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ASHP Women in Pharmacy Leadership: Optimizing Opportunities for a Successful Career

 

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, ASHP Official will be re-releasing interviews from the Women in Pharmacy Leadership series. In this episode, recorded in February 2018, Sara J. White and Melissa Murer Corrigan explore the value of exposure to varying opportunities and how opening up to broad experiences can help transcend your pharmacy degree and lead to unique career paths.

SPEAKERS

Melissa Corrigan 

Melissa Murer Corrigan, B.S.Pharm., FAPhA, FASHP, is President, Manville Heights LLC. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice for the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy.

 Sara WhiteSara J. White, M.S., has more than 30 years of experience in pharmacy practice leadership. She retired in 2003 after 11 years as Pharmacy Director at Stanford Hospital and Clinics and 20 years as Associate Director of Pharmacy at the University of Kansas Medical Center. During her tenure as a pharmacy leader, she developed and implemented many innovative pharmacy services, made strides in staff development, and nurtured positive relationships with nurses and physicians.

Since her retirement, White has focused considerable attention on issues affecting the profession’s practice leaders. As the ASHP Foundation Scholar-in-Residence in 2004, White explored a variety of areas of concern, including the shortage of younger leaders, the impact of changes to pharmacy school curricula, the turnover of current leaders, and the need for postgraduate training for aspiring managers. She is co-editor of the Letters series — four books offering advice to early career pharmacists on career and life — and a co-author of Wisdom from the Pharmacy Leadership Trenches.

TIME-STAMPED SHOW NOTES

Melissa Corrigan (04:49):
I would say that the demographics of the profession of pharmacy have really been changing. And I went to school in the mid to late eighties and again, the demographics were shifting that there were more women going to pharmacy school. But a phenomena that I experienced throughout my career and especially in my leadership journey, pharmacy I think mirrors what's happening in the corporate world as well, is there still aren't as many women leaders. And so, you know, there was quite often in my path that even though it, you know, pharmacy now may be 65/35 [men/women] when you look at who's at the table related to boards of directors or CEO positions or deans or director of pharmacy or chief pharmacy officer, et cetera, we have made progress and I think that's really positive. But I think we need to continue to support and engage so that we'll have more leaders and hopefully more of those leaders will be women. And I think what we'll talk about a little bit this afternoon is oftentimes I've been the only, or one of a handful or one or two women at the table and quite often much younger than people that have been. And so, you know, I think the idea of how do you ensure that you're at the table and able to be part of the discussions and the decision makers and change makers is really important.

Melissa Corrigan (09:49):
I am a huge supporter of residencies, whether they be community pharmacy residencies, whether they be health system residencies, whether they be you know, focused residencies or if they're association management residencies. I think the training that you get in a concentrated amount of time is just phenomenal and also the mentoring that you receive and the exposure to things. So I can't say enough about, I think doing an executive residency really jump-started my career and exposed me to all kinds of things and really enhanced my critical thinking skills. It enhanced my confidence because as a resident there was multiple times where I was thrown into situations that I had never done. And so it was kind of figure it out. I also had wonderful preceptors and mentors and that really helped me on the path to see how important that is. And I also really was able to start the process, which has been lifelong for me of learning about history within pharmacy and who's come before me and how I can learn from them and also apply it to the work that I'm doing. And then how I myself then can hopefully be a role model for others in the future.

Melissa Corrigan (11:52):
And then in my tenure at PTCB. So I think, you know, for students or for individuals early in their career when people say, you know, connect with me on LinkedIn or let's follow each other on Twitter, I think in pharmacy there is a real community and that people do want to help others really at all levels of their career. That I think these connections that we have are so important. And so, you know, I'm so grateful for the networking and the opportunity and the time that people took with me and see that that is really valuable to do. You know now too,

Sara White (12:26):
I always tell folks, when you go to a professional meeting, don't just sit with the people you already know. Go introduce yourself and ask people what they're doing in their career. People like to talk about themselves and that networking does pay off. You never know how that's going to pay off. So thank you for sharing. So the other positions then you've had, why don't you share those with us?

