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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Pharmacy Leadership Interviews


Mar 30, 2018

Allie Jo Shipman was a final year student pharmacist at Mercer University College of Pharmacy when I recorded this. She graduated from Mercer with a PharmD/MBA dual degree  She has been involved in pharmacy associations throughout pharmacy school, and she is was chair of the APhA-ASP Member Engagement Standing Committee and Secretary General for the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation. She earned an association residency but then a quarter of the way in, was hired full-time. 

Full Transcript:

welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy leaders podcast is a member of the pharmacy podcast network with interviews and advice from building your professional network brand and a purposeful second income from students residents and innovative professionals welcome to the pharmacy podcast network I'm your co-host Tony Guerra for the pharmacy future leaders podcast broadcasting from d-max and kane' campus connect with me on twitter at tony underscore pharmd or on youtube at tony PharmD where you can find over 700 pharmacy videos supporting my audio book memorizing pharmacology a new book how to pronounce drug names both available on Amazon today we're talking with Allie Jo Shipman a final-year student pharmacist at Mercer University College of Pharmacy she's currently in the Mercer PharmD MBA dual degree program and she'll graduate in May she's been involved with the pharmacy associations through pharmacy school and she's currently chaired the APHA ASP member engagement standing committee and secretary general for the international pharmaceutical Students Federation she plans to go into association management when she graduates welcome to the pharmacy podcast hey how are you good good I'm really excited to have you on you come highly recommended by the organization that kind of works with all 50 state organizations as well as the Georgia pharmacists Association of Georgia pharmacy Association sorry I was talking with North Carolina they call it North Carolina's Association of pharmacists and then it's the Georgia pharmacy Association right I just wanna make sure I get it right yes it's always fun to try to guess which way a state goes if it's pharmacist or pharmacy so yeah and I saw North Carolina actually has a technician association so they divided maybe they'll come together at another date or something like that but but let's hear a little bit about your leadership Road everyone's leadership Road is a little bit different tell us about your road to pharmacy school and what made you decide on pharmacy as a profession sure um so I think it first started with me growing up in a family of teachers and so I originally didn't want to do pharmacy I always grew up wanting to be a teacher but then in high school I found out that I really just loved chemistry and when I started looking at roles that could really kind of follow that love of chemistry I started remembering our local pharmacist our local compounding pharmacist that really helped my family a lot was somewhere that we always knew we could turn to and someone we always knew we could rely on and the worst times when your family's sick you always want to have someone there who understands and who's willing to help you she would compound medications for my brother when he couldn't swallow them and after my grandmother passed away I just remember something small that she used to do she would always stick a small bag of M&Ms in my grandfather's medicine bag that they would deliver over to him I'm just little things like that that I loved how she was able to really interact with patients and really help them not just with their medication needs but really with sort of those emotional ones that kind of go along with being sick as well and then in college I got to shadow a pharmacist who was also a certified diabetes educator I got to shadow her in a free medical clinic and that's kind of when I really got hooked on pharmacy and was seeing what all pharmacists could do for patients and how they really were the most accessible healthcare providers and that really stood out to me and was something that I wanted to do with my life okay well you made us I want to say surprise decision but you made an interesting decision I went to school in my home state and I went to the public College the University of Maryland in Maryland but you are at Mercer University in Georgia which is outside of your home state of South Carolina what made you make the move to a small liberal arts college so I'm a really logical planned-out kind of person I really like to look at everything I create spreadsheets for a lot of things I even had when I was applying to pharmacy schools I had this set of criteria that I wanted and since I did my undergrad at a small private liberal arts college I really I liked that sort of atmosphere and so that's one of was one of the criteria I was looking at when I looked at pharmacy schools but really just went through I knew I wanted to stay in the southeast and so I was looking at schools in the southeast and Mercer was one of the ones that kind of fit all my criteria and then when I visited there that's when I knew that that was where I should be and they also had the pharmd MBA program which was something I was interested in so that helped so tell me a little bit about this PharmD MBA because I'm seeing that a lot of students especially if they're interested in not necessarily non-clinical jobs but jobs that may result in certainly a management focus from