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Pharmacy Residency Podcast

Jan 24, 2018

We talk about Lead-Grow-Shape, a critical leadership book from the Pharmacy Leadership and Education Institute. Today we speak with Nancy Alvarez, the President 2017-2018, of the American Pharmacists Association, an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education and Continuing Professional Development for Chapman University School of Pharmacy.

She has written book chapters on pain topics and is actively involved in leader development as a content developer, facilitator and board member for the Pharmacy Leadership and Education Institute. She is board certified in pharmacotherapy from the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties and her Doctor of Pharmacy degree is from the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. She served two terms on the APhA Board of Trustees before becoming a presidential officer. She was past president of the Phi Lambda Sigma National Leadership Society and a past Grand Vice President for Collegiate Affairs for the Phi Delta Chi Fraternity.

LEAD360 Opportunity

Great News!

PLEI has negotiated a $140 discount for prospective 2018 PLEI facilitators to attend APhA’s Leadership program on February 10-11 in DC. Again, attending this program is a great way to brush up on your knowledge and skills if you’re interested in facilitating at LDS this summer. 

All you have to do is enter promo code “LEAD360PLEI“ when you register at

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 on building your professional network brand and a purposeful second income from students, residents and innovative professionals.

Welcome back to the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast. Again, I'm so happy to have Nancy Alvarez on and we're going to talk about a module from the book Lead Grow Shape that she edited with three other pharmacy leaders Michael Negrete, Gary Kyle and John Gravenstein. And in this episode we're going to talk about two really important topics. First, how to use the book and her recommendation and the recommendation of the editors is that it's a book that's meant to be fold in pieces. So if you're teaching the course you take the modules that you feel are most relevant but if you're using it for yourself and it's not priced like a regular textbook, my students pay $200 for a chemistry book, 300 for anatomy physiology book, like $10 on kindle and $15 in print. It's meant to be used as something that you look at the chapter titles and your subconscious will tell you oh, that's the that's the chapter I need to start with. And she talks about which module would be most important to her and also how important it is to be present especially as you're looking towards residency, graduation. This is a really special last couple of months and it's something that you'll never forget. So I hope that you get a lot out of this episode and you really enjoy what it is to speak to Nancy.

So if you are going through this module. If I were to pick one module would be module 10, the listening module. I'm an extrovert and where I really struggle is to truly listen and to just slow down and just kind of listen to what other people are saying before saying I can fix it, I can do it. Is there a module in particular that either was impactful for you or that you enjoyed writing the most?

Well, I think its number 11 and it's how do I occur and that's actually been developed by Michael Negrete. And I think it is truly the most impactful and I will be very honest I have not engaged, part of its a little fear-based, part of it is yeah I pretty much know how I'm perceived because I received a lot of feedback from others. Some positive and some, you know, opportunities for growth but the how do I occur requires someone to identify people that they trust and have a conversation, a guided conversation with them. And I can recall one individual in one of the groups that I work with approached me and said, you know, would you be one of the participants and I was worried. I thought well I don't really know this person very well. I've observed this person but I don't really, don't really know gosh, what am I going to say and I agreed. And I didn't, you know, I didn't want to let her down so I agreed and we had a conversation and I told her what I could about her and through this again this guided conversation and what really struck me is the silence on the phone after we finished. And so I said, you know, gosh you're a little quiet and she says it's interesting to me that after this conversation what you said based on the fact that I've only known you for nine months and what this person said who lives with me, my roommate, who's lived with me for three years is very similar.


And what was said was, you know, you're very nice and you're very and you're very gregarious and you're and you're always, you know, seemingly in the middle of all the activity. But I don't really know you and I think that this person was most jarred by the roommate who said, you know, I've been living with you for these years and I really don't know you. And what that has done is that allowed this person to do some growing to ask well why is that, what is it that I'm doing that doesn't allow me to be seen by other people, because that's how I occur to them. Whereas I thought I occurred as this very gregarious in the middle of everything kind of person. And that really has allowed this person to continue to seek answers and to grow and to, you know, really be a different version of herself more aligned with her values, her interests, her strengths and her needs. So I think that that's the most impactful module I dabble with, you know, doing it myself. I have people identified as the people I would ask and maybe I will be as courageous as others have been to engage in that module.

Okay yeah, though I to take it to something that's a little more common in my life is the end of semester reviews of an instructor. And I kind of take some time away and just like okay, because I know some of them are going to be really good and some of them are going to be bad and hearing feedback about yourself is never easy, I think. And I think the is it the Johari Window, right? With all the adjectives.


So there's like a certain number of adjectives that they can use and it's very organized. It's like these four rooms or four quadrants and it's just kind of a really, it's not just here. Tell me what you think about its a really structured way of I think Biden was one of the quote. There's things that we know that we know there's things that we know that we don't know but there's things that we don't know that we don't know. And I feel like that's something that would get into those things that we don't know that we don't know and really those are the things that are going to really help us move forward. Okay, well is there anything that I didn't ask you about the book or the leadership that you wanted to mention?

No, I think that you've been very thorough in your questions and I know really have appreciated the opportunity to speak about a leader development. I have found in my current role that, you know, that people see only the current role and what really strikes me is that, you know, that there isn't always an appreciation for the fact that, you know, it isn't a straight line from, you know, graduate at the University of Arizona 25 years ago to, you know, leading the, you know, the largest pharmacy organization in the country. And that, you know, indeed the path has been very very messy and very very difficult and also created a lot of opportunity to grow because we do indeed grow when we have challenge. And, you know, and it's great to be in a spot of bliss and, you know, to be able to take a break but at some point we do need to continue to grow in order to offer, you know, our best self to others and so all of the information in book has application. It may or may not resonate with everyone but it's not intended to address the mass. It really is intended for those who are going to facilitate, to see what works for them or what they think their group might need and then for those in the group to, you know, play. We talked about, you know, thinking about each module as a piece of clothing. You have the opportunity to put it on, to try it on for size to see if it fits, to see if you look flattering in it or terrible, to see how others think you look in that piece of clothing and at the end if you decide that it's a good fit well great then you've just added to your leadership wardrobe and if not and put it back on the rack and try something else. There's no harm in trying and that's really, you know, what has worked in my life and what I'm hoping will work in others because, you know, as pharmacists we are required to be perfect only in the care of patients, only when we're making sure that the right medication gets to the right patient and is used optimally. And even then, you know, we've got tools that help us to be perfect otherwise we're not supposed to be perfect we're supposed to play, we're supposed to, you know, do good for others and I'm hopeful that, you know, that people will find this resource helpful to them. Because it does have a lot of utility for anyone willing to be a learner and see possibility.

Nancy I want to tell you a little story about my dad. He's a Peruvian immigrant, he came here and he worked at a at a hotel as a waiter in Washington DC and later about 20 years later he was the leader of the group that communicated between Peru, Canada the United States. And he got one of those mega suites, do you know what I'm talking about? The ones with a dining room table and the full kitchen, you know, 12-person dining room table.


And I got to see that suite and it was amazing. But then I realized dad, did you actually sleep under the covers? He's like no, I just slept on the bed. I was like, did you ever use it? Well I had people over but I never actually really used the room, I was just always downstairs. So we hear about all these great things that come with leadership and here he was, you know, president in presidential suite and he can't even use this suite. Like it was just, do you run into anything like that where you're like, you know, I've got this, these great perks but I'm so busy being a leader my perks are gone or my perks are difficult to access?