Melissa Corrigan (14:39):
What was so different about how the profession is now is at that time there were even pharmacists who thought the technicians could try to take their jobs, which is so different than where we are today. So, you know, I would say there was like kind of a, a lot of things with that. But I firmly believed in the work that we were doing, the difference that we could make. And how the organization's working together, we're stronger. So, you know, that was really, really cool and an amazing opportunity. And what was neat and different about PTCB is that we were able to continue to try to do things that were new and different, really allowing the, the certified technician to help to free up the pharmacist to better serve patients.

Outbound Links & Resources Mentioned

Takeaways in Today’s Episode

  • Residencies can greatly open doors you didn’t realize were options.
  • Networking is almost as important as any training program.
  • Mentorship is a two-way street, mentors and mentees both learn from the experience.
  • Learning from leadership ahead of us can help shape the type of leaders we become.
  • Importance of giving back through participation in associations, organizational committees, and local community involvement.


The information presented during the podcast reflects solely the opinions of the presenter. The information and materials are not, and are not intended as, a comprehensive source of drug information on this topic. The contents of the podcast have not been reviewed by ASHP, and should neither be interpreted as the official policies of ASHP, nor an endorsement of any product(s), nor should they be considered as a substitute for the professional judgment of the pharmacist or physician.

Speaker: Welcome to women in pharmacy leadership, a series of interviews with notable pharmacy leaders. The series was stimulated by ASHP's women in pharmacy leadership steering committee, which was formed to explore the various professional and leadership development needs of women in the pharmacy workforce. The purpose of the committee is to identify ideas for nurturing positive change and creating an environment focused on the development of a new generation of women pharmacy leaders.

Sara White: Welcome. My name is Sara White. Today we'll be discussing how you can transcend your pharmacy degree by opening up to broad experiences such as optimizing opportunities. I will be speaking with Melissa Murer Corrigan who will share her experiences on how exposure to varying opportunities helped to shape her very unique and successful career. Melissa is currently ACT vice president of social impact in the center for equity and learning as well as an adjunct assist ant professor for the University of Iowa college of pharmacy. She is a national leader in pharmacy and founding executive director, CEO for the pharmacy technician certification board, PTCB. Passionate about leadership. Melissa serves on the board of directors for corridor. Women connect, as executive sponsor for ACT's corporate giving program and represents ACT through community engagement. She has also served as chair of ACT's United Way campaign and launched volunteer outreach and greater alignment with mission and strategy.

She now serves on the campaign cabinet for United Way of Johnson County. As for myself, I'm a retired director of pharmacy at Stanford hospital and clinics. I completed my MS and residency at Ohio State University and have served as ASHP's president. Melissa, thank you for being here with me today to talk about why it's important to assure you are expanding your knowledge by making the most of new opportunities. Before we get into your pharmacy story, maybe you can tell me a little bit about your background such as where you grew up, what your parents did, some of your influencers both pre and post pharmacy school.

Melissa Corrigan: Great. Thank you Sara. I really appreciate the opportunity to be part of the ASHP podcast series related to women in leadership in pharmacy and I hope that our listeners are able to take away from with me sharing my story, how it would relate to them. And then what they could do related to opening up to new opportunities and leadership opportunities. So a little bit about my story. I grew up in Joliet, Illinois. And you may be familiar with that. That's the home of where Melissa McCarthy from Ghostbusters and bridesmaids is from. And the blues brothers, my parents, Bev and Surge Murer and I have, there's four of us kids. I have an older brother and then a younger brother and sister that are twins. My dad was an electrician and helped with estimating with different construction projects. And then my mom started in retail and then moved her way up into a human resources position.

