nearly a decade of time on your education?


My Fellow ‘Treps

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Todd Eury, the Yoda Behind the Pharmacy Podcast, showing me around his fair city today

Today, I FINALLY met my podcast-brother-of-another-mother, Todd Eury, in his town (Pittsburgh) for a 2017 planning session of The Pharmacy Podcast!  And, it reminded me of a couple of things I might be taking for granted in my life.  I wanted to throw them down here so I don’t forget.

First…’treps.  Of all the tribes I traverse, I have to say that the energy of the entrepreneurs in my life ARE THE BEST!  Entrepreneurs are always additive, and rarely reductive (unless, of course, they’re sharing with me who to dodge, which still in the end is positive!)  ‘Treps answer everything with, “Yes, let’s!” or “Yes, and…!” seldom, “NO WAY!” or “Absolutely NOT!”  Todd is definitely of the “Yes, let’s” camp!

I hope I never leave behind my fellow entrepreneurs, BECAUSE I and the universe need more of their energy!  We need more people who can think creatively about making the world a better place.

Second, it’s really funny to stop and see how far you’ve come along in life.  Todd and I were looking through his 350+ episodes of the pharmacy podcast, and we listened to the VERY. First. Podcast that he did LOOOONG ago today!  We were straight up laughing out loud at the editing of it (hey, I’m not the best editor, but it was pretty hilarious to listen to!) And I mentioned to him that us listening to his first podcast is like me reading my first book.  It’s CRAP!  (My first book is crap. I can’t judge his first podcast!)

But the great thing is to see and hear how far you’ve come from the first to today.  It’s literally palpable.  That, and we can try to take our work seriously, but also have some self-deprecating fun along the way too!

Even though I had to be up at 3:45 AM this morning to be in Pitt in the morning for a planning session, it was totally worth it. I think I have a better plan for what I’m up to in 2017 with the Pharmacy Podcast.

Better yet, I had the chance to meet up with a fellow entrepreneur in person…and that, of course, is priceless!

The Importance of Being…Bored

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

headermentoringborstalbertBoredom can lead to a lot of great things, believe it or not!

Such is the case with one of my new book projects in 2017, a collaboration between myself and one of my mentors, Dr. David Borst. Today, we just launched a 32-day campaign over at Indiegogo to pre-sell copies of our new book coming next year, The S(He) Guide to Mentoring.

This entire book project started from an email conversation about being bored and trying something new. And, for the first time ever, I’m collaborating on a “2 books in one” model. Dr. Borst will be writing his perspective on starting his women’s advisory mentoring board up in Wisconsin, and I’ll be discussing my own perspectives of starting women’s mentoring programs here in Indy. But our perspectives are separate, and we’ll meet somewhere in the middle of the book to “end”.

I’m passionate about mentoring women. We still do not have enough women in C-suites, on corporate boards, and making the decisions on the OTHER side of the transaction, even though we make 80-90% of the purchasing decisions in this country. I’ve always wanted to write about mentoring, sponsorship, even anti-mentoring, but until the boredom email came along, it wasn’t on top of mind.

My point of this post is not to sell books (although, it would be swell if you could check out our campaign). Instead, it is to share with you that boredom can lead to really, really cool ideas and concepts…like this book. And while I’ve written my fair share of books, I’ve never really written a 2 books in one concept, and I’m excited to see how it turns out!

The campaign runs through Small Business Saturday – I literally couldn’t think of a better day to end it on. Dr. Borst is running his own shop now that he’s retired, and all my writing projects happen in my own little realm–they aren’t part of my day jobs. So, we’re out here hustling with all the other small business owners, this time to provide the priceless product of women thinking about their mentors in a new way.

My Feed

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-5-41-44-amWelp, lately I’ve been into…Google Chrome extensions. I’ve thrown honey on, buffer, boomerang, and in a desperate moment due to the heated and ridiculous political season, added the Facebook News Feed Eradicator.

Normally, I like to know what’s going on with my friends, but some of them (not all, but some) have really had a field day with the elections.  First, off, yes, I voted.  I also threw up a little bit in the back of my mouth when I did, but I did. It’s done. So I really don’t need an hourly re-hash at how bad the candidates are for our country, thanks.

Second, I continue to feel about Facebook as I’ve always felt: it’s a giant vacuum of time suckage.

So, yesterday I asked you to consider checking your facebook feed to see if it was OK to leave behind just in case.  Today, I challenge you to think about whether or not it’s time to eradicate your login feed altogether.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: time is the one thing you never get back.

Your Feed

Monday, October 24th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-7-00-27-amI have a new pharmacy student on rotation at work today – so I need to get to work and get organized. But before I do, I’m going to leave you with a little challenge that one of my friends left me over at the faceplace.

