Leadership Skills and Professional Goals
What qualities make you an outstanding leader?
There are several qualities that make one an outstanding leader. I am a great team builder and try my best to include everyone when working in a group. In a team, conflicts are often unavoidable, but what distinguishes the leader is how that person handles conflict. I try my best to let others know that I understand where they’re coming from, but offer a compromise that we both can agree upon. I also am a firm believer in leading by example. The hardest working member in a group often tends to assume a leadership role, because they are showing the team their dedication and perseverance. This sets a great example for other members of the team and establishes each person’s role in the team. Finally, I am a leader because I strive to maintain a positive attitude. I try to see the best in things and believe a little humor can go a long way.
How did you develop your leadership skills?
I began developing my leadership skills late in high school. I helped create a photography club at my high school and served as president of this organization from 2009-2010. This quickly taught me just how difficult it is to come to a group consensus when working with both students and faculty. The next step in developing my leadership skills came in pharmacy school when I was elected president-elect of WVU’s SSHP. I was initially apprehensive to take on this role because I really had no leadership involvement aside from high school. However, the current president at the time showed me the ropes and boosted my confidence in undertaking this position. I recognized that the hardest part of leadership is the initial commitment; to step out of my comfort zone. This is what led to my current officer positions in both SSHP and Phi Lambda Sigma.
How do you continue to cultivate your leadership skills?
I continue to cultivate my leadership skills both by maintaining officer positions in student organizations and attending national conferences. ASHP’s annual Midyear Clinical Meeting has excellent programming for current students including an SSHP Leaders Workshop and CV/resume seminars. My current officer positions in student organizations have also opened many new doors for leadership roles in both research and academia.
What are your short term professional goals?
My short-term professional goals as a P3 student include working with SSHP to finish a successful school year and graduating from an accredited school of pharmacy. My goals also include securing a PGY-1 residency in a health-system setting and obtaining my BCPS board certification.
What are your long-term professional goals?
My long-term professional goals are to obtain a leadership position working as a clinical pharmacist in a teaching health-system setting. I aspire to become more involved with ASHP at the national level, develop my teaching skills, and serve as a preceptor to future pharmacy students.
- WVU SSHP – President
- WVU SSHP – Student Liaison
- Phi Lambda Sigma Alpha Eta Chapter – Historian
- APhA-ASP MRM Promo Committee
- Phi Lambda Sigma: 2013 – Present
- APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists: 2012 – Present
- Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy: 2013 – Present
- American College of Clinical Pharmacy: 2014 – Present
- American Society of Health System Pharmacists: 2012 – Present
- WVU Student Society of Health System Pharmacy: 2012 – Present
- West Virginia Society of Health System Pharmacists: 2012 – Present
Honors and Awards
- Phi Lambda Sigma Student Leader of the Month: November 2013
- WVU Healthcare Star Volunteer of the Month: April 2012
- WVU Dean's List: Spring 2012
- WVU President's List: Fall 2011
- WVU Mountaineer Scholarship: August 2010
Advice for Future Student Leaders
The earlier you can become involved as a student, the more opportunities you get to network with other students and faculty. I regret not undertaking more leadership positions during my first year of pharmacy school. My excuse was time – I needed time to study, time to work, time to relax and destress. Hindsight 20/20 P1 year was honestly the best year as far as having extra time to explore potential leadership activities.
“Comfort is the enemy of achievement” – Farrah Gray. Through personal experience, the hardest step in becoming a leader is the initial commitment. In order to become a leader you must step out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territory. I challenge you to push your comfort zone and apply for officer positions and leadership roles at your school of pharmacy as early as possible.
If you have any questions for Mr. Ma, he may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.