But my parents always really valued education and so it was very important to our family. I am first generation, so the idea of education going to college was always really important. I went to a very strong college prep high school. It's Joliet Catholic Academy, a football power, and so that was really important in our household and how I got interested in pharmacy and science is I always had an aptitude for science and math. And although my parents weren't pharmacists, we did have a really close family friend, Mr. Fong, who owned a couple of independent pharmacies in Morris, Illinois. And so I got to learn more about the profession and thought, Hey, that seemed very interesting. And, I would say from an early age, I was interested in how you could serve within a profession or do public speaking and that kind of thing. I've always liked to talk whether I was in high school or college or beyond, whether it be presentations or sharing ideas and things like that. So a lot of my influences were related to family and community and education. I think that's a good foundation related to what set me on my path.

Sara White: Excellent. Why don't you talk a little bit about percentages of women when you were in pharmacy school as we're now in 2018 almost fifth, well over 50% women practicing pharmacists.

Melissa Corrigan: Yeah. You know, I would say that the demographics of the profession of pharmacy have really been changing. And I went to school in the mid to late eighties and again, the demographics were shifting that there were more women going to pharmacy school. But a phenomena that I experienced throughout my career and especially in my leadership journey, pharmacy I think mirrors what's happening in the corporate world as well, is there still aren't as many women leaders. And so, you know, there was quite often in my path that even though it, you know, pharmacy now may be 65/35 [men/women] when you look at who's at the table related to boards of directors or CEO positions or deans or director of pharmacy or chief pharmacy officer, et cetera, we have made progress and I think that's really positive. But I think we need to continue to support and engage so that we'll have more leaders and hopefully more of those leaders will be women.

And I think what we'll talk about a little bit this afternoon is oftentimes I've been the only, or one of a handful or one or two women at the table and quite often much younger than people that have been. And so, you know, I think the idea of how do you ensure that you're at the table and able to be part of the discussions and the decision makers and change makers is really important.

Sara White: Thank you. That's a good context for us today. Why don't you tell us a bit about how your career progress, how you got where you are today.

Melissa Corrigan: Sure. You know, I mentioned that I'm from Joliet, Illinois and so a Midwest gal and I went to Drake university college of pharmacy. Really loved it and was very active and involved. I love pharmacy and you know, obviously studies are very rigorous, but I also felt that it was important to have balance.

So I was active in a social sorority, I was a Kappa and a leader with that, which I think by leadership in school activities has really served me well throughout my career. I think sometimes if you can handle living in a sorority house with 50 girls with all kinds of challenges you can handle just about any HR situation, that may come by your way. And I was very open to internships and opportunities. And one of those that I think was an important for my career and setting me on the path was John Koster came to visit Drake from ASHP talking about us starting a student chapter. And I was all about starting things and being a part of the new elite even if we didn't have something. And that's really followed throughout my whole career. So I helped form the Drake university Iowa society of health system pharmacists, the student chapter.

Melissa Corrigan: And he talked about an internship where he worked for the pharmacy industry and no one at Drake had done that for a few years. So I learned a little bit more about it. Applied and was selected. And so I think a Pearl or a takeaway that I want to share with our listeners is that it's really important if you see something, even if someone directly in your world, your family or within your school or your circle has not done it to still go for it. And you know, I went to the East coast and I was exposed to students from across the country and I did a trip to DC and that really set me on the path to learn more about residencies. And I decided then that I wanted to apply and do an executive residency in association management and that I really wanted to expand.

And so then following that, I came back and finished up at Drake and I worked for Walgreens for a year in the Chicago area, which was a phenomenal experience for me, and I say phenomenal in that it was extremely challenging because I worked in 52 stores in a year. I floated from store to store. But what was so great about that is it really taught me the importance of working with qualified and competent pharmacy technicians because a good technician could make or break your day. And you know, as you've mentioned that I was the founding CEO of the pharmacy technician certification board that I had had that direct railroad experience really served me well with that. So I made a big leap and after Walgreens decided to apply for it and I was selected to be the APhA executive resident and that was a big decision for me to move across country.