Association focus or some kind of leadership focus and they're really liking the MBA not just because there's a good ROI on a right return on investment you get two degrees for the price of one but it seems like you get when I was talking to Nick Lawson I asked him about what are do you get to meet students that are not pharmacy students do you get to meet other business students maybe that have different ways of thinking because so can you tell me how these two degrees work in tandem at Mercer versus maybe the way they work at Campbell for him sure I'm not exactly sure how Campbell's program works but I know at Mercer the MBA classes that you take when you're in the PharmD mba program or evening classes and they have them split up their evening classes in eight-week sessions so really you just have an extra class or two throughout the semester that you are going to for your MBA the thing is is it's the evening MBA program is not just limited to pharmacy it's open to anyone in the atlanta area who's interested in their MBA and that's why they have the night classes is the idea of these working professionals who are trying to develop themselves further but they're working during the day during I guess normal school hours and so they had the evening classes so I did I did get a lot of interaction with people and I think that was really good with people who who don't necessarily have that healthcare that scientific mindset and that really helped broaden my way of thinking and looking at problems as well and so I really appreciated the opportunity to get to do that so tell me a little bit about quality of life so my wife went to Drake University so a smaller liberal arts college but in Des Moines which is the largest city in the state of Iowa I went to graduate campus of five thousand in the larger Baltimore area so about a million people what's the advantage of being right next to Atlanta and you're not right next to it but you're pretty darn close yeah we're well we're in the perimeter so I guess technically we are in Atlanta but I think it's it's a really good opportunity for networking it's a really good opportunity for connections any kind of practice area really that you could want to go into there's a good chance you can find someone in the Atlanta area who can help you out with that and so being in that atmosphere is really cool the good thing about Mercer's campus is when you're on campus you don't feel like you're in Atlanta but you know that you can drive a couple minutes down the road get on you know I 85 or to 85 and be anywhere within the perimeter and 15 to 20 minutes or longer if it's rush hour but sure but it's it's a good combination of they did a good job with the campus of it being in Atlanta and so you have all the benefits that come with being in that large city and all the opportunities that come with that but when you're actually on campus it does feel more like a small private liberal arts college no that's that's amazing I know there was a place in Baltimore we might go on Sunday afternoons and if you look just right it was there's actually a little beach there so it felt like you were on the beach you couldn't see the city you couldn't see any nice yeah and we just really needed to get away some time so that was Sunday afternoon and then back to the library but yeah a couple hours where you know you were away and you felt like you're you've got the advantages of having this giant city and all the resources and job opportunities but you also get kind of the intimacy I think that comes along with being on a smaller campus do you feel like you'll be keeping in touch with your classmates my wife has continued to keep in touch with them even though she's coming on seven or eight years since she's graduated yeah I think so I think especially in pharmacy school with the workload and really going through that with the same group of people you kind of build these bonds that don't just go away when you graduate and so definitely keep up with people and being in the same profession you know you always hear the old cliche that pharmacy is a small world so I know I'll be running into these people throughout the rest of my professional career so yeah I agree Jenna Adams also echoed that that that was her kind of pearl that from a ACP that pharmacy small so just remember that you know be nice if you do leave something make sure you leave it well and things like that but let's talk a little bit about this association management that you're involved in tell me the difference first because not everyone might know the role of the Association and the role of the Board of Pharmacy and their scopes of practice and then maybe some crossover yeah I think the easiest way to explain it is Board of Pharmacy focuses on what you should be doing as a pharmacist to improve public health and patient care licensing rules regulations that sort of thing and and the Association looks more at what you could be doing there yeah so they're developing policy they're providing education for the pharmacists networking bringing legislation that sort of thing and so I think they have to work in tandem right you have to have them both of them you have to both be doing what you should be doing but also it's really important to kind of look to the future and so I think having associations help you look to the future and then board of pharmacies making sure you know what you're doing in the present and having them work together is really important now you said you came from a family of teachers and in terms of association management and going down to legislative areas I'm from Washington DC so we would sometimes go