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Archive for October, 2017

Top 5 I’d Teach in 5

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

I was recently asked what I’d teach if given 5 minutes to do so, to a group of rock star level professionals, but in completely different arenas than healthcare. Here are 5 ideas I’d love to discuss:

1. Alternative Ways to Sell Your Books

2. Top Leadership Experiences/Programs for Women

3. Top Big Data Aggregators, and how to OPT OUT of their collection of YOUR data.

4. Top ways to market and lead an event.

5. Top ways to follow up.


Super top secret stuff in some of these…LOL!

Missing the #Mixtape

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 9.06.23 PMAfter watching Outlander episode 306 an embarrassing number of times today, I hopped over to Showtime and caught High Fidelity. As a child of generation X, I love this movie for four reasons:

1. John and Joan Cusack together – it reminds me of my own life – working with my brother as a sibling, and we’re all from the Midwest. The Cusacks are from Chicago, me and bro grew up not far away in South Bend.  Joan’s character is usually right vs. John’s, and so is Erin in real life vs. bro, etc. (I’m certain my brother would refute. But he can argue on his own blog. Wait. He doesn’t have one. So I win!) I love the Cusacks together in Grosse Point Blank too with their sister Ann.

I digress.

2. The record store – we did this in college, with Tracks. Just hang out and hunt for obscure bands and imports. West 38th Street, Indy. Always fun to do after finals.

3. The top 5 lists – a practical way to order chaos in one’s life.

4. The mix tape – Last, and maybe most poignant for this evening’s post/discussion. Raise your digital hand if you ever received a mix tape, or better yet made one for someone else. These little plastic cartridges of heaven were sheer art forms ahead of their time.

Today, someone creates a playlist on Spotify. But it’s just not the same. Less instant gratification, because you had to carefully craft the tape.  There is and was an art to the curation, order, and most of all message one wanted to send another in creating the mix tape.

I need to hunt mine down. They’re buried in the Erin Albert basement archives. I miss my mix tapes.

In the meantime, dig out your own, and see if you can find a way to play it.

#BackToSchoolRx: A New Miniseries on Graduate School at Pharmacy Podcast

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Pharmacists, healthcare professionals, and all professionals: have you ever fantasized about what it would be like to go back to school after your first professional degree?

The Pharmacy Podcast Network will be exploring vicariously different add on career and educational degrees for pharmacists this fall! After 37,000 views of this post on LinkedIn, we know this is a very interesting topic for pharmacists. We’re designating the official hashtag to this Back to School Miniseries as: #BackToSchoolRx.

#BackToSchoolRx: A Miniseries on returning to school for professionals:

We’ll be exploring the add ons of: business, informatics, the culinary arts, and even PhD programs. We’ll also talk about the money part for grad school, and wrap it up with what you can do with an add on degree in terms of career development off the beaten path for pharmacists.

Personally, it’s been an honor to bring this miniseries to life, and we’re excited at the PPN to bring it to our 66,000 listeners this fall!

We hope you can tune in at, over at iTunes and at Stitcher. As we roll out the series, I’ll be posting links to the episodes here as well. To our current and upcoming guests for this series, THANK YOU for all that you do for our community at large. We have the blessing of living vicariously through your experiences!


How To be a Podcast Guest Superstar

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 5.04.14 AMAs a podcast co-host on The Pharmacy Podcast Network, (and as someone with a face for radio – LOL!) I’ve probably hosted somewhere between 50–100 guests by now. I am NOT an expert — yet. However, I know when I spot an awesome guest or idea for the show, I want to help and make the guest sound like a rock star that he or she is and bring value to our 65,000 listeners! So, here are a few tips on how to rock a podcast…as a guest. Ready?


  1. Say yes, IF you have something to discuss — Most podcast hosts will have a reason why they want you on your show. For example, right now I’m working on a miniseries for pharmacists considering going back to school after pharmacy school — b school, c school, and i school, etc. As I reach out to my network and ask for people to participate, I have something specific in mind for them. If you’re comfortable speaking about the topic they want you to discuss, go for it! Now, there are proactive approaches in reaching out to podcast hosts when you’re pitching an idea or wares, but that’s worthy of a separate post, if not an entire book.
  2. If you say yes, make it EASY for the host who gave you the shot — A good host will keep telling you the next step. My second step after reaching out and the guest saying yes is booking a time and sending proposed questions with the appointment time. As a good guest, this means booking the appointment easily. Don’t go back and forth forever trying to find a time. I’ll also state in the defense of my brothers and sisters in podcasting as hosts: many of us podcasters out here don’t have the luxury of doing podcasting as a full time day job either, so try and be flexible if the podcast host has a weird schedule. For example, I can’t podcast during the 9–5 most of the week because I have another day job. Also, DO NOT CANCEL unless you absolutely have to — podcast co-hosts have a lot of guests, recordings, series and topics to juggle, and when you cancel, that can throw a huge wrench into a production schedule. Bottom line: be easy to work with and don’t be a diva here!
  3. Prepare and practice — Just like anything, one gets better with preparation and practice. This includes being a podcast guest! Ask for your questions beforehand, and review them. Also, practice giving answers that don’t drone on. Also, when you’ve finished your thought and answered the question, remain silent so the host knows they can move on to the next question. If there’s a question on the list you aren’t comfortable answering — have the host strike it prior to recording. Also, if you can’t come up with a good answer on something, suggest a change to the question on something you prefer to answer. (For example, I had a guest once who said s/he didn’t really read books when asked what book s/he was reading at the time. AWKWARD, and not to mention — it made her/him sound ignorant and unprofessional. Help the host help you be the rock star that you are by making the questions better in advance.)
  4. Listen to a few episodes — It’s important to listen to a couple of episodes of the podcast you are a guest on, because nothing looks worse than a guest saying they haven’t listened to the podcast nor understand the format and timing of it. Gauche. Please don’t be that guest. Professional podcasters will send you a guest dossier in advance — study it and understand how it will work. How long is a typical episode? What is the format? How does the host lay out the show? Know all this before you skype the day of with your podcast host.
  5. Join or connect to the podcast online — To be a great guest, you’ll follow the host and the podcast at social media portals, and pay attention to episodes upcoming. Jump in and share your awesomeness with your tribe that you’ll be on a podcast soon!


  1. Have a glass of water for recording — The last thing you want to do is cough into the mic a bunch of times — H2O to the rescue!
  2. Wear a headset — you want to cancel all the background noise. My iPhone headset plugged into my macbook does a decent job on recording — so be sure to get somewhere quiet, turn off the gadgets and nervous shuffling behavior, and wear a headset so you can be completely focused on the conversation.
  3. If you fumble, pause, and start over — Professional podcasters will have editing as well, so if you hiccup or derail while answering a question, just pause, ask for a do over, then re-answer the question. Watch the “likes” “uhms” and other space fillers.
  4. Stand up – your voice will be more supported and it should cut down on squeaky chairs or nervous habits as background noise. Podcast guesting is partially a performance.
  5. Thank the host and be conversational — The interview or chat shouldn’t make you sweat! Just make it a conversation. Use the host’s name during the recording.


  1. Share the URL to the podcast — Being a podcast guest helps you! You should share that you’re a thought leader in your arena by sharing the link to the podcast — through social media, your email footer, on your LinkedIn profile, and even via embed code on your website (if you have that capability and if the host will share the code with you).
  2. Send a thank you note — Podcasters aren’t the best about sharing their snail mail addresses, but if you can find one, send them an old fashioned thank you note. If not, an email will do. Yes, include your business card too — and let them know you’re ready to help them again in the future, especially if you want to be a return guest. I would say 99% of guests never do this. Here’s your opportunity to be part of the the 1%!

