Christine Hrudka, Pharmacist/Owner of Pharmacy First on 8th in Saskatoon and Chair and Saskatchewan Board Director for the Canadian Pharmacists Association, speaks on her experience of serving in leadership roles in pharmacy and on the Canadian landscape of women in pharmacy.
Mediaplanet: What type of challenges do you and other women in pharmacy face?
Christine Hrudka: Women make up close to 70% of our profession, yet account for just 30% of leadership roles. We face the biggest challenge of getting our voices heard and having role models. Whether on boards, in the C-suite, or in ownership roles, we are underrepresented, which leads to decisions that don’t reflect our values and our issues. Support for having more women in leadership positions in the pharmacy community has been growing, especially since there is more awareness of this inequity. Once you realize there is a problem, then you are able to fix it. That is truly my goal.
What advice would you give to young women who are just entering the field?
My best advice to young women entering our profession is to put your hand up and get involved. Volunteer for committees and boards, even if you’re not sure they matter. They do matter, and the network you build will be priceless throughout your career.
What does women’s leadership mean to you?
The quote “You can’t be what you can’t see” resonates with me: that is what leadership is about. We need role models and mentors so all women know they can make a difference and lead. I want to inspire women in pharmacy to set their goals high and build confidence so that they can achieve anything they want. Representation and a vision that builds confidence is one of my goals.
What can pharmacy do to bridge the gender gap for women in pharmacy leadership roles?
To bridge this gap, we need to create mentorship programs for women on our boards. We even need to change our thinking about how board meetings occur so we can help women attend. We need to create forums and opportunities to help women build their confidence and to overcome fear and hesitancy.
What excites you about the future of pharmacy practice?
The most exciting thing I see about pharmacy is where we are currently positioned in the health care team. I see huge opportunities to expand what we do and to see pharmacists enter new and different practices. We are accessible and the first line of care for patients. We can offer so many services if we could overcome some of the regulatory hurdles that exist.
Women, as part of this service model, are perfectly positioned to help and care for patients. I’m excited to see this unfold. Women currently perform up to 93% of family care. Let’s use this amazing skill for our profession.