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Pharmpreneur of the week Marwah Younis: "I am fuelled by a deep passion for community health."

I am fuelled by a deep passion for community health, recognizing its pivotal role as the root cause of the challenges that are overwhelming hospitals. I’m also driven by my frustration with a flawed system that demands reform. As a result, I am dedicated to advocating for the significance of community pharmacy practice and the integral role of pharmacists in bridging the expanding gap in primary care.
Marwah Younis


Education: University of Toronto, Bachelor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Pharmacy, eMBA Rotman

Title: Founder and CEO, Agate MedCare, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Seamless Care Pharmacy, Principal Advisor, EAPOC.  

What excites you about being an entrepreneur?

What excites me about being an entrepreneur is that I get to build what I imagine. I get to work with people I admire, I get to solve the problems that are meaningful to me, and I get to rise or fall based on my efforts.

How has your entrepreneurial career evolved since your graduation?

I was probably more of an accidental entrepreneur when I first started. I was put in a position where I had to take control or step back, and I chose to take control. In the beginning I was a lot more timid, not sure that I had the right to dream as big as I did or to be sitting at the tables I was sitting at. After a lot of work, and many trials and tribulations, I'm at a point where I'm self-aware enough to have confidence in my abilities, humble enough to know that if I don't know something, I can just ask, and privileged enough to have a network of brilliant people who I can access as resources. While I believe that I’m always a work in progress, I’m at a point where I feel I can achieve anything I decide is worth pursuing.  

How do you define success?

Answering this question is challenging because I often find that one of the pitfalls of being an entrepreneur is the elusive nature of success. In the past, I used to define success by setting specific goals to achieve, but, looking back, I was constantly changing the goalposts. Whenever I achieved a goal, I would convince myself that it wasn't challenging enough, and I should have aimed higher, which left me in a perpetual state of disappointment, feeling like I hadn't accomplished much at all. I have since shifted my perspective and now define success by how much joy I derive from the journey itself. Do I wake up excited to work on meaningful projects? Do I enjoy the people I collaborate with? Am I able to choose the work I engage in? Am I being challenged and experiencing personal growth? I learned some difficult lessons along the way, realizing that defining success solely based on isolated milestones or individual goals leads to constant struggle and a persistent sense of failure, causing us to forget to appreciate the journey. Once I recognized that genuine success lies in enjoying both the life and career journey, every day became a source of excitement... almost.

As a successful entrepreneur, what continues to drive you? 

I believe in being driven by purpose. I have a vision of the future and a strong belief in the need for meaningful change. Throughout my career, my focus has been on empowering underserved populations and sectors. I am fueled by a deep passion for community health, recognizing its pivotal role as the root cause of the challenges that are overwhelming hospitals. I’m also driven by my frustration with a flawed system that demands reform. As a result, I am dedicated to advocating for the significance of community pharmacy practice and the integral role of pharmacists in bridging the expanding gap in primary care. Where others see no path forward, I see opportunity.

What are the biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur?

The biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome are my own self-limiting beliefs and the limiting beliefs that others have tried to impose on me. It’s important to recognize that others' limitations and doubts are often reflections of their own fears and insecurities, not a reflection of your potential. To avoid being influenced by their negativity, cultivate self-awareness and belief in your abilities. Surround yourself with positive influences and a supportive network that uplifts and encourages you. Seek inspiration from those who have overcome adversity and achieved great things. Embrace a growth mindset and continually challenge any self-limiting beliefs that may arise within yourself.  

I’ve also learned the importance of seeking advice and feedback from individuals who understand my goals and aspirations, and who have the knowledge and experience to provide meaningful insights. Remember, constructive feedback can help strengthen your conviction, challenge your assumptions, and refine your approach.

How do you manage work/life balance?

As an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning of your journey, your work is your life and your life revolves around your work, and this is what people need to understand before jumping into this life. It sounds great to ‘be your own boss’, ‘make your own rules’, but it also means that you’re the person accountable for EVERYTHING at the end of the day. You go to bed at night wondering if your business is going to make it. Your emotions and your life revolve around how well your business is doing. When I was building my first business, I definitely had a lot less balance. Now, almost 20 years into my career, I’m at a place where my business is self-sustaining, I’m embarking on the challenge of building new businesses, but I’m also in a privileged position to be picky with my time. I also happen to love what I do. So, when I’m travelling for conferences to build my knowledge and capacity, or networking with prospective clients and partners, or staying up at night building my strategy, that, to me, is one of the joys of life… I’ve always believed that life is what you make it.  

What books/resources do you recommend for every entrepreneur to check-out?

My greatest resources are the brilliant people in my network. Surround yourself with people you admire, respect, and share a passion and a vision with. Learn from their life and career journeys. 

For books, usually my reading changes depending on what I’m focused on. Here are a few of my recent favourites.

General business and life books I refer to often:

Designing your life – Bill Burnet & Dave Evans

Building a Story Brand – Donald Miller

Business Model Generation handbook – Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

Since I’ve been interested in succession planning and exit strategies lately, I’ve also enjoyed these books:

The Private Equity Playbook – Adam Coffey

The Pharmacist’s Guide to Selling their Business – Max Beairsto and Mike Jaczko

What advice would you give to colleagues who want to become entrepreneurs?

Branding – Always remember, YOU are a brand! In this digital world, everything you put out there is part of your brand. Your brand is more than just a logo or a catchy tagline; it encompasses the perception, values, and emotions associated with your business or personal identity. A strong brand can differentiate an entrepreneur's venture from competitors, create recognition and trust among customers, and foster a loyal customer base. It allows you to communicate your unique story, values, and offerings in a way that resonates with your target audience. Taking ownership of your brand ensures that you have control over the narrative and can shape the impression you want to make in the minds of your customers, clients, and stakeholders. Be intentional about it!

Service – As an entrepreneur you are in constant service to your customers, your employees, your network, and your brand. By going above and beyond to deliver remarkable experiences for your customers, you inspire unwavering loyalty and forge lasting connections. Your aim is to deliver extraordinary value, and by constantly surpassing their expectations, you create a legion of brand advocates and unstoppable momentum. Empowering your employees with a supportive culture and boundless opportunities ignites their passion and fuels their growth, resulting in a team of unstoppable superstars who care about your business as much as you do. Cultivating your network with genuine care and unwavering support unlocks a world of endless possibilities and collaborative partnerships. Remember, your brand is the heartbeat of your enterprise, and by remaining steadfast in its service, you build a reputation that sets you apart. Always aim for excellence. 

Growth - Embracing personal, professional, and business growth as an entrepreneur is vital for sustained success. The moment you become complacent, you risk someone else captivating your customers. You must always be future-focused, anticipating market trends and evolving customer needs. Your relationship with your customer is just like any other relationship you need to cultivate. If you don't show loyalty to your customers by consistently delivering exceptional value, you cannot expect them to remain loyal to you. Embrace a mindset of continuous improvement, relentless innovation, and unwavering dedication to providing the best possible experience. By staying ahead of your competitors, challenging the status quo, and pursuing growth relentlessly, you will not only retain your customers' loyalty but also attract new ones who are seeking excellence.

Network – One of my core values is building meaningful connections. It’s the driving force behind everything I do. I see my network as a community. By cultivating relationships with individuals whom I admire, who think differently but share similar passions, I’m emersed in an ecosystem of knowledge-sharing and collaboration. This network becomes a constant source of learning, inspiration, and fresh perspectives. Remember that you’re in constant service to your network; bring value, be supportive, and put in a lot more than what you hope to get out.

Lastly, BE CUSTOMER OBSESSED! Walk in their shoes, understand their journey, speak their language. Only then will you truly comprehend the problems they’re trying to solve and give them solutions that continue to resonate. 

Stay obsessed, my friends!


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