down to you know the national Senators or then we would you know go to our state senators in Maryland tell me a little bit about how teaching fits in we'll talk about your AP PE rotation in a second but tell me what it is to speak to a legislator or what is it that you're trying to get ready because it seems like it's the ultimate lesson plan to create an education initiative before the legislature when you're preparing for months to speak maybe to them for half an hour hour I don't know can you tell me a little bit more about that yeah I think it's it's actually very similar like what you said to teaching for teachers you really have to meet your students where they are and you also know that you have a finite time in which to do that your days are only so long the school years are only so long and you have to make sure they understand all of the information that's required for them to know and I think it's similar with legislators is you have to understand you have to do a little bit of background research you know see what their backgrounds are where they're coming from what they might already know or are you starting from scratch and you have to teach them you know everything about the pharmacy profession and what's happening with patient care and how pharmacists can impact that and then also knowing sometimes you can get a little bit longer with legislators but I know they're crazy busy running around going to different meetings doing everything and I think also understanding that you have to pick the most important things that they can remember because you might get only 10 to 15 minutes with them if you can get half an hour that's great an hour that's incredible but really it's you're typically going to get those 10 to 15 minute time blocks maybe even in between meetings so really trying to figure out what they know and what you need them to know on top of that it's helps prepare so it sounds like unification and we can talk about that in a little bit but being unified in your message before you even go down there so that having that legislative teaching in the morning to the people or the students that are going to go on legislative day and then actually talking to them in the afternoon well tell me a little bit about this rotation you were in Mercer does five weeks I know there's four there's five there's six does Mercer do five okay so eight is meditation tell us what you did on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis and tell us when you did the rotation because it is very different depending on when in the year you do it with an association exactly and that was gonna be one of the things that I pointed out was it really depends on what time of year that you're there and so I actually had the opportunity to do two electives Mercer gives you three electives and I got to do two of mine in association management one on the national and one on the state level and so when I was doing the one on the national level with APHA I was really that was when we were gearing up for our mid-year regional meetings and so it was a lot of meeting planning it was also right in the middle of the really membership recruitment season and so looking at all of that helping with membership and then when I was G PHA I was there really end of November into December and that was when we were getting ready on the state level for a legislative session because Georgia has a short session and so by March really all the legislative activity for Georgia of the main part is over and so really gearing up getting everything together and planned for Georgia for what we wanted to bring the crafting the message that we wanted to tell our legislators and that sort of thing was really more what I was involved in okay so you'll have a good grasp of what their legislative priorities you kind of have to decide them maybe a little bit earlier than some other states if you have to if you have such a short session now in Iowa I believe aboard elects our CEO for IPA the Iowa pharmacists Association who then creates her team and then that team moves things forward how does the Georgia pharmacy Association set their priorities for that legislative session deciding what they want to say and then educating the students on educating the Senators and Representatives they're right they really I guess starts with the members so they send out if you go way back to where everything starts it's you say send out the annual call to their members saying hey what are the issues what do you want us to focus on since we represent you what's most important to you and your practice in the state of Georgia and then from those responses we really have our VP of public policy and the CEO and the board of directors working on crafting figuring out what the top issues are and then crafting it from there to what the message is going to be given to the legislators okay so so the members give the information to the Association the association works with their group to make sure that they you know kind of solidify these priorities then the priorities come to funnel season and my my legislator educated me about funnel season where there's the season where you're just kind of seeing what's going in the funnel and what's not going to make it in the funnel and then comes the real battle which is what are we actually going to get through the legislature legislature and then how is your legislature set up now so we are Republican or Republican are you guys similar or are you guys more house divided right now Georgia is right now as Republican Republican which is not a surprise it's been that way for several years actually but that does make it easier in some aspects but it's also you have to remember that you want pharmacy legislation legislation to be bipartisan and so you can't just forget about the other senators of the other representatives who aren't Republican so really figuring out how do you how do you shape the message so that both Democrats and Republicans understand it and that they're not at odds with each other that it really is a bipartisan message yeah as part of that goes into it as well I think health care is one of those things where we're really trying to make it bipartisan and because it is the health of it's such an expense it's so important to the not only the members but the population of Georgia and we want it to be this bipartisan agreement well let's shift a little bit away from the kind of legislative section and go on to APHA there's going to be a national meeting in San Francisco there's a countdown timer on the website play devil's advocate a little bit here why would I go to San Francisco what am I going to get out of it if you know I'm a fourth-year student like you gosh that there's just so much that you could get out of it I guess because I've been every year in pharmacy school it's trying to pare it down in my head to the most important points like what we were talking about earlier but I think really the main thing with these meetings is all of the networking and connections that you can make you're gonna have pharmacists from all practice sites not just in your state or not just in your area that you might meet through your rotations but all over the country and there and even internationally as well I know last year you had students from the international pharmaceutical Students Federation so you had students from all over the world who were there as well so you really get that networking and connection in you get a lot of educational opportunities as well so if you're interested to see where pharmacy practice is going in really any setting you can think of there are a ton of educational opportunities you might not need the CPE credit but you can still sit in on the meetings and still learn so that's a great opportunity and then I think really just especially as a fourth year around that time you're getting close to the end of your rotations you want to connect with those friends that you've made in pharmacy school and so having fun as well getting to go to San Francisco it's a great location getting to go to San Francisco really spend time and enjoy those last few months as a student pharmacists kind of soaking in everything that you can and getting to spend time with those friends who either do go to your school of pharmacy or don't I know I have friends many pharmacy schools because of my involvement and Annual Meeting is one of those places where I get to see them every year so really reconnecting to old friends and peers that I've met throughout my time in pharmacy school no I have to agree with you I I've been to a number of APHA meetings and if I make it to this one I've submit you know I submit to my Dean and then my Dean tells me how much they'll pay but Sunday I think is the rock and roll half marathon or marathon and I know at least 13 or 14 pharmacy attendees are gonna go do that so that might be a neat way outside and you talk about having fun and and that's what it really is it's connecting but it's connecting after the nine-to-five the educational sessions tend to be you know 7:00 to 5:00 maybe but then afterwards there's always the meetings with in your state association or with in by state or by college and then there's a ton of a connection well there's something I don't know a lot about that was in your background which was the summer Leadership Institute APHA ASP how would somebody be selected and then I saw you had been there more than once so I'm just not familiar with the summer Leadership Institute can you tell me a little more about it sure um so the selection really happens on a chapter by chapter basis within APHA ASP so APHA ASP has a chapter at each school of pharmacy and it really depends on how that chapter wants to select their representative to go but I know it they also have alternate spots where schools of pharmacy can apply to send alternates and to send additional members as well and those are kind of accepted on a first-come first-served basis after the main spots are filled but it's really a great way to connect most the time it's chapter leaders and then you also have your your regional and your national officers within APHA ASP who are there as well but it's a great way to learn more about yourself as a leader they do a lot of like personal leadership development and then there's a lot of kind of leadership and management skills that really benefit the chapter leaders as they're going into this new role in this new year that they can really use to help guide their chapters I think one of the reasons I went multiple times was not just because of the different leadership positions I held but also because there's there's always a little bit different dynamic every year because you have a different group of people and so getting to meet those different people getting to see the the new wave or the new group of leaders coming up and getting to know people like I said getting more of that personal leadership development it's always fun to learn a little bit more about yourself and your leadership style so even though some of the messaging is the same from year to year and there is still a lot that changes especially the people and getting to know more the people there I think that's what's so satisfying about being in a teaching position is that you get to