Skip to main content

Young Leader in Pharmacy Allison Tario: "Young leaders are not afraid to challenge the status quo."

Young leaders are not afraid to challenge the status quo and ask the question: “Could this be done differently?” Just because something has “always been done this way” doesn’t mean it is the best approach moving forward.
Allison Tario


Education: BSc Biology – Wilfrid Laurier University, 2010, BScPhm – University of Waterloo, 2014, PharmD – University of Waterloo, 2018

Current roles:

Pharmacist at Roulston’s Pharmacy in Norfolk County, Ont., with a focus on compounding and clinical services. Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Waterloo, teaching professional practice and communications courses and directing the new Women in Pharmacy Leadership Program

 What excites you about being a pharmacist?

The opportunity to be one of the helpers in our communities; looking out for our patients and keeping our people healthy is something that excites me. On a bigger scale, the profession of pharmacy has endless opportunities for learning new things, so it’s a career that is never stagnant. The role of the pharmacist in the Canadian healthcare system is evolving and growing, and we have so much to contribute.

How has your career evolved since your graduation?

When I was younger, I wanted to be a high school teacher. I thought that was my path, until I opted to pursue being a pharmacist when I was doing my undergraduate degree. When I first graduated and started working as a pharmacist, it struck me that pharmacists are teachers of our patients in many ways! Now, I’ve been fortunate to be able to return to the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy as a teacher of future pharmacists. It was not something I had set out to do from the early days of my career, but the move to more teaching has been very rewarding and exciting for me.

How would you describe a great day at work?

I really enjoy the impact that compounding can have on patient care, and it has been a source of several “great days” at work. Compounding products that don’t otherwise exist is a unique way to fill a gap for patients. The ability to create something that is personalized for them and their specific needs is special. The amount of time and effort that goes into researching, assessing risk and formulating compounded products is no small task but the outcome for patients is always worth it. Projects in this area make my days great in two ways: I get to exercise the “chemistry-focused” side of my pharmacist brain when developing formulations, and I get to make a positive impact on a patient’s care.

How important is mentoring in your career?

Mentorship is powerful. I’ve had several mentors in my life who have been instrumental in defining my values and reaching my goals. I am the pharmacist I am today in large part because of the mentors I’ve had along the way. This was a big focus of developing the Women in Pharmacy Leadership program at UW. There is a well-established gender gap in pharmacy leadership and the role of a good mentor in supporting women in achieving their leadership goals is crucial. That’s why one of our first initiatives was establishing an Alumni Mentorship Program, where we match highly motivated female alumni with mentors who we hope will help them on their leadership journeys.

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

Young leaders are not afraid to challenge the status quo and ask the question “Could this be done differently?” Just because something has “always been done this way” doesn’t mean it is the best approach moving forward. 

What advice would you give to new pharmacy graduates?

  1. Recognize and respect the privilege you have been given to be a pharmacist. With this role comes a great amount of responsibility, and this is first and foremost to your patients. Lead with this in your mind, always.
  2. Go rural! There is such a need for new pharmacists in rural areas across Canada. While it comes with unique challenges compared to working in a large metropolitan area, the impact that you can have on your communities is big.
  3. Make time for things that “fill your cup,” in whatever way serves you, to keep you energized and motivated. Working in health care (especially during a pandemic) can be very draining some days, but finding those joys helps to make the challenges easier to navigate.



This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds