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Pharmacy Leader Barbara De Angelis: "Pharmacy is constantly changing, so there is never a dull moment."

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Senior Director of Professional Affairs at Rexall



BScPhm, University of Toronto

Hospital Pharmacy Residency, Mount Sinai Hospital

Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist 2007-2020

Current Role

Senior Director, Professional Affairs, Rexall


What excites you about being a pharmacist?

Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to provide care because we work in an accessible, dynamic environment. Look at how we pivoted to provide COVID-19 vaccines! We remained available throughout the pandemic, even during the early days when access to healthcare professionals was limited due to government restrictions put in place to curb COVID-19. Pharmacy is constantly changing, so there is never a dull moment. I am humbled and honoured to have been able to help patients and fellow pharmacists to be the best they can be. 

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

I thought I would be working in a hospital for the rest of my career! 

I started by completing a Hospital Pharmacy Residency at Mount Sinai Hospital, then worked at Sick Kids. Within just a couple of years, I realized I really enjoyed working in retail and spent most of my career there. 

 How has your career evolved since you first started in the profession?

Once I moved to retail, I had the opportunity to learn about geriatric pharmacy and completed a certificate program. Working in long term care and retirement homes was my passion for many years. I had the opportunity to lead the LTC clinical pharmacist team at Rexall, where I also learned about the various regulatory environments across Canada. This now helps me in my current role leading the Professional Affairs team.

How would you describe a great day at work?

My greatest joy is watching my teammates develop and grow. When they achieve a goal, I feel like a proud mom! 

What is (or has been) your greatest challenge as a leader in pharmacy?

In my early career, women were new to leadership. We were definitely not represented in senior leadership. We have made great strides, even in the last 5 years, in understanding that diverse teams are more successful. I am very thankful for the progress that has been made, while recognizing that there are still many opportunities for improvement.

How important was mentoring in your career?

It wasn’t until later in my career that I found a mentor, and almost immediately my career path changed. Having someone believe in you, teach you, and value your opinions makes all the difference.

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

It has happened a few times. One time in particular stands out. A mom visited me about a month after I spoke with her regarding her child. She made a special trip to thank me and told me that, after more than a year of being sick, her child was finally well because of the advice I had given her.  

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

We see it happening now, and that is increased flexibility in the workplace. Since women are the traditional caregivers, giving them the flexibility to work around caregiving needs allows them to fully participate in their careers. We have learned from the pandemic that many of our working environments simply did not support caregivers.

The other thing I see happening is that men are participating more in caregiving, which is wonderful. Sharing these responsibilities allows women more freedom to choose career paths that may not have been available to them in the past.

Of course, changing attitudes about diversity, equity, and inclusion have been instrumental in providing women increased opportunities in leadership. 

What advice would you give to new female pharmacy graduates?

You graduated because you are capable and intelligent. Repeat that to yourself often.


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