And you know, my family was like, okay, well you'll just be out there a year. And I ended up being out in DC for 21 years. Really loved it and got bit by the association bug and serving the profession and standards and credentials and all that. So I think the other thing is just to be open to where you may be able to go and what you can do and that your pharmacy education is really such a foundation for a variety and doing really big and important things.

Sara White: As you reflect back on both the internship and the executive residency, what is the value or the value of those?

Melissa Corrigan: Couple of things? I think the internship, you know, really took me out of my comfort zone. I was living in a different place. I was working in the pharmaceutical industry and I was meeting people from all walks of life.

I think my residency, you know, I am a huge supporter of residencies, whether they be community pharmacy residencies, whether they be health system residencies, whether they be you know, focused residencies or if they're association management residencies. I think the training that you get in a concentrated amount of time is just phenomenal and also the mentoring that you receive and the exposure to things. So I can't say enough about, I think doing an executive residency really jump-started my career and exposed me to all kinds of things and really enhanced my critical thinking skills. It enhanced my confidence because as a resident there was multiple times where I was thrown into situations that I had never done. And so it was kind of figure it out. I also had wonderful preceptors and mentors and that really helped me on the path to see how important that is. And I also really was able to start the process, which has been lifelong for me of learning about history within pharmacy and who's come before me and how I can learn from them and also apply it to the work that I'm doing. And then how I myself then can hopefully be a role model for others in the future.

Sara White: Well it begins your network, doesn't it?

Melissa Corrigan: Yes, for sure. You know, it's funny when I was an intern and then when I was a resident, we did meetings and people would give business cards. You know, now it's more, there is still an exchange of business cards, but now it's more connect with me on LinkedIn. And I remember when we visited the associations in DC that, you know, people who were head of government affairs or head of policy said, here's my card, please follow up. And you know, I thought to myself, are they just being nice? And what was really interesting and ironic and just kinda the way the world can end up working as you talk about networking is then, you know, just a couple of years later I ended up working with many of these people through my early work at the American pharmacist association when I was leading the scope of pharmacy practice project.

And then in my tenure at PTCB. So I think, you know, for students or for individuals early in their career when people say, you know, connect with me on LinkedIn or let's follow each other on Twitter, I think in pharmacy there is a real community and that people do want to help others really at all levels of their career. That I think these connections that we have are so important. And so, you know, I'm so grateful for the networking and the opportunity and the time that people took with me and see that that is really valuable to do. You know now too,

Sara White: I always tell folks, when you go to a professional meeting, don't just sit with the people you already know. Go introduce yourself and ask people what they're doing in their career. People like to talk about themselves and that networking does pay off. You never know how that's going to pay off. So thank you for sharing. So the other positions then you've had, why don't you share those with us?

Melissa Corrigan: Sure. You know, I mentioned that I initially thought that I would just be in DC for a short amount of time, but I got bit by the bug of the association world and serving the profession and early on, you know there's been some threads throughout my pharmacy career in my career, broader beyond pharmacy related to patient safety, related to standards related to credentialing and then social impact. So I had the opportunity to, the pharmacy technician certification board was being formed and it was going to be a multi organization initiative and so I decided to take a risk and apply and I was one of like 91 people that applied and they narrowed it down and narrowed it down to six and then there were three and then I was selected and I was very excited about the opportunity to launch something and start something. I was excited about the opportunity for multiple organizations to come together.

At that time there were four pharmacy organizations, two state groups, Illinois and Michigan that had done state certification programs and then the American Pharmacist Association and the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. And then several years later we did add the national associations of boards of pharmacy, to the group. But I think what's interesting and unique is that I did that and when I was 28, the only woman on the board, and I think a couple of pieces that are helpful that are kind of key learnings when I look back is that I always knew it was going to work and I wasn't really sure exactly how, but I never had doubts. Like once we jumped in and formed a nonprofit and started on our plan of work, it was really aggressive and it was bold and it was innovative and it was different. And there were lots of challenges policy-wise political.

