Skip to main content

Young Leader in Pharmacy Joella Wang: "I am very proud of being a pharmacist."




PharmD, University of Toronto

B.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Genetics, McMaster University 

Current and past roles

Consultant, Digital Health Transformation at KPMG

Part-time community pharmacist 

Previous Professional Affairs Pharmacist at Ontario Pharmacists Association and Strategic Policy Intern at the Ontario College of Pharmacists

What excites you about being a pharmacist?

Making contributions to the healthcare system and providing quality patient care excite me. Being a pharmacist gives me a perspective of a frontline healthcare provider, which is invaluable for my current and past positions at different organizations. In addition, my pharmacy experience also taught me how to be resilient and flexible during the most challenging times. I am very proud of being a pharmacist. 

How has your career evolved since your graduation?

My career has changed immensely since graduation. For all the years during and before pharmacy school, I had a strong passion for community pharmacy, and providing direct patient care in a community pharmacy was my biggest dream. However, as I was doing my fourth-year pharmacy school rotations, I started to get exposed to what pharmacists could do in different settings. Compounded by the quickly changing healthcare landscape, it sparked my interest in policymaking, system redesign, and advocacy work. 

While maintaining my practice in pharmacy, I started to embark on my journey in different organizations, such as the Ontario College of Pharmacists and Ontario Pharmacists Association. I have learned and grown a lot by working with many leaders in the profession and participating in the development and rollout of many impactful programs, such as the COVID-19 vaccination program. I recently took the role of digital health transformation consultant to explore virtual care practice and workforce optimization. 

If you can accomplish just one thing in your career, what would it be?

There are many things that I want to accomplish in my career – advocating for an economically sustainable health system, making the practice environment safer not only for patients but also for healthcare providers, increasing healthcare access. However, if I could choose only one thing, I would like to improve the healthcare system by leveraging the full potential of technology and optimized workflow.

As a dynamic leader in the profession, what continues to drive you?

Providing improvements in the healthcare system and patient care has been the most significant driving force behind my endeavours. Working in different environments such as research, community pharmacies, regulatory, and advocacy organizations, I found delivering meaningful work in the healthcare practice most motivating.

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

I think the world of pharmacy is relatively open to the idea of young leaders. Many of my peers and classmates took leadership and management roles in different work settings and made remarkable achievements. 

One thing that young leaders excel at is that we are very vocal with our opinions, which is a critical component that paves the way for changes. As the pandemic has brought lots of opportunities to healthcare, it also stressed the system and posed many challenges – professional burnouts, overworked staff, underfunded programs, as well as the need to expand the scope of practice. I think young leaders have a genuine curiosity to understand why things are done in a certain way and have a strong desire to make changes if it doesn’t make sense – and we are not shy about sharing our thoughts.

The profession used to be portrayed as “conservative” or “predictable,” and I am sure all pharmacy professionals could agree that it is not the case anymore. Many young leaders embrace new changes and are excited about changes. In addition, many pharmacy professionals started to explore other non-direct patient care settings, such as pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, government organizations, and making impacts in the profession from different perspectives. With enthusiasm and creativity, I believe young leaders have the full potential to deliver positive changes to the profession.

What advice would you give to new pharmacy graduates?

I still consider myself a recent pharmacy graduate and would love to share my thoughts with my peers:

  • Stay curious and keep exploring. I had not imagined my career path would unfold this way when I was a student (nor did I ever imagine that I would graduate during a pandemic), but it has been a rewarding and exciting journey.
  • Believe in yourself. Many new graduates are not confident or unsure what we could bring to the table, but advanced education and training have equipped us with not only clinical knowledge, but many other transferrable skills. You are special, smart, and competent. You deserve all the opportunities.



This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds