Skip to main content

From owner to employee: one pharmacist's journey

After 35 years as a pharmacy owner, and at 58 years old, my career journey took me on a new path in December 2021 when Sandstone Pharmacies (which I co-founded) sold to Neighbourly Pharmacy. Reality hit home when I got my first payroll deposit as a Neighbourly employee on December 15th. I had become a working stiff.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m an independent pharmacist at heart, a UofA grad, a pharmacy advocate and some would say an entrepreneur. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about my professional pedigree, you can check me out on LinkedIn.

My series of postings on LinkedIn leading up to the Neighbourly transaction focused on some of my career challenges and successes. I was really surprised at how many people were following along while I mused about my past and future. Even more surprising was the message I received from Jane Auster of asking me if I’d like to continue sharing my story by blogging here. After reflecting on the request for a few days, I asked myself: “Who wouldn’t enjoy having an avenue to share a few old stories and to tell a few new ones?” When I finally replied to Jane, I asked her if she thought anyone would really care about my take. She tried to assure me that my career path is quite unique and that readers would be interested in where I go from here… So, Jane, I’ll try my best not to bore PharmacyU's readers.

In my LinkedIn post on the transaction date, November 30th, I was sharing a celebratory drink of Crown Royal with Chris Gardner, CEO of Neighbourly Pharmacy. It was around that time that Chris and I were trying to hammer out what my new role with Neighbourly would be. He wanted me to continue to be a leader in Alberta pharmacy in the advocacy work I do as a board member with RxA and in my work with pharmacy students, and he asked me to continue with some projects I had initiated with Sandstone. I’m sure I would win any contest for longest job title: Head of Alberta Pharmacy Strategy and Professional Affairs. I’ll be satisfied if I can continue to challenge myself to get better at what I do, to learn from the people I work with, and to deliver value to my new employer without ticking off too many of my new colleagues.

It’s with those goals that I started my new career on December 1st. I am charged with opening an infusion clinic in Calgary in February, preparing the Neighbourly locations for the next phase of the biosimilar initiative in Alberta (May 1st) and expanding the capacity of the Sandstone central fill location to take on the network’s pharmacies. I’m also currently mentoring a group of third year UofA PharmD students tasked with designing, planning and evaluating a new pharmacy service for a community pharmacy, and I’m precepting a fourth year UofA PharmD student in a non-patient care leadership/management rotation.

So, while I remain very busy professionally, I can already report to all of you that I don’t feel the same burden I was carrying when it was up to me to ensure the company was meeting bank covenants every quarter during the pandemic, and when I was responsible for overall operations, management and financial control of Sandstone’s business. I’m happy to leave that burden to @ChrisGardner.

I plan to blog about what’s keeping me busy in pharmacy today while sharing a few hard-fought lessons I learned while I was building Sandstone Pharmacies. I invite you to come along for the ride.

More Blog Posts in This Series

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds