We all have a role to play in closing the gender gap in pharmacy leadership.

To do our part, Waterloo Pharmacy officially launched its Women in Pharmacy Leadership program (WIPL) this week. The program consists of an event series for all members of the Waterloo Pharmacy community and a mentorship program for female alumni interested in leadership. This week’s launch included a virtual keynote address from Amy Oliver and a tailored workshop with first cohort of mentees and mentors in the WIPL Alumni Mentorship Program.


Amy Oliver

Amy Oliver (above) is a pharmacist, mother, health-care executive and entrepreneur. To a virtual crowd of over a hundred and twenty attendees, Oliver presented on women in leadership as a human rights issue and shared how we can close the gender gap at an individual, organization, and societal level. Everyone can take steps to champion gender equity, Oliver says, by interrogating assumptions, asking questions of senior leaders, and holding each other and our organizations accountable.

“Is your organization influenced by societal norms, or is it influencing societal norms,” Oliver asked, encouraging the audience to reflect.


Mentors and mentees on an online call smiling

Oliver also led a workshop for the inaugural group admitted to the WIPL Alumni Mentorship Program. This event connected mentees with their mentors for the first time, and Oliver provided strategies to build a successful mentorship relationship. The nine alumni who are part of this program were chosen from over forty applicants. Each has a track record of success, strong career aspirations, and a desire for leadership roles. Read more about our mentees on their profile page.

During the lively question and answer session that followed Oliver’s talk, she provided book recommendations. If you’re eager to do more to champion gender equity in your organization, here are a few reads to get started:

  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez
  • Doing Harm by Maya Dusenbery
  • The Time Has Come by Michael Kaufman
  • Power Shift by Sally Armstrong
  • Pain Gap by Anushay Hossain

Remember that we model societal norms for those we influence, like children. Here are some reads to get children thinking about this topic as well:

  • Women in Science: 50 fearless Pioneers that Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
  • All the Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls books by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
  • She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton 

Many thanks to participants, speakers and the many donors who made the WIPL program possible. We are also grateful to our event sponsors: Platinum sponsor OnPharm-United, Gold sponsor McKesson Canada, and Silver sponsor Green Shield Canada.