There’s no ‘ME’ in leadership


Leadership is the decision to take what you believe in and act on it while inspiring those around you to do the same, writes Sandra Minas

Imagine that you’re a first-year pharmacy student being asked to not only attend an annual general meeting but be a part of the decision making and voting.

You also need to travel to another state and be with other students you have never met before. Would you take the opportunity, or would you shy away?

Well, I was presented with this exact opportunity and without completely understanding it, I agreed to go. I put my hand up and I said ‘yes’.

Little did I know what this decision would bring in the future. After attending my first National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) annual general meeting, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of pharmacy.

I was in awe of the passion and dedication the other students had and felt so inspired that the next year, I applied to be the NAPSA Liaison Chair of my local branch, the Bendigo Association of Pharmacy Students (BAPS).

After I learnt about NAPSA I wanted to continue to be involved, from NAPSA Pharmacy Awareness Chair, to BAPS Vice-President, Executive Director on the NAPSA Board and then finally in the role as NAPSA President.

Throughout this time, I was always given an opportunity to grow and most importantly make an impact on a profession that I became immensely passionate about. I continuously learnt from those before me and those new to me.

With each new position and each new experience, I was challenged, I was pushed further outside my comfort zone.

And I quickly realised that as students and as NAPSA we have an extremely unique opportunity to contribute to change. To influence change. To build the future of pharmacy that we want to see.

From these experiences, I also came to realise that the more passionate and positive people I was surrounded by, the more I was inspired and the more driven I became.

As students sometimes we are not sure where we’re going and what we will end up doing, which is where a mentor comes in.

Throughout each role I had a clearly defined mentor to help with my specific role. But I also had mentors who probably didn’t even know they were my mentors. Those that were successful, that I looked up to and took advice from, they shaped my ideas and actions. Do you have a mentor and don’t know it?

Leadership is often defined in terms of title and power. Prior to my journey through NAPSA I may have agreed with these statements to a certain degree.

However, now I believe that leadership is not just a title. It is the decision to take your passion, what you believe in and act on it, while inspiring those around you to do the same. A leader is someone who supports those around them and provides encouragement.

If there’s anything advice I give to those looking to challenge themselves and be leaders, it would be:

  1. Turn up, say yes.
  2. Find what you’re passionate about.
  3. Then be passionate and surround yourself with positive people.
  4. Learn from those around you and appreciate them.
  5. Don’t let a setback stop you from moving forward.

Your pharmacy degree is not the end – it is only the beginning. 

Your choices will contribute to the leader you will be in the future and you never know what one opportunity will bring you.

So finally, I ask you, if your answer at the beginning was ‘no,’ would you now consider the contrary?

Sandra Minas is NAPSA Immediate Past President.

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