Reflections from ACP's 4th annual Leadership Forum

In today’s ever-changing world, leadership skills are more important than ever.

At ACP's fourth annual Leadership Forum, held June 21-23 in Edmonton, pharmacist and pharmacy technician attendees were introduced to thought processes and skills to help them lead in a world of constant change – skills that ACP Council past president Taciana Pereira says are applicable in all areas of life. 

“As a profession, it is important to develop and nurture leaders. The ability to be a leader is in all of us,” said Taciana Pereira, Council Past-President. “The forum provides an opportunity for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to develop these leadership skills to benefit their own careers, to the communities where they practice or work, and for the pharmacy professions in Alberta.”

Learning with peers

Forum attendees were asked to complete a self-assessment on their personal strengths and values prior to the event. These insights helped form the basis for the forum’s on-site learning activities and group discussions. It was this peer-to-peer interaction that Jody Read, pharmacy technician and Technical Practice Lead with AHS, and others found motivating.

“Meeting and talking to peers across the province and finding out what they’re doing and how they’re doing things is always of interest to me,” said Jody. “I did love the fact that it was a smaller group of people in that room. Even though there were 25 people, it felt very one-on-one at times.”

Fayaz Rajabali, pharmacist, associate owner with Shoppers Drug Mart, and newly-elected ACP Councillor, agrees.

“The funny thing was that we all had different issues, but a lot of the common denominators were the same, and that was interesting for me to find out that a lot of it came down to simple things like communication, and execution, and buy-in.”

Committing to action

Participants were also asked to bring a leadership challenge or project they are currently facing or considering, and would commit to addressing beyond the forum.

“Pharmacy technicians are a very important part of the pharmacy team. That was part of my leadership challenge,” said Jody. “As a pharmacy technician leader, I find it compelling that a lot of technicians may say, ‘Oh, I’m just a pharmacy technician.’ We’re not just pharmacy technicians.”

For Fayaz, receiving guidance on how to move from learning into action was valuable.

“I’m a very practical person. Sometimes I go to these types of sessions and I don’t know if this is going to be, frankly, a waste of time or ‘kumbaya.’ But this session was interesting to learn about different strategies, how you facilitate or execute your leadership in your environment, and how to translate that into action,” said Fayaz. “One thing I was really impressed with was that the moderator said he would call us afterwards. This really holds you accountable.”

Circling back to the patient

Fayaz said one big takeaway he had was how pharmacy professionals can use leadership skills to make a difference in patient care.

“Pharmacists go to a lot of technical sessions in regards to practice, but there’s more to it. A lot of what was learned was about the patient,” he said. “We get hung up within the four walls of our mind, and we disconnect, but I thought the forum helped us focus on who is impacted.”

Jody echoed a similar sentiment.

“The more that we learn, and the more that we strive to be leaders, the more that we are going to help our team, and in turn – help our patients.”