see a new group each year you get to watch them develop I only get to watch them for a year but I think that is part of you know kind of the draw to teaching but tell me a little bit about what you're going to do when you're done Mike I expect that there's an Excel spreadsheet somewhere in this question but you're graduating soon a PHAs new practitioners Network is out there how would that fit into your future or how are you kind of approaching the future with the possibilities that you've had as a national leader so I definitely want to stay involved in APHA and the State Association wherever I end up other national associations as well that I'm involved in and I think one of the great things about the APHA new practitioner Network that I'm really excited about is it kind of gives you that built-in network that you you when you graduate from pharmacy schools so throughout pharmacy school you you really just you're given that network you have that group of students that are taking all the same classes with you they know what you're going through because they're going through the same thing and then once you graduate it's kind of like you're on your own and you have all this stuff that you're trying to figure out you're trying to figure out most likely a life in a new city trying to figure out what to do with all this student loan debt that now you have to pay back and you're also trying to figure out life as a pharmacist not just learning and being an intern or an extern but actually now you're the one responsible and with that a lot of times I know a lot of new grads are finding themselves even a couple not even a couple of years out being asked to take over management positions and that sort of thing and it's it's this idea of what do I do who do I go to and I think a PHAs new practitioner Network kind of gives that network to you that says hey these are the people you can reach out to these are the people that are going through the same thing that you are they just graduated they are dealing with all the life changes that you are and it gives you that that connection again to people that you can talk to you can reach out to and I think it also kind of gives you a way to stay engaged in those associations that maybe you're still trying to figure out because from the student side and from the practicing professional side a lot of times associations can look very different and so really I like the transition that they give through the new practitioner Network to kind of help you over that bump in the road of this is what I did as a student and now I'm a practitioner how does this all fit together I remember having an emotional reaction and I remember doing this with somebody else who had graduated the same year I did and I think it was my sixth year out and new practice I think is zero to five if I remember right and we right now it is yes so we would we went and we realized we weren't gonna get that ribbon that year so we couldn't go to not just your social so he said Bing like so what do you want to do tonight kind of this really it was a really emotional thing for me because I had gone so many times and I'm just like oh alright I'm a six year senior I guess they don't want me you know and then my wife was a new practitioner and I was like yeah I'm back you know so I was excited to go back one time but just a weird caveat so but let me let me ask you a question that might be a bit tough for you to answer it was certainly tough for Nick Lawson from Campbell North Carolina Association of pharmacists to many people want to be a leader many people want to be recognized and you were tagged by the Georgia pharmacists Association CEO as the person that I would like to speak for us at the Association this year you've got to talk to Allie Jo so what do you think made you stand out that somebody else could maybe learn from so that they could stand out maybe next year or the year after that as as a leader who wants to be one I think you're right it is hard to figure out you know exactly why I was tagged as a leader but I think if I could kind of go with this question and what I look for in people when I'm looking to see if they're gonna be a leader if I could rely on them for things is more that they take initiative and this is something that I try to do is really to take initiative to learn and to solve problems and so being that person who says I recognize that this is an issue and let's try this method and if this method doesn't work say okay let's go back to the drawing board and take initiative to try this method or this solution so really instead of being bogged down in the fact that there is a problem I guess there will always be problems have to be solved really being a solutions minded person and I always I guess work to try to be a solutions minded person but also someone who tries to be more proactive than reactive and I think that's something that I've seen in a lot of people that I personally would call leaders are those people that again kind of are looking forward and saying okay what do we need to do now to prevent problems or to set us up for success in the future yeah these are the soft skills that people talk about I hate the term soft skills because it make it makes it sound like the person is soft when it's the exact opposite this is the exact person that you want because they're consistent and they are solutions minded okay this happened what are we gonna do and they're not busy griping and all these things and it also makes for a good ap PE student as well these kinds of initiatives is like oh that's really interesting you know what how can I take that further um would you