That’s it! It’s fun to be on the other side of the mic as a guest — because hosting is a LOT more work than being a guest. Guests have the easy part! So, enjoy being a guest on the podcast, and help the host help you shine like the rock star that you are!

Networking: 5 Friendly Reminders for All of Us

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 9.21.48 AMI’m about to write a post about one of the most (over?) discussed business topics of the 21st century: networking. Before you yawn, I’m posting about this topic because the unwritten rules of networking seem to be violated a lot lately. So, I wanted to lay down 5 friendly reminders for all of us (myself included) on how to network like rock star professionals that we should be, rather than amateurs.

A lot of what I’m covering below came from many books and thought leaders on this topic – these aren’t my original ideas. People like Hazel Walker, Dr. Ivan Misner, (and their book, Business, Networking and Sex), and several other books (Harvey McKay’s Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone, etc. are where I attempted to pick up and implement many if not all of these principles. These are not new and not mine, but I really try hard to adhere to them.

  1. Your network is your net worth - Social capital is like financial capital, but a little different, in that more isn’t necessarily better. Unlike money, a network is a living, breathing thing. You have to treat it as such. Feed it. Nurture it. If you see something of interest to a friend, send a quick note and the link online to an article and write, “Thought of you when I saw this – hope you are well!” Give–to those especially who have earned it. It’s about relationships first, which leads me to my next point…
  2. Always build the relationship first - My biggest pet peeve of late with LinkedIn is that people try to connect, then automatically send a hard press sell on their wares before we even get to know each other. You need to build the relationship FIRST, then and only then can you start selling. And this goes double for women. We want a relationship FIRST. If you start selling out of the gate, the channel is muted automatically. Let me connect to you if you offer and we’ve never met. If I like your jam, then I’ll connect and watch your posts for a while, then maybe we can chat. I need a digital handshake of your online presence before you get to sell me anything directly. Also, please stop the group spammy LinkedIn messages. If you can’t take the time to send me a direct personal message about whatever it is that you’re selling, then it really can’t be that important.
  3. Givers gain - give more than you receive. Proof in point: here below is my written recommendations section from my personal LinkedIn profile–I’m walking the talk here, so you all can keep me honest. Try to give at least 2-4 times more than you receive. Below, I’m really close to 5 times on recommendations. That’s the goal I try and set for myself. On the other hand, I can’t give arbitrarily. You have to make sure you have #2 in place first, and they have to do good work – you can’t just start recommending people you don’t know and haven’t worked with. That, too, is inauthentic. Give as it is earned, otherwise, your giving becomes meaningless.

4. Always play the connection game in your brain - I really don’t do as many one on ones anymore, but when I do meet new people to my network and chat with them, I’m always playing the connection game in my brain. As they talk, I go through my virtual brain Rolodex to check if they know people in my network who share a passion. If not, and if they’d like to be connected, I make the connection. I personally believe that those who share a common passion are often times better to know each other than not. A way that author and coach Jenny Blake of Pivot rolls this way is something she calls the 20/20 or a 30/30, where if she is meeting someone one on one, she’ll start with the other party and discuss for 20-30 minutes one thing they are working on, then she offers insight, then they switch. I like this because it sets the giving playground equally.

5. If you called the meeting, own it - That means, NEVER be the person to cancel the meeting if you called it in the first place–unless the world is literally falling apart. Those who are in demand for one on ones are really, REALLY busy in some cases, and if they said yes to you the first time, you may never get a second chance if you cancel. And, savvy, busy professionals always keep a mental list of who dissed them, as they are good guardians of the one item we never get back: our time. This also means that if you asked someone else to coffee or lunch – you at least offer to pay.

There. Again, not rocket science, not new, and not revolutionary. These 5 principles are just what I try to live by, and wanted to share with all of us, myself included, as articulated friendly reminders.

Happy pro-networking!


Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 8.46.58 PMI took a 24 hour vacation from Twitter on Friday the 13th. I’ll let you Google the brouhaha that led to it, because it involves a long tale, a man whose name I don’t want to taint this blog with, and a bunch of tweets. And while no one likes rape or rape culture, I left Twitter for a day for the procedural issues behind the story.