Yeah or we're not somehow deserving of them and I would say probably earlier in my life I've had those situations where I'm so busy doing that I'm not really focused on living. And because of the work that we've done over 20 years and my own growth as a result of digging through the material and presenting the material and helping others, you know, you can't help but absorb a lot of it yourself. And I am so grateful because I intentionally stop and think about my current role and sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the idea that it's me and that I have the opportunity that I have and that really not very many people have had it over the, you know, the course of a APHAs existence. There are only a hundred and sixty-one other presidents and me.


Wow, holy cow. And so that has caused me to really stop and say yes, it's busy, my work world is extremely challenging and unpleasant at times. And I have this really amazing opportunity pay attention, take it in it will only happen one time and it is almost over less than 60 days. And I think what really helped me to see that was came about yeah I guess, in September when we were with our colleagues. There's a gentleman who brought out this book that apparently the tradition was that when the APHA Board of Trustees came together they had an opportunity to sign this book. And apparently it had been lost and the archives and he's a retired individual and he volunteers and he was poking around in the archives and he found this book. And he brought it out and told us a little bit about the history and about the tradition that, you know, occurred and I listened to him and then he invited us up to come and sign it and he had white gloves on, you know, so it was serious that, you know, you don't want to deposit any of your hand oils.

Yeah, yeah.

On the document and so when the meeting broke up I'm still in the back and I'm talking to the staff and I'm beginning to think about what we need to do for the next agenda item. And my colleagues were gathering around the front and one of them shouted out, you know, can you come up here because well we need you to sign. And I thought yes I'll be there and they're like no we need you to sign first. And that was so jarring to me and it really woke me up to say, you know what, the agenda will come to be just fine. I just need to walk up and take in this moment and sign this document and then realize that the likes of Albert Prescott have signed, Daniel B Smith have signed and I was then almost overwhelmed and grateful that pay attention Nancy, it only comes around once. And I think that's what I wish for everyone is to, you know, really pay attention to the fact that we have opportunity and we can take it in. We can get what we need to get done but we can also be very present. And so, you know, from that day in September till now I really think about, you know, being fully present. Another quick example is I had a student come into my office about an hour ago and he was actually lingering outside the door and I happened to turn around and I saw him and I invited him and he's like oh, you know, I was worried that I was going to interrupt you. And I thought in my mind oh my god I'm so busy and I've got so much to do and I'm going to take five minutes out for this young man. It turned out to be 45 minutes and very enjoyable and he came to tell me about his experience at the January board meeting that occurs for the APHA academy of student pharmacists every January. And he was so joyful he had, you know, been a successful candidate and obtained in an office he, you know, he flew East and participated and now met other excellent student pharmacists and he thought enough of me to come by and tell me about his experiences. And then he says, the little twinkle in his eye, you know, when I introduced myself and told people why I wanted to, you know, be part of leadership he says I included on my slide the fact that the dean, another individual and you are all APHA presidents. And it was amazing to me to see my student peers be completely jealous about the fact that, you know, you're at our school and I thought gosh, this is this is the prize for being present is I get to listen to this young man talk about how joyful he is in his experience. And my email well, it's still there and it'll get done when it gets done but I could never get back that 45-minute conversation ever. And, you know, I'm so grateful.

Wow, I don't know what to say. So I would have another story but I can't do it, I can't top that, so I'm going to. Awesome well, thanks so much for being on the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast.

Thank you.

Hey I've got some good news plea negotiated a $140 discount for prospective 2018 plea facilitators to attend a APHAs Leadership Program On February 10th to 11th in DC. Again attending this program is great way to brush up your knowledge and skills if you're interested in facilitating in LDS, the leader development seminar this summer. All you have to do is enter promo code lead360plei when you register at and I have a link in the show notes.

Support for this episode comes from the audio book Memorizing Pharmacology. A relaxed approach with over 9,000 sales in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. It's the go-to resource to ease the pharmacology challenge. Available on Audible, iTunes and in print, ebook and audiobook. Thank you for listening to the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast with your host Tony Guerra. Be sure to share the show with a hashtag hash pharmacy leaders.