“It’s not a recognition that I take lightly”

Elise Apolloni from Capital Chemist Wanniassa has scored the National Telstra Young Business Women’s Award

Elise Apolloni, the co-owner of Capital Chemist Wanniassa in the ACT along with business partner Honor Penprase, was recognised in an awards ceremony on Tuesday night.

Capital Chemist Wanniassa is well-known for its huge focus on professional services and mental health support, its strong team culture and, of course, their singing videos!

Ms Apolloni, who has won a string of awards and honours this year – including AJP’s number one Rising Star – says she will use the recognition to bolster the pharmacy profession.

“It has not fully sunk in yet but it’s an enormous honour. It’s not a recognition that I will take lightly,” she tells AJP.

“It’s the highest honour for our profession, in my speech I spoke about pharmacists and all the ways we help people. It’s a great opportunity to shine a light on pharmacists and what we do.”

Elise poses with her award on the night. Photo: Ayesha Razzaq

In this calendar year alone, Elise (and/or her pharmacy) has been recognised with the following honours:

  • PSA Young Pharmacist of the Year
  • Pharmacy of the Year Award (Professional Innovation)
  • Guild Care Pharmacy of the Year
  • Telstra National Young Business Women’s Award
  • Telstra ACT Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Telstra ACT Young Business Woman of the Year
  • Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year

She says next year they plan to keep growing the pharmacy, taking on more pharmacists and interns, and developing more professional services.

For next year, Ms Apolloni has also booked flights to visit Alberta, Canada with her colleague Kayla Lee (who was recognised as this year’s Innovative Pharmacist of the Year) “to see what pharmacy looks like over there”.

In addition to this, Ms Apolloni plans to keep advocating for pharmacists and the pharmacy profession.

“I’m sure I’ll have plenty of Telstra commitments next year, but I’ll be taking every opportunity to tell people about what pharmacists do,” she says.

President of the ACT Branch of the Pharmacy Guild, Simon Blacker, has congratulated Ms Apolloni on her award.

“Elise is a great example of a community pharmacist embracing the new model of pharmacy which places a greater emphasis on the delivery of professional services,” he says.

“She is not afraid to challenge accepted conventions to ensure that her patients receive the best possible care and that her business thrives in the tough environment we face today.”

He adds that Ms Apolloni has integrated mental health services into the pharmacy and extends her interest further, volunteering as a telephone crisis support worker at Lifeline Canberra and as a phone counsellor for the National Pharmacists’ Support Service.

PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson says: “Ms Apolloni’s innovation and leadership are an inspiration to all pharmacists.

“She has been a tireless advocate for the role of pharmacists, including as a PSA ACT Branch Committee member since 2013.”

Elise’s tips for building a strong pharmacy team:

  1. We build our business vision and values with our team, not for them.
  2. Elise manages Capital Chemist Wanniassa with co-owner Honor Penprase.
    We share information – both good and not so good, so our team members feel invested and knowledgeable about how we are performing.
  3. We encourage individual and team growth and success, and celebrate each team member for achieving their own personal goals as well as team goals – we treat every member of our team like family. They are our “pharmacy family” and given that we often spend more time with our pharmacy family than our actual family, we want that time to be fun, inspiring and enriching for our business all at the same time.
  4. We regularly have performance meetings to see if can help our team members reach their own goals better. We also have Pharmspiration meetings so our team members can contribute ideas and it is a chance to inspire each other! Having the ability to influence how your workplace directs their efforts or what projects to focus on is very empowering for our team.
  5. We also make time to have fun together outside work – dinners, wine tours, ice-cream trips (yes, all very food-orientated) are great for team morale.

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