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Pharmacy Leader Lindsay Mildenberger: "My favourite part of pharmacy is watching passion ignite in fellow pharmacy colleagues."

Bessy Argyraki posing for the camera
Lindsay Mildenberger is Manager, Pharmacy Advocacy, for Sobeys National Pharmacy Group




Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, University of Saskatchewan

Master of Health Administration, University of Regina


Current role

Manager, Pharmacy Advocacy, Sobeys National Pharmacy Group



How would you describe a great day at work?


My favourite part of pharmacy is watching passion ignite in fellow pharmacy colleagues. Each day comes with a variety of challenges and no two days are alike. It takes a lot of prioritization and organization to get everything done. Sometimes we forget to step back and look at the differences we are making. The best days at work are when we take the time to remember exactly why we are here. It could be a patient reaching out to tell us about how we helped. It could be working closely with another healthcare professional to align on a new approach to treating a patient. Or it could be watching a new intern give their first injection. But whatever “it” is, it’s that moment when you see the smile brighten up the face of your colleague. That moment when you see their passion for pharmacy ignite right in front of you. Those are the days that I live for. That’s a great day at work. 


What has been your greatest challenge as a leader in pharmacy?


Healthcare is in constant change and the pace of change in pharmacy seems to be accelerating. As we continue to advocate for additions to our scope of practice, it is important to ensure that we are embracing all the opportunities that come our way. Our pioneers or champions are inspired by change and will jump in with both feet while our late adopters may need additional training or motivation. My greatest challenge has been to work with all types of healthcare professionals and to find resources and training opportunities to meet everyone’s needs. Ultimately, everyone’s goal is to be the best healthcare professional that they can be.  My challenge is to step into their shoes and ensure that they have the resources that they need to excel.


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


When I first started as a manager, I believed that managing was telling people what to do and having them listen to you. Unfortunately, this was a very naïve approach. As I continued to learn and grow as a manager, I began to recognize the differences between being a manager and being a leader. I could continue to tell people what to do or I could inspire and motivate them to want to work towards a common goal. If you can find someone’s passion and lead from there, it allows for greater job satisfaction and personal motivation. My “aha” moment was when I started to see this change in my pharmacy management team as well. I saw them embrace their own leadership styles and work to motivate their teams. Watching them lead brings me great joy.


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


The differences in scope of practice from when I started in this profession compared to now continues to amaze me. I could never have imagined the changes that have happened so far and can only dream about where the profession will take us. I want to be able to participate in carving out where we are headed. The opportunities in healthcare are endless. I am excited to play an active role in moving forward and discovering our next opportunity to truly make a difference. I think we are in a place where we see immense differences even within our Canadian provinces. Now is the time to look at what our pharmacists can truly do and bring them to the forefront. If there is anything bright at all about the pandemic, it has been that pharmacy has had new opportunities for patient care. It is important that we assess and maintain the opportunities that have allowed us to improve patient care in Canada.


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


There seems to be more focus than ever to have equal representation at the table. But even if we get there, we can’t just check that box and move on. It is important to address the barriers that prevented equal representation to occur naturally. When I started as a pharmacy district manager in 2012, I was a mom of two young children. Having the opportunity to work from home with a flexible schedule allowed me to move forward with my career while still being the parent that I wanted to be. I think mentorship is really important. It is difficult to imagine yourself in an executive role if there are no other women in these positions. A review of unconscious bias by both leadership and anyone in recruiting is crucial. And we need to create a culture that values and respects individual differences. There’s a lot of work to do, but people are starting to have these conversations. And that’s a really great place to start.



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