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Young Leader in Pharmacy Odette Johnson: "I am driven to be a trailblazer in my field."

The one thing that I would like to accomplish in my career is to help create a pathway for pharmacy technicians to leverage their skills and experience so they too can attain positions in leadership.
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Chemical Laboratory Technologist


Seneca College 


Current role

Supervisor of Pharmacy Operations 

IV Admixture Business Unit 

Baxter CIVA

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

What continues to drive me forward in my career is an idea that was planted in my mind by two of the most sophisticated, cultured, intelligent and kind-hearted pharmacists that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They told me there are no ceilings. They would encourage me to go outside my comfort zone and challenge myself to take on projects I wasn’t sure I could handle. Each time I would succeed, it built a sense of confidence in myself that I didn’t know I was missing – or even needed. As time progressed, I was able to become my own motivating force. I am driven to be a trailblazer in my field, and hopefully provide the same encouragement to the future young leaders within my field. Thank you, Doris C and Livia B!

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

The one thing that I would like to accomplish in my career is to help create a pathway for pharmacy technicians to leverage their skills and experience so they too can attain positions in leadership. In the early stages of my career in pharmacy, the designation of RPhT was primarily associated with community pharmacy, and patient-facing roles, the pinnacle of success being an RPhT role in an inpatient setting. That has changed so much over the years. Pharmacy and the scope of practice of technicians have expanded considerably, opening opportunities in niche markets within the pharmacy industry. I want pharmacy technicians to be aware of all the different opportunities available to them and consider focusing on the different specialties that would benefit from their knowledge and hands on experience.

What advice would you give to new pharmacy graduates?

Perspective is everything. Try to look at every situation as an opportunity for growth and development. Looking back on some of the roles I’ve held at the beginning of my career, I was faced with many challenges that could have made me rethink my career path. Rather than quit, or place blame for the less-than-optimal work environment; I had to reassess my thought process. I embraced those difficult situations and used them to reinforce my current skill set, and build my knowledge base. In hindsight, I now realize that those difficult situations are what developed me and prepared me for the amazing career opportunities in leadership that opened up for me in the latter part of my career.

How would you describe a great day at work?

As much as I love perfectly planned days that go smoothly without hiccups, that isn’t necessarily a realistic expectation working in pharmacy. Instead, I choose to measure daily success by my ability to pivot when unexpected circumstances present themselves – which happens often. The key is to identify the current challenge, seek guidance from subject matter experts, and ultimately use that information to create a strategy that will improve the current situation, or eliminate the challenge all together. It’s in these moments of overcoming adversity that I feel most accomplished. I consider that a great day!

How important is mentoring in your career?

Mentoring is one of the most important factors in my career, and all the success I have achieved thus far. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most dynamic, skilled, and influential leaders within the healthcare industry. Not only have they demonstrated expertise in their respective roles, but they are the personification of what it means to be an effective people leader. I have a network of healthcare professionals that are always willing to provide support, constructive feedback and unlimited networking opportunities that aid in both my personal and professional development, and for that I am eternally grateful.



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