Here’s why I left: I don’t like what Twitter did to Rose McGowan, because it was arbitrary. Lots of others on Twitter (mainly white men) have violated Twitter’s policies as Rose did in the past and present, but their accounts were never partially suspended over it.

Rules are rules, and they should apply to all, equally. While I get that no social media portal is a democracy, what I don’t dig (and I don’t think ANY of us should) happens when the rules are arbitrarily applied to certain people, but not all people on the platform.

I also understand there was controversy in women leaving Twitter for the day, in that ‘silencing’ women was exactly what the patriarchy wanted, and should we be speaking up rather than shutting off the channel? Trust me when I say we did the most damage we could do to Jack and Twitter by the radio silence for a day. Why?

Because we aren’t the customers of Twitter. We are the product.

Big data is all around us, and we are creating tons of it each and every day. Companies like Twitter (and Facebook, and LinkedIn and all other social media portals) are collecting that data (our “digital dander” as Valita Fredland and I like to call it in a recent Big Data and Ethics talk), and then selling that information back to other companies. We are the product.

At least you KNOW you’re the product on sites like Twitter and Facebook. What’s really scary is that there are data aggregation companies that are collecting, repackaging and selling your data to others and YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW IT. (I’ll let you google “biggest data aggregators” to learn who.) Nor can you even opt out of that digital dander collection. That, my friends can only lead to digital DANGER.

So, ladies and gents who left Twitter – nice work! You hit a portal hard where it counts. If they have no data from you, then they have no data that day to sell to someone else. And taking away their product – YOUR digital profile and tweets or your digital dander – is the biggest damage you can do to them.

While Jack posted that things are going to change around Twitter in response to #WomenBoycottTwitter, it remains to be seen if the new rules are applied equally, or with discrimination. We’ll be watching, Jack…

4 Things I Love, Right Now

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

1. Outlander - particularly this week’s episode, Freedom and Whisky.

2. Creativity Rules – Tina Seelig’s new book.

3. Graduate school and pharmacists – for the new miniseries on Pharmacy Podcast, beginning soon.

4. 2018 – I want to start one daily habit in 2018, but I’m not exactly sure what that will be quite yet.


Interview on Healthcare, Law and Bioethics in the US

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 12.11.11 PMA shoutout to Anthony T. who dared to ask me questions for a mid-term interview he has in his coursework. His questions, along with my answers are below – which if you read in depth are just more questions…there are no easy answers in heatlhcare. (Caution: the opinions below are mine and mine alone – and I have a LOT of friends over at Facebook who completely disagree with me. We all have strong opinions about healthcare right now, which is a good thing for a democracy.)

Good luck with your assignment, Anthony!

Q1: Why did you choose to work in healthcare?

EA: I liked science and STEM in general, and also wanted to help people. For me, it was a choice between medicine and pharmacy, but I chose pharmacy because I didn’t want to be married to one career. After choosing pharmacy, I also have the opportunity to do a lot of additional things with my career and pivot – like law, business, entrepreneurship and writing.

Q2: What do you feel the biggest public health challenges in U.S. are now?

EA: 1. The opioid epidemic is killing our country….literally. Whether or not the genesis of the problem is in prescription drugs or illicit, I personally believe that addiction is an illness, and yet, we don’t have enough affordable options to treat it. A lot of this problem was caused by the economic issues we’re having in this country too. Health permeates everything – if society is sick, it affects commerce, work, employment, and so many other facets of life.

2. We are running out of effective antibiotics, as just one example. On the other hand, drugs that are newly approved for the most part are for orphan diseases and/or are high cost. How can we afford these as a society?

3. The graying of America – 10,000 baby boomers every day now are retiring. How can we help them live better, healthier lives while still covering everyone in this country for care? If they want to work and live independently, how can we help them live this way affordably and contribute to society?

