Pharmpreneur of the Week Anna Patrizio: "Your only limitation is your imagination!"
What excites me the most about entrepreneurship are the endless possibilities that come along with it. As a community pharmacy owner, and with our expanded scope of practice, there is so much room in increasing the value of our professional work through creating niches, specialties and services.
By Pharmacy U
Annaflor (Anna) Feliprada – Patrizio, R.Ph.
B.Sc. Pharmacy, Centro Escolar University, Philippines
International Pharmacy Graduate Program, University of Toronto
Community Pharmacist | Entrepreneur | Agriculture Advocate
Schomberg Village Pharmacy
Ang Báye Sa Agri (A Woman in Agriculture) Program
What excites you about being an entrepreneur?
What excites me the most about entrepreneurship are the endless possibilities that come along with it. As a community pharmacy owner, and with our expanded scope of practice, there is so much room in increasing the value of our professional work through creating niches, specialties and services. Your only limitation is your imagination!
How has your entrepreneurial career evolved since your graduation?
I grew up in a family of drugstore and farm business owners in the Philippines. I knew how to work a cash register at the age of 12. I saw how hard my parents worked and I shied away from business. When I moved to Canada, I spent my early pharmacist career in a corporate environment for 14 years but really grew tired of the lack of flexibility for individual growth, creativity and engagement despite being in management. I finally realized I am more than ready to be an entrepreneur. With so much support from my spouse, family and friends, I took a leap!
Two of the main differences from when I graduated pharmacy school and today are: one, the internet, and two, the expanded scope of practice. Having these two major changes made pharmacy ownership much more complex but ultimately rewarding the same time.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I was out to prove myself. In everything I do and it includes entrepreneurship, my goal is to do my absolute best with the task at hand. Transitioning to ownership, I had doubters out there, but that fuelled me to establish a solid name for myself. I wanted to also break my own barrier of self-doubt.
How do you define success?
I am in a point of my life that success means significance. I realized that I was moving from success to significance in my own career when my daily activities were becoming more and more purpose driven. My priorities are shifting to focus away from what is good for me to what is good “collectively.” I continue to draw inspiration from great minds and ideas. I have also come to appreciate the invaluable gift of being surrounded by people with diverse thoughts and experiences.
As a successful entrepreneur, what continues to drive you?
What continues to drive me now is knowing how thriving entrepreneurship is a vehicle to positive social change. I heard recently from Tareq Hadhad (CEO, Peace by Chocolate) that “if you want to change the world, be an entrepreneur.” That made perfect sense to me. Being a business owner and a healthcare provider successfully navigating the pandemic, I received the recognition as one of the Most Influential Filipina Women in the World for 2022. With this platform, I am able to amplify my voice, my story and my journey. I am now able to reach other women, racialized communities, fellow immigrants, youth and now the agriculture community. I am able to provide insights, ideas, resources, network and hopefully inspiration as well. It is truly comforting that one is not alone in their aspirations whatever it may be because there is a community rallying for you.
What are the biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur?
Falling into the trap of staying just “operational.” Running a business is a lot of work and there’s a tendency to step back especially if money is being made. Taking a break is definitely needed. But remind yourself of that same intensity or spark that made you take this entrepreneur leap. Use that same spark to continue to seek innovation and keep feeding the growth mindset.
How do you manage work/life balance?
This is tricky, as work or life easily gets in the way. By prioritizing self-care and family time, it creates the boundaries that are needed to create that balance. It will never be perfect, I find, but like other things, it is a conscious effort.
What advice would you give to colleagues who want to become entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is a skill which like other activities, needs constant practice. Be open to learning and to not get discouraged with failure. The most positive aspect of ownership for me is appreciating how perfectly capable I am as a woman and as a woman of colour. It is surprising how much I learn about myself by owning a business. We seldom give ourselves the credit for our hard work with the fear of being accused of being self-absorbed. With all the work that goes to opening a small business and staying open especially the last three years and on top of the economic uncertainties, I say, we don’t celebrate enough! As of 2021, small and medium sized businesses made up 98% of employer businesses in Canada. Running a community pharmacy contributes not only to individual health but drives this economy.