What was so different about how the profession is now is at that time there were even pharmacists who thought the technicians could try to take their jobs, which is so different than where we are today. So, you know, I would say there was like kind of a, a lot of things with that. But I firmly believed in the work that we were doing, the difference that we could make. And how the organization's working together, we're stronger. So, you know, that was really, really cool and an amazing opportunity. And what was neat and different about PTCB is that we were able to continue to try to do things that were new and different, really allowing the, the certified technician to help to free up the pharmacist to better serve patients. So, you know, over the years then we worked with big employers of technicians like Walgreens and CVS.

We worked with state boards of pharmacy. I did a lot of testimony in front of multiple state boards of pharmacies over the years. You know, really tried to think about the importance of patient safety and how the technicians can free up the pharmacist and, you know, really change help to change pharmacy practice to free them up for activities such as immunizations or to be, you know, doing medical therapy management, et cetera. So that was really cool and really exciting, you know, with that. And I think the idea of just do it and go forward and then, you know, if there were challenges, it's, I, my philosophy has always been what can I learn from this and you know how do I ensure that like, you know, we don't do this again or things like that. Cause for sure, you know, not everything's going to be perfect. And especially with the size and scale that we had with the program with PTCB.

Sara White: That's an important lesson about trust yourself. You'll figure it out. You know, we got through pharmacy school and we can figure it out. Tell me a little bit about the importance of relationships among people that work together because you had a variety of different folks that you worked with.

Melissa Corrigan: Yeah, I think relationships are key. I think relationships are key related to, there were a couple of things that we would, we really focused on within PTCB collaboration, credit and consensus and the three C's. And we had people with very unique and strong personalities, which was great but also interesting perspectives. And so from a relationship standpoint, you know, we did a lot of work related to just getting to know each other as people. So there were a lot of dinners that we would help have like a planning session and discussion that would really then help facilitate our board discussions.

But the idea of getting to know people related to what their interests are, their passions and then to figure out too, what's the common ground like where can we start from to try to figure out what's best. So what's, what was really good, I would say in the 17 years that we all work together is we were able to come to consensus and pretty much unanimous agreement throughout even during, you know, some challenging discussions and times. But the idea of supporting each other or sometimes agreeing to disagree or to put something on the shelf for a little bit takes time. But I think the relationship building that I had, the understanding, the value that different points of view can bring to the table is really important. And I think the other thing is, is that relationships really reinforce the importance of coalitions. And you know, PTCB was formed in a time where pharmacy was just starting to work together, which is what's so great right now is there's much more related to provider status.

And you know, we've done a lot together with immunizations and you know, different things, looking at residencies, et cetera. But there was a time where groups didn't want to work together for various reasons. And so I think the idea of how do you form strong relationships so that then you can work together for a greater good. It just yields so much. And I think in healthcare right now, you know, pharmacy is just one part of a bigger system, whether it be, you know, working with physicians, nurses, you know payers, et cetera. And so relationships I think are fundamental to all of that.

Sara White: Yeah. I couldn't agree more. And before you go on with your career, I should have asked you earlier, talk a little bit about your personal life. What, what goes on there? What has over the years?

Melissa Corrigan: Well, I mentioned that I'm one of four children and then I moved to Washington DC after my residency. And you know, I, I would say that I was for many years, very much enjoyed living in DC was very close to my family in the Midwest, but I worked a lot and had a strong group of friends and, you know, did date and things like that. But I, I was one of those people who got married a little bit later in life. My husband John and I met when we were at Drake together and then ended up marrying 20 years later, which is a little bit like a, when Harry met Sally story. But I'm so thrilled. I've been married to John 13 years now and he's really my best friend and partner and super supportive of me and my career and I'm very supportive of him and you know, his technology background and marketing and startup and all that stuff. So, you know, when I'm not doing pharmacy stuff, I love to spend time with family. My parents have a Lake house. So in the summer, now that I'm back in the Midwest, I try to spend weekends there. I love going to the farmer's market. I've started meditating in the last couple of years. That's been kind of a fun thing to do. Mindfulness and I love walking outdoors. Today it's a snowy day, so I won't be doing that, but I'm really big into walks. So that's a little bit of a snapshot into my personal life.

