Pharmacy’s 10 Rising Stars

We reveal our readers choice for the 10 early career pharmacists who are leading the profession into the future

Well actually our readers have identified a lot more than 10 fantastic ECPs. In reality we’ve received votes for over 100 brilliant ECPs, each of whom could no doubt have deserved to be included in the final list.

But there can only be 10 final Rising Stars, and these pharmacy leaders of the future (and present) who gained the highest number of votes are profiled here, in the order of votes received.

The 10 Rising Stars of Pharmacy are:

1. Elise Apolloni – In the world of Australian pharmacy, 2017 belongs to Elise Apolloni, co-owner of Capital Chemist Wanniassa, in the ACT and co-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


2. Taren Gill – the first PSA National Board Early Career Pharmacist director, appointed to this role in 2016. As a multi-skilled pharmacist, she works in several areas of practice including as Deputy Director of Pharmacy at Orange Hospital, a community pharmacist at Blooms the Chemist Orange and as a pharmacy lecturer at Charles Sturt University supporting students at Orange and Wagga Wagga.

end the negativity about pharmacy: Taren Gill

3. Krysti-Lee Rigby – newly elected to the PSA NSW branch committee this year, community pharmacist Krysti-Lee Rigby has had a busy 2017 taking a position as Pharmacist in Charge at Life Pharmacy in the country town of Forbes, as well as acting as national representative for the PSA NSW ECP Working Group.

4. Jacinta Johnson – a Lecturer in Pharmacy within the School of Pharmacy and Medical Science at the University of South Australia. She holds the position of Senior Pharmacist – Clinical Educator at Flinders Medical Centre and has recent experience practicing as a specialist clinical pharmacist in their High Dependency Unit, and in primary healthcare working in with Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia and in community pharmacy. She graduated from the University of South Australia in 2008.

5. Sam Turner – a popular and high-profile President of NAPSA during his tenure in 2014/15. He is now Pharmacist Manager at Priceline Pharmacy in Hervey Bay, Qld, where he has worked since January after completing his internship in Brisbane at Terry White Chemists Brookside. Sam has 10 years community pharmacy experience working during his university years and even during high school at Terry White Chemists Myer Centre.

Sam Turner

6. Morgan Kennedy – the 2016 Pharmacy Intern of the Year, Morgan is one of the cutting-edge team at Capital Chemist Wanniassa. Morgan has worked for the Capital Chemist group for 10 years, as a pharmacy assistant, then as a pharmacist.    


7. Kayla Lee – Another of the influential ‘Wanni White Coats’ of Capital Chemist Wanniassa, Kayla is a first-year registered professional services pharmacist. Kayla is currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Mental Health to further her work in this specialist area.

Kayla Lee

8. Luke Vrankovich – one half of the young locum collective called The Roaming Pharmacists, Luke travels Australia contributing in various roles, as locums, speakers and travellers, with a focus on mental health and harm minimisation. A Mental Health First Aid provider, currently undertaking medication review accreditation, Luke (left below, with Roaming Pharmacists founder Liam Murphy) was the 2014 MIMS Guild Intern of the Year.

Luke Vrankovich Liam Murphy 

9. Jacqueline Kiel – Managing Partner of two LiveLife Community Pharmacies on the Sunshine Coast, Jacqueline is the current vice president of the PSA QLD Branch Committee and chair of the QLD Early Career Pharmacist Working Group. She was selected in 2016 to the Ministerial Health Care Homes Advisory Committee as the only pharmacist representative.

Jacqueline Kiel

10. Teresa DiFranco – has had a rapid rise to the presidency of the WA branch committee of PSA from 2014-2017, after registering as a pharmacist in 2010. The 2016 WA Young Pharmacist of the Year, Teresa is also a pharmacist credentialled diabetes educator and completed her training at the University of Western Australia and Curtin University. She co-owns Perth Diabetes Care, a multidisciplinary clinic based at her pharmacy: Friendlies East Victoria Park. 

Teresa DiFranco

The following five pharmacists also received substantial  numbers of votes

Amy Page – consultant pharmacist and research assistant at the University of Western Australia, and the 2015 PSA Young Pharmacist of the Year.

Jennifer Culverson – a NSW hospital pharmacist who is a member of the PSA’s Early Career Pharmacist Working Group and its ECP White Paper Advisory Group.

Rob Farrier – a South Australian pharmacist “currently employed as a store manager or officially as Pharmacist in Charge at a high service community pharmacy in the western suburbs of Adelaide”. He is business development manager for National Pharmacies group.

Joseph Foster – a Western Australian pharmacist who was the 2016 PSA Intern Pharmacist of the Year. He is a Master of Pharmacy graduate of Curtin University. 

Sam Keitaanpaa – Northern Territory pharmacist and GlobalVoices Y20 Delegate with an interest in health policy and strategic use of health as a service, especially in remote and Aboriginal health.

Tomorrow, we will feature a selection of the best nominations for these fifteen, and other ECPs.  

There were 220 separate reader nominations received, with over 700 votes cast in total. We’d like to thank all readers who voted for their participation.

We will be running interviews with many of our top 10 over coming weeks. A full feature of the 10, plus those who were ‘bubbling under’ is in the October AJP magazine, out early this month.

Previous Research Roundup
Next Rising Star scoops Telstra Awards

NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.


  1. Karalyn Huxhagen

    This past year has seen even me go to the depths of despair for the profession I love. Watching and reading about these young pharmacists helps me to get out of bed and keep going each day. Their passion, drive and influence keeps those of us who have become jaded keep going. You are amazing, talented and such wonderful ambassadors for our profession. Never give up your passon

  2. Debbie Rigby

    Congratulations to all these brilliant pharmacists, proud of being a pharmacist and making a difference. And note 8 out of 10 are women!!! The future is pharmacy is good in their hands.

    • Amanda Galbraith

      8 out of 10, well spotted Debbie. 🙂

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