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07/08/2021

Pharmacy Leader Kimberly Schroeder: 'You can and will make a difference in people’s lives'

You can and will make a difference in people’s lives. There is an entire industry behind you supporting you, and if you keep the patient at the centre of what you do, you can never go wrong.
Kimberly Schroeder, Senior Manager, Strategic Pharmacy Relations at Amgen Canada Inc.
Kimberly Schroeder

Snapshot:

Senior Manager, Strategic Pharmacy Relations at Amgen Canada Inc. with over 25 years in pharmaceutical experience
 

Board of Directors, Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy

How important was mentoring in your career?

I can’t underscore the importance of mentoring in my career. When I started in business there weren’t any formal mentoring programs, but I was able to seek out people who could be an advocate for me in my career and gave me opportunities for learning. Networking also became important as I grew in my career. Most of my jobs came as a result of a recommendation from a colleague in the industry who worked alongside me in one form or another. Along with mentoring came a lot of hard work, and many learning moments, but the hard work led to more opportunities along the way.

Was there an “aha” moment for you, when you realized the impact of the difference you’re making?

Recently when an industry colleague thanked me for being a “champion for pharmacy,” I realized that being passionate about what I do is visible to others. I am not a pharmacist, but I have worked in the business of pharmacy for my entire career, and I am passionate about the pharmacist being an important part of a patient’s circle of care. The fact that I was even asked to do something like this is a testament to advocacy for women in leadership roles within the industry.

As a leader in pharmacy, what continues to drive you?

The shifts in the healthcare ecosystem are what I have been training for during my entire career. There has never been a more dynamic time in healthcare, and pharmacy is perfectly situated to support the gaps that were exposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. What drives me specifically is patient care. We need a system that functions well and supports health and wellbeing. My days are focused on how best to impact patient care within our current system, what the future may look like for the patient journey and how to ensure patients don’t get left behind with any of their medication needs, or connectivity with an HCP.

Do you feel there is a glass ceiling for women in pharmacy?

If you had asked me this question even 5 years ago, I would have said “yes.” Today, as I’ve grown in my career I would say “sometimes.” There is an element of women not being supported at the most senior levels within some organizations, but if I look at my career specifically, I have also chosen to not take on some very senior roles. It simply wasn’t the right time for me, in some cases. The fact that I have had opportunities suggests to me that the glass ceiling is diminishing because of efforts of women in the industry speaking about it. Could there be more opportunities? Yes, definitely, and that needs to be called out on a regular basis.

What do you think needs to happen to have more women in executive roles across various sectors in the profession?

I believe women need to become larger advocates for themselves, and women in general. Seek out opportunities that are outside of your existing box. Put yourself in leadership situations. Join a board of directors, or an industry committee. You do not have to know everything to begin down this road (and you probably know more than you give yourself credit for). Network, network, network because you will be surprised at who comes out to support you in your journey. Stop thinking you’re not ready. And support your fellow women in your life and workplace. We can bring each other up and help each other succeed. But you will also find that your male counterparts will support you as well. In many cases, we need to tell our male colleagues what we need support with, and how they can support the women in their lives and workplaces as well. Ask for what it is that you want and apply for that job.

What advice would you give to new female pharmacy graduates?

You can and will make a difference in people’s lives. There is an entire industry behind you supporting you, and if you keep the patient at the centre of what you do, you can never go wrong.

 

 

 

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