Sara White: Thank you. How do you make it work in terms of relocating around the country? The marriage?

Melissa Corrigan: You know, that's been interesting cause when, when we got married, John was in Austin and we talked about, you know, Austin/DC and he moved to DC and then we were in DC another seven years. So, you know, I think that's things as a couple, you need to talk about what works best and you know, how to sort that out and think through where you want to live and when and all of that. So, you know, I, I think communication is really important to that, but we're, we've been very supportive. I think the other thing that's interesting now is with how many positions are able to be connected or remote. You know, I think there's opportunities where people don't necessarily have to live in a city necessarily with the headquarters or my husband right now is doing a startup, so he's got a lot of flexibility.

He has an office downtown in a coworking space with other entrepreneurs but does have flexibility, you know, he can pretty much work wherever. So it's just, I think that's interesting. But those are things that we've talked about related to I think navigating to careers, what that looks like moving forward.

Sara White: That's helpful I think for the audience. So I got you off track a little bit, but after PTCB, what did you do career wise?

Melissa Corrigan: Yeah, you know, it's interesting. I loved being at PTCB and I was there 17 years, but I mentioned to you earlier that I was hired at 28 so I also knew that I wouldn't be there till I retired. And so that was a real thought process for me of, you know, what did I want to do next? What did I want to move to, where did I want to live, what would that all look like?

So I really went through like a introspective process to kind of think about that and you know, different companies had approached me over the years and that was different things. And then act the testing company, which many of you may be familiar with. Our mission is to help people achieve education and workplace success. Had hired a new CEO and was working on recruiting leaders to really help in a transformative process. And so, act began talking to me and John and I came back to the Midwest and just started to, I was city exploring it and thinking about it. I also at the time with PTCB had done some succession planning where I had hired an associate executive director and so had a number two in place and had been worked with bill for about a year. And so, you know, I think those are the factors to just share with our listeners is that I wanted to leave and move on when things were going really well.

And sometimes people can stay too long in something or can not be happy with something and then they make a change. So I wanted to be able to make a change and move on to something. The interesting thing about coming to Iowa city for me is I did clearly act is, is not directly related to pharmacy, but it was clearly related to assessment and to credentialing, which I had done for years. And I was familiar with act from my work at PTCB. And I also have served as, at the time when I was being recruited, I was president of the Institute for credentialing excellence. But an added bonus for me when I came here was the university of Iowa reached out to me and Don Letendre was Dean. And you know, when you talk about networking relationships, I got to know Don when I was a resident.

He was at the time leading the accreditation services division at ASHP and so Don and I had known each other for about 20 years. And so he said, Oh my goodness, I'm so glad you're here. I'd like to get you involved with the college. So I do have a faculty appointment at the college of pharmacy and I serve on the executive leadership board with the college of pharmacy. So I'm involved in strategy planning and big picture activities. And then I've also been intimately involved in the planning and kind of concepts behind the university of Iowa's data Cooper pharmacy conference.

Sara White: Before you talk about that conference, it is a small world in that I hired when I was at the university of Kansas medical center. Don loved tender for his first job out of pharmacy school. So it is a small world that we help each other as you mentioned. So why don't you continue on a little bit with the Zada conference that you do?

Melissa Corrigan: When I got to Iowa when you often move to a new place, you learn about history. And so Don was telling me that there was a leader from within the University of Iowa college of pharmacy named Zada Cooper and that she was the first tenured pharmacy professor, woman, and that she also had founded Chi and Kappa Epsilon and that she graduated in the late 18 hundreds, I think, 1897, 1898. And so as I got to know her a little bit more, at first I was like, Oh, that's interesting. And you know, I saw a picture and you know, it was kind of a black and white photo, but then I really started to think about it. And especially as you know, a big thread throughout my whole career and especially in the last six years has been championing ship leadership and especially more leadership opportunities for women.

