We chat with Elise Apolloni, who was voted an industry standout by her peers

In the world of Australian pharmacy, 2017 belongs to Elise Apolloni, co-owner of Capital Chemist Wanniassa, in the ACT—leader of the infamous ‘Wanni white coats’.

In this calendar year alone, Elise (and/or her pharmacy) have been recognised with the following honours (and this doesn’t include the pharmacy’s classic singing videos):

  • PSA Young Pharmacist of the Year
  • Pharmacy of the Year award for Professional Innovation
  • Pharmacy of the Year finalist
  • Guild Care Pharmacy of the Year
  • Telstra ACT Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Telstra ACT Young Business Woman of the Year
  • Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year 
  • Telstra ACT Small Business Award

And now, she’s also been voted this year’s top “rising star of pharmacy” by AJP readers.

We spoke to Elise about her time in pharmacy and her advice for other ECPs or students.

AJP: Congratulations on all your success this year. Given what you’ve learnt and achieved, what advice would you have for other early career pharmacists?

EA: Just get excited about it! And if you’re not excited where you are, come and talk to me! I think it’s really easy to get stuck in negativity and fear when you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to see what’s out there. It’s not necessarily even about finding the perfect workplace, it’s about finding that infectious excitement that helps.

Natasha Jovanoska and Elise Apolloni, the Singing Pharmacists.

It’s about having conversations with people that get your butterflies in your stomach fluttering about your industry again. It’s important we motivate each other when our moods are getting low or our morale is waning.

AJP: How did you decide to become a pharmacist?

EA: It’s slightly embarrassing, actually. My first career choices were vulcanologist or doctor, and then my parents told me there weren’t any active volcanos in Australia. I was really upset by that! Then in Year 10 we had to do work experience … the careers advisor said, “You’re okay at science and maths, you have to do something in healthcare”. She forced me to go to my local Capital Chemist and I loved it. I got offered a job halfway through my placement, ended up doing half my internship there and half at Wanniassa.

Once I’d done my work experience placement I was sold, and by the end of Year 12 I knew that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an owner: I thought that was a cool job, a way to look after your community.

AJP: What are you excited about?

Capital Chemist Wanniassa team

The Capital Chemist Wanniassa team.

EA: I’m excited about new professional services, about new income opportunities for pharmacy, and the ability to better tailor and provide our services to members of our community under different remuneration models, which potentially could include Medicare.

I’m excited by the next generation of pharmacists coming through, and they continue to excite me.

AJP: You have a strong focus on professional services; which is your keenest interest?

EA: I really like the mental health stuff the most— the accidental counsellor that comes out in so many pharmacists. The fact that without knowing it you can really help someone’s state of mind is so powerful.

Pharmacists are so well equipped at listening and understanding about the horrible things that happen in people’s lives and they can be such a supportive voice. So many people don’t talk to anyone else.

What the readers said:

  • “I heard her speak at the PSA conference—if anyone can unite the PSA and the Guild it is her!!!”
  • “Elise Apolloni, pharmacist, owner, diabetes, asthma and mental health educator, multi award winner!”
  • “She is a leader beyond her years and volunteers so much of her time to the industry.”
  • “Elise Apolloni is my inspiration and the inspiration of a lot of my friends in pharmacy and mental health.”

Look out for more interviews with pharmacy’s rising stars in the coming days and weeks!