Why a good pharmacy is like a netball team

Karen Firebirds

A good pharmacy manager acts as a coach for his or her pharmacy team, writes former Queensland Firebird Karen Brown

If you were to ask my team (actually, if you were to ask anyone who knows me) to describe me, the following three words would feature heavily – passionate, motivating and driven.

I knew I wanted to be a pharmacist when I was 14. I wanted to help people, and it looked like a “pretty” place to work.

Twenty years, two degrees, a netball career, a husband and two children later, I am living that dream of helping people and part-owning a “pretty” and successful pharmacy.

My netball background (Queensland Firebirds player 2000-2002, Coach and Manager of various State League and Queensland teams 2003-2014) plays a major role in how I run the business and manage my team.

I believe great leaders create an environment that motivates people to do their best.

I see myself as the captain/coach of our Samford Chemmart team. Some owners prefer to “sit in the grandstand” and observe from afar, whereas I would rather be on the court leading by example and doing the hard yards alongside them.

The key, and challenge, to success is having a vision and getting your team to share that vision with the same passion as you.

At Samford Chemmart, we set team and personal goals for the year ahead and everyone is held accountable. These goals are measured and rewarded on a regular basis.

We have an amazing culture within our team which is built on trust, respect and being store proud. My team were so proud at the recent APP Conference when people would approach them and say are you from “The Samford Chemmart?”

Whilst sport has instilled in me a competitive nature and a desire to set high expectations and standards, it has also taught me, to use mistakes as a learning opportunity, have an open office door policy and a “hold no grudges” mentality.

All of these qualities combined create a great team environment and a successful pharmacy.

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence.”

Samford Chemmart team


Karen Brown is the managing partner of the Samford Chemmart Pharmacy, which was the Community Engagement Winner in the Guild Pharmacy of the Year 2016.

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