consider that your blanket advice or do you have any blanket advice you might want to share with somebody that's kind of following you I think that's probably good blanket advice the only other thing that I really had was don't forget the big picture and I think it's really easy when you're in pharmacy school and you're bogged down in this test and that quiz and these drug cards you have to memorize to get stuck down in the small little details and forget why you're doing what you're doing to begin with and I think that's something especially at least for me that associations really helped with going to those meetings being a leader being on committees being involved getting to meet people who had crazy amazing ideas for the future of the profession and getting to talk to them so you you get more of that big picture it helps remind you why you're in pharmacy school why you're doing what you're doing it's not just about memorizing this and and you know understanding the clinical implications of that but really understanding how that all fits into the profession of pharmacy as a whole and how the profession of pharmacy can help improve healthcare and patient care so I think finding a way and for me associations were the best way to do that getting involved in association finding a way to not forget the big picture of why you are where you are right now I think especially when the National meeting is in a different time zone or different geographic region there was something about the first meeting I went to which was in Seattle that the environment was so different than back east that it just was you couldn't think all right well while I'm going up the Space Needle I'll have time let me just get through top 200 number 40 through 60 you just just doesn't happen so when somebody drops into San Francisco I imagine that there's going to be okay just just let that go just you know and then let's take some time off and catch up well I know people would want to contact you what is the way that you prefer to be contacted we can put that contact information in the show notes sure um email is always really good for me so Allie Jo Shipman at gmail.com it's a benefit of having a pretty unique name is I don't have to have any kind of weird gmail address well al Hawaii right so yes this one make sure we got that okay mm-hmm and Facebook is probably if you send me a message on Facebook really anyway if you somehow end up with my cell phone number from someone who knows me as well and you want to text me I'm not gonna freak out like if you want to get in touch with me because you have a question email and Facebook are generally the best ways to do it but if you find me on LinkedIn I'll answer that as well okay and then what's your best daily ritual to keep your work on track I expect that something from Microsoft Office will be here but maybe not I'm actually I'm actually a written person I love the actual physical planner I know I'm a list person as well and so I just started this thing we'll see how it goes but it's called bullet journaling mm-hmm and I like it because it helps me keep all of my to-do lists and all of my random thoughts and everything compiled into one notebook so that's kind of what my best daily ritual is right now as I typically check my notebook every morning when I get up and then every evening before I go to bed or every night I guess before I go to bed that's kind of what I use to keep my work on track well I'm excited that one day that bullet will be graduation day so what's the best career advice you've ever received I think that's hard I guess it would probably be from my grandmother and she used to always say just know that if you do your best angels can't do better and so I think just knowing that what you're saying or like what we were talking about earlier that consistency that constantly perfection is not the goal but excellence is and really just people people notice excellence and staying connected to those people also just really helps you move forward I think in your career and in life in general I've heard that through the some of the five people you hang out with so maybe that when you're around excellent people you're driven to be excellent as well well what inspires you yeah I would say the thing that inspires me is potential so if that's in a situation or if that's in a person if I see the potential for something I want to see that potential fulfilled so if that means that I'm mentoring a person because I see something in them that I think is really worth developing and that I think they could do a really good job in a certain area then that means I mentor that person or if I see a situation that I think has a potential to really improve something as big as the profession or even just improve that you know maybe how the work flow occurs in a pharmacy that's something that I'm gonna want to work on that's something that really inspires me gets me going and kind of keeps me engaged it was really intentional I'm hearing the continuous and never-ending improvement so yes well Allie Jo I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the pharmacy podcast I know you're super busy and I appreciate you taking the time thank you so much absolutely thanks for having me support for this episode comes from goodnight pharmacology 350 brand and generic name drugs with classifications a leading resource for students in the United States United Kingdom and Australia print ebook and audiobook available on audible iTunes and amazon.com thank you for listening to the pharmacy leaders podcast with your host Tony Guerra be sure to share the show with the hash tag hash pharmacy leaders