Capital Chemist Wanniassa has rounded out a bumper year by taking out the banner group’s top award
Elise Apolloni, co-owner of the multi-award-winning pharmacy, paid tribute to her team and its hard work after the pharmacy was named Capital Chemist of the Year at the group’s Christmas party.
“Our team worked extremely hard this year – it’s one thing to implement some great innovations and come up with some great extra ways to help your community, but it’s another thing entirely to maintain and grow those innovations,” she told the AJP.
“So the team had a big task this year to find ways and means to grow opportunities and maintain the professional services space, that’s what they’ve done and they’ve been recognised for it.”
The award is based on criteria around engagement with the community, volunteering, spreading healthy messages, implementing services and “all that stuff that takes us outside our pharmacy’s four walls”.
In 2017 alone, the pharmacy has been named Pharmacy of the Year (Professional Innovation) and joint GuildCare Pharmacy of the Year; Ms Apolloni has been named PSA Young Pharmacist of the Year, Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year; and Telstra Entrepreneur of the Year, Business woman and Young Business Woman of the Year for the ACT.
Ms Apolloni was also named AJP’s top Rising Star, with colleague Kayla Lee coming in at number seven; Ms Lee also won the UTS Innovative Pharmacist of the Year title. The pharmacy’s Morgan Kennedy came in at number six in the Rising Stars campaign, and was named Guild Intern of the Year.
“People say you mustn’t be shocked [to win] any more, but we were shocked,” Ms Apolloni says. “It’s always a surprise because you know there’s many, many pharmacies doing amazing things right across the country.
“It’s not all just about us: we’re aware of all the cool things happening elsewhere as well.”
The team celebrated afterwards – by having an early night.
“Last year when we won we booked karaoke and sang till 2am, but this year, we discussed it beforehand and came to the conclusion that it’s been a big year and maybe it would be best to celebrate by having an eight-hour sleep, which was great for our mental health!
“We were also really excited that the runner-up was Capital Chemist Charnwood. We have a really close relationship with them, for example the palliative care program the Primary Health Network has funded is administered between us.
“It’s been a crazy year, but we’re all about sharing what we do, and the best thing about it has been the opportunity to get people passionate about pharmacy again.”
Finalists in the awards were Wanniassa, Charnwood, Calwell, Braidwood, Kambah and Kingston.
Team member of the year
The title of team member of the year, which can go to a dispensary technician, pharmacy assistant, retail manager, pharmacist or other employee, went to Sue Jovanovic.
Group Business Manager for Capital Chemist Andrew Topp told the AJP that the award is nominated by employers and requires a candidate to have worked for the group for at least two years and show that they have a strong career in pharmacy.
Ms Jovanovic has been with the group nearly 29 years, after she started one day a week at the Kambah store. In the nomination by her employer, her title is listed as “Retail Manager, staff leader, mentor, mother figure and exceptional team member”.
Mr Topp says she has “mentored literally hundreds of staff members, including pharmacists, who have to learn their way around the pharmacy”.
She was instrumental in organising the HENS scheme, which Mr Topp says was a “life-changing professional service back before we ever had professional services,” helping people who needed to be fed liquid food via a tube.
“There were so many people taking up hospital beds that could really be at home, but they needed somewhere to collect food and rent out the pumps – so a whole new ballgame started for me,” Ms Jovanavic told the AJP.
“I worked with the dieticians at the Canberra Hospital – eventually they’d ring me for advice! It was a wonderful service.”