And that's kind of happened is Sheryl Sandberg wrote, Lean In, and you know, there's been other things happening in the past year with me too. And time's up that it's really now a big moment for women. So I got to know Zada a little bit better and really was so impressed with her grit and with the tenacity that she, you know, she was one of three people in her pharmacy class and then, you know, was a professor here. So I talked with Don and I said, I really think we should do something to honor her and to help students and residents and practitioners learn more about her. So we've done a couple of things. Two years ago we launched the inaugural Zada Cooper leadership conference and it's open to men and to women. But the unique twist to honor Zada's legacy is we've had all of our speakers, the women on the podium and you know, that doesn't always happen or often happen where they're all women.

And so we really wanted to again, highlight to attendees, you know, the importance accomplishments of various women who have ties to university of Iowa or to Zada Cooper through organizations that she helped found or lead. And so we've had two so far. Last year one of the things that we did that was really neat is we brought in the current president of SHP and at the time it was Lisa Gersema from Minnesota. And at that time it was Nancy Alvarez. And to have two women from both of the national organizations there was, was really neat. And then this coming year in just a few months. Sara White. Sara, I'm so honored that you're going to come be a keynote speaker for us because in the last couple of years we've talked so much about the concepts that you really introduced to all of us related to big L and little L leadership. So you know, you can probably hear the passion in my voice related to leadership and Zada and I just often reflect on her life and think about, you know, what can I do in my life that would be more Zada like or you know, how can I continue to blaze a trail?

Cause she was a real trailblazer and she is recognized. If you're in DC, at the American Pharmacist Association, she's on their wall and the women in pharmacy room and you can find it online too, but there's, you know, some information about her being a grand and glorious lady of pharmacy.

Sara White: Yes, I'm looking forward to coming and participating in it. Why don't you, before you would go on, you are both a fellow of ASHP and a fellow of APhA. Talk a little bit about what Fellow status is, what it recognizes and its value.

Melissa Corrigan: Well, I have to tell you, the recognition that I've received from APhA and from ASHP really, really means the world to me. And to be recognized by both organizations is just like super cool. But you know, fellow status really recognizes significant contributions to on the ASHP side, health system practice.

On the APhA side, it's not necessarily practice setting specific depending on that, but really recognized for sustained contributions either, you know, a onetime thing that you may have done or leadership, whether it be on committees, policy committees you know, we being published or presentations. And so, you know, I just really feel honored since I was a student, I've tried to be involved with many pharmacy organizations and really feel like participating and giving back is really important. And you know, I try to encourage residents and students now to do that too. So, you know, I think it's in recognition of my work with PTCB and also my thought leadership related to publishing, you know, articles and also presentations. But it's something that I'm super proud of and you know, really think that it's important that we're recognized within the profession for that.

Sara White: Well, and certainly outside your pharmacy as well, being a fellow is a big deal. So that status is very well deserved and something that people want to sort out and think out idea. So as you think about your various careers now you're involved more in philanthropy and giving back or paying it forward, why don't you comment a little bit on that and what you're specifically doing in those realms?

Melissa Corrigan: I think when I look back, when I started, when we first started talking this afternoon, and I look back on my journey and, you know, attending Drake university, I was a big part of how I was able to attend Drake was through scholarships. And so the idea of scholarships or helping others, you know, has been important to me and to my husband. So, you know, and I think the idea of helping students and education is so fundamental and foundational for people to be able to succeed in life.