Sheryl, another social media rock star, said she worked with a 34-year-old colleague who recently passed away. She also said if you looked at his Facebook feed, it represented his fun-loving, sports-loving, friend-having self. It made her smile.

She then challenged all of us to go look at our facebook feeds.  If we suddenly passed away, would what is on the feed represent the stuff that mattered to us?

For me, my Sheryl feed test resulted in the following: stuff I’m working on for 4Q16, books, entrepreneur stuff, healthcare IT stuff, chocolate, hello kitty for president and some unicorns.  There’s also pictures of my books and my travel adventures, like the one above.

So, yes, I’m good with my faceplace feed.

In this heated political era, I’d offer you the same challenge: check out your feed. Does it represent the things that matter to you?  If, God forbid, something happened to you today, would you be OK with what’s standing on your feed…indefinitely?

Happy Monday!

My Top 10 List: 4Q16

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

fall-autumn-red-seasonMy Fellow Americans and Earthlings:

First of all, I already voted.  That ought to get me some type of free blocker of all political ads until the election on my channels.

That aside, here’s some stuff I’ve been and will be working on for 4Q16.

1.  Pharmacy Listening & Reading Survey for 2017 – I can’t write and podcast unless I know what the audience wants – so behold, a place where you can give me feedback on what I should write and speak about for the pharmacy podcast and other writings for 2017.  It’s open until 10/31, and instead of not sharing the data, I am going to send an exec summary to ALL who ask for it when completing the survey, because I’m cool like that and NOT a data hoarder…

2.  SWE3 – Yup, started interviews for the 5 year anniversary, 3rd edition of Single. Women. Entrepreneurs., coming in 2017!  I can’t WAIT to hear what these amazing women have been up to over the past 5 years.

3. Indiegogo campaign for the S(He) Says Guide to Mentoring – The campaign is coming soon.  The book is arriving in 2017.  Follow the faceplace page link above for that magic.  While I’ve set up mentoring programs for women in the past, and mentored more than a big share of students, this is the first time I’m writing a book specific to mentoring, and collaborating with one of MY mentors, Dr. David Borst.

4. PowerPak article on the DQSA – is now here – yay!  This one was a couple of years in the making (kind of like the DQSA itself) – shoutout to my colleague, Dr. Angela Ockerman, for co-piloting with me on this.

5. 5 Roads of Retail Pharmacy Love – is on its way – part 1 is published, parts 2-5 coming soon! Regardless, it’s a long overdue love note to my first pharmacy gig, retail! Oh, and the fellow is on top of the new mini series over at pharmacy podcast coming on residencies vs. fellowships and prepping for Midyear.  Here’s a mini quiz you can take if you’re not sure yourself as a P4 which way you should go! (Take it in Chrome – it doesn’t play nicely with Safari, for some reason…)

6. HBA Indiana – I’m running for President. (Not POTUS.) Instead, I’m running for HBA Indiana President for 2017.  It’s time for me to get back out there and understand what’s going on in healthcare at the state and regional levels, AND help other young and mid-career women make their career marks! It also fits into the fact that I’ve been tracking women at the helm of pharmacy and healthcare companies in the US, and we’re not making enough progress.  Also, I started a Health IT company list for Indiana – why oh why no one had a list before I find baffling.  This will take me some time to develop–but hey, at least it is started!

7. Midway on the fall Masterminds – have a sign up list for spring if you’ve been shopping for a writing or pharmacy career coach!

8. ASPL - pharmacy, meet law. Law, meet pharmacy.  The two meet up at the American Society for Pharmacy Law, which will meet up in Austin, TX in a couple of weeks.  Of all the career paths I’ve studied, THIS group has the weirdest and most out of the box careers I’ve seen to date.  Got my new book out on pharmacy law in IN, and have new talks coming up this fall on pharmacy law – yay!

9. Plotting 2017 –  Now that SXSW is off the table, I’m definitely thinking about the freaky meetings I can head to in 2017.  I’m thinking podcasting, blogging, social media, self publishing and maybe a few others….we’ll see.  Regardless, it’s good to have a plan for the coming year!

10. Other – I know what you’re thinking… “Hey, Albert – where’s the #STEMPrincess4 book?”  It’s still here, it’s just cued up for 2017.  I figured I needed to get a few books ahead of it finished before I dove full time into that project. Besides, I’m still shopping for a sponsor for book 4.  I can’t blow this series into the ginormous brand it could be alone! So, if you’re reading this and want to help out with #STEMPrincess series, hit me up via twitter or social.  And until 11/15/16, we’ve got the Myers and Stauffer Pharmaceutical Pricing Fellowship and APPE rotation applications up – come work with me next year and see all the magic!!!!!

That’s all I’ve got for right now. Much love to you out there – I hope you “fall” into an amazing…autumn!

5 Roads into LOVING Retail Pharmacy

Tuesday, 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?

Monday, 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

Friday, 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

Sunday, 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!