Young Leader in Pharmacy Chris Shin: "Young pharmacists continue to challenge the status quo."

Many young leaders think outside the box.
Chris Shin



PharmD, University of Waterloo

Current role:

Director, Pharmacy Services at Shoppers Drug Mart

Part-time Pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart

What excites you about being a pharmacist?

Pharmacists possess unique knowledge, perspective and a role to impact the lives of patients and the community. Community pharmacy, in particular, excites me, as community pharmacists have an opportunity to support patients and their caregivers through various aspects of their health or pre-health journey for acute, chronic, and preventive care needs. The pandemic, while it has been a tough time for pharmacists and pharmacy teams, has fundamentally changed how Canadians view and interact with pharmacies. I'm excited to be a part of the rapidly evolving profession as we continue to provide additional and indispensable value to the well-being of Canadians.

When you graduated, what did you envision for your future?

I was fortunate to have excellent mentors and co-op experiences that helped me shape what I envisioned for my future when I graduated. I knew I wanted to play a role within the profession that supported the big picture but didn't want to be too far removed from those the work impacts - the patients.

How would you describe a great day at work?

A great day at work for me is when I hear feedback from pharmacy teams that they were able to leverage the programs and tools developed by my team to deliver excellent patient care.

How important is mentoring in your career?

Mentoring is very important to me. I strongly believe no one got to where they are independently – someone, somewhere down the road took a chance on them to give them an opportunity. I know I was fortunate to have many managers, colleagues and mentors give me that chance to achieve what I have achieved so far. I strive to provide that same opportunity to other developing leaders in the profession.

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

I had a fairly early "aha" moment – during my final co-op term. At McKesson Retail Banner Group, I was responsible for developing resources and contacting independent pharmacy owners to motivate and support them to participate in the influenza vaccination program. I distinctly remember speaking with one pharmacy owner who was reluctant to participate because they couldn't figure out how to meet the cold-chain requirements set out by the ministry. I was able to walk the pharmacy owner through the process and requirements and they agreed to participate that year, for the first time. Through this experience, I learned there are ways to make a difference in the lives of patients outside of direct patient care – through supporting pharmacy teams in delivering care.

As a dynamic leader in the profession, what continues to drive you?

Collaborating with outstanding colleagues and supporting pharmacy teams in helping Canadians access convenient, high-quality health-care services continues to drive me.

How are young leaders paving the way for changes in the pharmacy profession?

Many young leaders think outside the box. Many come out of school focused not only on what the role of pharmacists is today, but what value pharmacists can provide in various sectors such as community, industry, government, technology and global health, leveraging the knowledge and perspective of a pharmacist. They continue to challenge the status quo and improve upon the already diverse roles pharmacists play in various industries. 

What advice would you give to new pharmacy graduates?

Discover what excites you. Be self-aware and know what you want in your career. I hear countless new pharmacy graduates say, "I am going into X because I don't like Y." Instead, find what you enjoy and adopt the mindset of, "I am going into X because I love X." Once you find what drives you, there are many mentors and colleagues in the industry who are happy to help you get there – but first, you need to find and be able to articulate what you want.