So we've been big supporters of Drake University through scholarships and through some of their building initiatives, they just launched a new STEM building focused on science, technology, education and math instead of engineering. And then also now that we've been in Iowa city, the University of Iowa related to their new building that's gonna come up a pharmacy practice lab. And then also there's a space related to Zada Cooper. And you know, I just think about how many people helped me or thought about scholarships and things like that. I think we're, we're fortunate in pharmacy that it is a profession that, when you start is more lucrative than some others. And sometimes it can be just a small donation, but I think giving, giving back, whether it be to your pharmacy school, some of the things that we did early on as I tried to help students going to attend annual meetings.

And so, you know, we do like a designated gift to Drake related to helping to fund travel for like a national conference until we were in a position to do some other things. I feel like supporting United way in our community is a really big deal. We live in a community with highly educated, very low unemployment, very fortunate and Iowa city, but we also have a significant amount of the population that are on free or reduced lunch. And so I think it's important to be able to help, whether it be giving of your time, doing volunteer work. And I also think about paying it forward, serving as a mentor that there were so many people and Sara, you over the years took time to talk with me at ASHP years or the summer meeting and you know, share your wisdom.

And I so appreciated that and I really enjoy now I mentor pharmacy students through the college of pharmacy. I also mentor women in business. I'm actually going to be at a networking event next week and then I mentor individuals here at ACT. And it's funny, when I was a resident, my preceptor Ed Webb told me early on that one of the favorite parts of his day, or a real highlight was the time that we spent together and the time he spent mentoring me. And I remember, you know, being in my twenties and young and thinking, huh, what is that? Like, why is that so cool? But what I can now especially you know, kind of being on the other side and being a mentor is how rewarding it is to touch the future. And also I learned so much from meeting with my mentees. So, you know, I think, if I could encourage, and I know you've talked about mentoring in these podcasts before, having a mentor or serving as a mentor is just a really valuable way to give back.

Sara White: And you've certainly done a number of publications over your career and presentations and being willing to put in the extra effort to do that really pays it forward. And you're right, that is a two way street. You learn a lot from mentoring young people. So as a final wrap up of this any final advice you'd like to offer to our audience?

Melissa Corrigan: Yeah, I think just a couple of things. One would be sort of the Nike motto, just do it that you sort of never know where something's going to lead. But I would say take the internship, do the rotation, look at the residency, you know, what, what would be most challenging because it's, it's during those opportunities or jump into an opportunity that may be everything's not defined yet. I think as women, sometimes we want to like, Oh, I need to know everything 100% or I need to know the full plan. And that's really not how life works. So I would say go into it and, and move forward. I think there's also some great books out there that, you know, have really been interesting to me and have helped me, you know, my career one that I really like right now is grit by Angela Duckworth.

That that's, you know, being talked about a lot in leadership circles. Another one that Sara you worked on and two of my other favorite people in pharmacy, the letters to a young pharmacist. I've bought that and given that to several mentees in pharmacy, but outside of cause I think there's some really cool opportunities to learn from people's stories with that. And then the third thing would be you know, I'm just grateful that you and I are having this opportunity to talk today. I'm grateful to my other mentors, to John Gans, to Dr. Oddis to Lucinda Maine who really have guided me and always believed in me and helps me talk through things. So, you know, if you have someone who has been instrumental in your life, I w I guess the third thing that I would be is, you know, just take the time to say thank you. And I've tried to do that throughout my career when I've either been recognized or reached a milestone to think of who's on my squad, who is cheering me on and to say thank you to them and it's family, friends and colleagues, pharmacy colleagues.

Sara White: Well, I truly have enjoyed hearing about how you've made the most of your opportunities and applied pharmacy where many didn't realize they could make a difference. Thank you so much for sharing your insights with me and I've enjoyed and continue to enjoy knowing you, Melissa. Thank you very much.

Melissa Corrigan: Thank you, Sara. It's been a real pleasure.

Speaker: That concludes this interview. We invite you to listen to other interviews in this series by subscribing to the podcast or visiting the ASHP website and listening on demand for information on the committee and its efforts. Please visit the women in pharmacy leadership resource center at ashp.org.

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