Staying Involved Keeps me Current and is Critical to my Growth
Contributed by Joni Bradley, PharmD, Class of 1990
Each of us is shaped by the sum of our successes and failures. Every triumph and misstep contribute to who we are as individuals and how we perceive the world. They affect our viewpoints, playing a unique role in the choices we make and the future we mold. It was the interactions, experiences, and decisions I made during my college days, and just after graduating, that propelled me into a career in medical communications – an industry that I likely wouldn’t have encountered if the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy (U-M COP) faculty hadn’t encouraged me to participate in the ASHP (American Society of Health System Pharmacy) personnel placement services.
Since visiting the pharmacy department at Lynn Hospital with my aunt when I was 12, I’ve been enamored by the role of the pharmacist – especially by their contributions to the healthcare team and direct patient care. What I struggled with, however, was what many find to be the hardest part of healthcare: watching patients suffer. Medical communications was the compromise I didn’t know I needed. This nontraditional pharmacy role was a perfect fit for me, my life, and my personality. The position allowed me to use my pharmacy training and love of drug information to help make an impact on patients and their families, through education and awareness. This passion, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, eventually fueled a desire to venture out on my own and start JB Ashtin. I’m grateful for the role the COP faculty played in helping me identify my passion.
This year, we are celebrating our 20th anniversary. I know without a doubt that JB Ashtin exists because of the leaders who inspired me, my own leadership team, and amazing staff. Our team consistently reexamines and reflects on our vision and culture to ensure that we are always moving forward – learning from our successes and ‘successful failures’.
Involvement and Giving Back
A big part of my continual growth both professionally and personally, is coaching and learning from those who are just starting their careers. For the past two decades, I’ve remained involved with the U-M COP as a preceptor to P4 students, and more recently, as a member of the college’s Board of Governors (BOG). Since being elected to the board in 2016, I’ve participated in meetings and contributed to discussions about the curriculum, experiential training, fundraising, and creating more awareness for the college. The most rewarding part of serving on this board, however, has been my interactions with students during their presentations to the board, and mock interview and flash networking opportunities. Their energy, enthusiasm, desire to succeed, and innovative ideas are contagious, and I always learn something from them. Mentoring and coaching are sometimes difficult to fit into busy schedules, but the tradeoff is helping students grow, learn, and pave their future, which is so worth the investment.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the BOG – it’s a great way to remain involved with the college, connect with students, and further sharpen leadership and mentoring abilities. It also serves as a reminder of my own roots: at one point we were all students zealously pursuing our life’s passion, which to me, is worth remembering. Nominations for the board are open now, so consider nominating a colleague or even yourself! Each choice helps to shape and form how we perceive ourselves and the world, I can confidently say the choice to participate in BOG was a great one.