4. How might we incentivize innovation in healthcare and life sciences while still making healthcare affordable?

5. And last but certainly not least, affordable healthcare is probably the biggest challenge now and in years to come. Our healthcare now consumes 17% of our total GDP in this country – and that is not sustainable. Other countries provide better and more affordable care – so we need the next generation of healthcare professionals to study other countries’ systems and bring the best hits back to our country, stat.

Q3: Regarding the Affordable Care Act, what are some of the gaps you feel should be filled to improve the U.S. healthcare?

EA: If you study other countries’ healthcare systems, you’ll discover that some of the best are driven more regionally and locally. I don’t think (and this is my personal opinion, and mine alone) that the federal government can do the best job of optimizing both the affordability and accessibility of healthcare in the US.  Our federal government was designed by our Constitution to be limited. The states (again, in my opinion) should drive healthcare and create more innovative solutions. If we wait for the federal government to solve this problem, we’re doomed.  No offense to the hard working federal government employees, but innovation comes from the states and regions, not the federal government. Bottom up (local) usually provides far more innovation than top-down government.

Some of the best healthcare systems on the planet almost set up funding via a competition – the regions with better outcomes with their people receive more funding. Innovative ideas are more likely to be spread this way. I hate using the Hunger Games analogy, but it’s a good one in the sense that there are regions that are known for certain commerce, or in this case – it would be regions known for better, more innovative healthcare ideas. Why not fund healthcare innovations this way so great ideas can spread? I think this may be one of the concepts around block grants for states with the feds, but this is just one example on a race to the top, rather than to the bottom of healthcare.

Q4: Do you think that the Affordable Care Act is an individual mandate, if so is this good or bad for the individual?

EA: I think while it’s a good thing for the individual to be covered, it also must be affordable. Mandating something that is unaffordable is unreasonable–it sets our citizens up for failure, (much like Thomas More wrote about in Utopia). I think ultimately, we need to have a fundamental debate in this country on whether or not healthcare is a right or a privilege. Countries like China have written into their constitution that their citizens have a right to basic healthcare.  Right now, we do not. So then, the next question after the fundamental right question we should be asking ourselves is – should healthcare be a for- or non-profit service? If it continues to be for-profit (for the most part, at least for working Americans who are mandated to have insurance coverage) how much profit is too much? For the pharmaceutical companies? For healthcare insurance plans? For healthcare providers? For everyone else in the industry?

On the other hand, how are we going to get big pharma, medical device and biotech companies to innovate if profits are smaller? Innovation in healthcare and life sciences is risky and expensive. You also left off an interesting party here too – what about companies who are paying for the vast majority of employees’ healthcare in this country? They are paying billions of dollars to insure their employees. Should employers have to pay for their employees’ healthcare? They don’t pay for our car insurance or home owner’s insurance for the most part – so why should they have to pay for healthcare?  Maybe we could get to the point where we have something like Medicare for all – the basics can be covered, then all of us can buy a supplement if we’d like. But that’s going to cost us a lot of money we don’t have. Healthcare is not free. Where are we going to get the money?

Q5: How can law and bioethics work together to improve the U.S. healthcare system?

EA: This may sound really odd coming from a pharmacist-attorney, but I think we need LESS law and red tape, particularly by federal government, in order to innovate healthcare in this country…not more. Ethics, similarly–ideas like autonomy, beneficence and justice (as just one example from the Common Rule 45 CFR 46 on the Protection of Human Subjects)–would suggest that individuals should have more freedom and choice when it comes to healthcare, which would in turn suggest less, not more mandates. On the other hand, laws like HIPAA and HITECH are there seemingly to protect us – should we have even more privacy laws to protect our data in other realms beyond healthcare?  Big data beyond healthcare and banking is still the wild wild west and largely self regulated. Healthcare is one of the most highly regulated industries in the US. Should it be? The more regulation, the more red tape, the higher the cost.

As I mentioned – not a lot of answers here. Just more questions…