I started working in pharmacy at the young age of 15. It was a community pharmacy in Encino, California, that had a video department and large gift department in addition to the pharmacy. I will never forget the relationship the pharmacist had with our patients and the difference the services we offered made in their lives. I was always interested in math and science, and I was blessed to work under such an amazing pharmacist. He was definitely an influence in my decision to pursue pharmacy as a career. He shared everything there was to know about pharmacy and before I knew it, I was counting pills, typing prescriptions, and interacting with doctors and patients.
After graduating high school (at 16 years old), I moved to Northern California to start college with a focus on pre-pharmacy. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and I had to take some time away from school to work full time. I applied for a position at the local pharmacy in Eureka, California, but what I found was that since I had moved, the Board of Pharmacy had implemented the registration process for pharmacy technicians. I had experience “teching” but now I needed to fulfill the requirements in order to get registered. After achieving that, I moved on and was one of the first groups of technicians in the country to be certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. I became a test question writer for the Certification Exam and tutored other fellow technicians who wanted become certified like me.
In 1996, I was introduced to compounding and fell in love. As someone who loves to cook, it felt very natural, and I instantly saw how we could help hospice patients, children with autism, and even dogs and cats. It was so rewarding, and I loved everything I was doing, but I wanted more. My boss was a CPhA member, and as I was researching to see if the Association would benefit me, I started looking at our Local Association and was instrumental in reviving it, oftentimes gathering fifty pharmacists and technicians for CE dinners and association meetings. I continued my advocacy in CPhA serving as Academy of Pharmacy Technicians (APT) Chair, APT Board of Trustees member, and on numerous other committees. Protecting and advancing the profession is a passion of mine, and I am so proud to say I am a pharmacy technician. While I never returned to complete my pharmacy degree, I did go back to get an MBA and an MS. Because of my love for compounding, I have moved on from working in the pharmacy to helping other community pharmacies add compounding to their practice and showing them how they can help patients through customized medications. I am active at the state and national level and most recently was elected to the Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding Board of Directors, a national alliance that protects the compounding profession.
The pharmacy world has changed a lot in twenty-five years, and technicians are a vital part of that world. We have continued to gain responsibility year after year, and I am excited for the future. I encourage not just technicians but everyone in pharmacy to get involved. It takes a village, and we need everyone’s help to continue to advance and protect the pharmacy profession. I am PROUD to be a Pharmacy Technician and encourage you to get involved. Be proud and remember your voice matters!