Conversations about female representation and leadership in STEM fields are increasingly common. Health care fields, including pharmacy, are no exception to these concerns, and to respond the Canadian Pharmacists’ Association hosted a summit for Women in Pharmacy Leadership, a workshop and networking event that brought together women from all areas of the Canadian pharmacy world. With support from the Future of Pharmacy Fund, the School of Pharmacy sent five students to attend. Alumni and faculty of the School also participated.
“While the pharmacy field is predominantly women, the majority of upper management and stakeholders in major corporations, organizations and institutions are men,” says Prof. Preet Sian of Waterloo Pharmacy who attended the event because she believes women should have a stronger voice in the profession. “Why is this? Is it due to workplace challenges or societal pressures? By networking and developing additional skills, we can help female pharmacists rise further up the pharmacy ladder.”
The event began with a half-day of discussion and workshops and closed with an evening reception for networking and relationship-building. The workshops in particular offered attendees the change to drill down on topics and discuss barriers and challenges of being a woman in the pharmacy field.
“I attended the ‘Are you board ready?’ workshop to further develop my leadership skills,” explains Urooj Advani, Rx2019 student attendee. “As a student we participate in a variety of leadership environments, but it was especially helpful to hear from Deborah Roasati, an experienced board member of many organizations, who shared advice on how to manage specific types of issues and navigate the complexities of holding a decision-making position. As someone who is interested in actionable items – how do we tackle an issue, what are possible solutions? – I found this to be an informative and engaging workshop.”
Events like the CPhA Summit do more than instruct and educate: they present an opportunity for young professionals to connect with strong role models in their field and serve to inspire action in students and alumni.
“At the end of the summit I felt motivated and confident that I have the potential to go out in the world and become a great leader,” says Nareefa Nasrudeen (right), Rx2017 alumnus. “I came out of the event with goals of challenging myself to conquer my inner fears and become more involved as a woman in pharmacy.”
Many thanks to those who supported the Future of Pharmacy Fund, enabling our students to take part in this meaningful career development experience.