To mark International Women’s Day, Pharmacist Support approached several influential women within the world of Pharmacy today. Here, we talk with Lottie Bain – graduate scientist at pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca & former president of the BPSA about her experiences.
Who are/were your role models?
The first time I think I really felt inspired to take notice of the wider profession was attending my first BPSA Annual Conference as an undergraduate. The BPSA Executive of the time became my role models of the kind of student that I wanted to be and inspired me to run for election onto the Executive myself. Whilst on the Executive, I worked alongside some incredible women including two who were elected as President’s to the Association in the year’s preceding my own term – Katy Parsons and Chloe O’Beirne. Both these women have been huge inspirations to me. Since then, I have met so many incredible and inspiring women within the profession it is difficult to name a few. In my current role within the pharmaceutical industry we now have four women on our Senior Executive Team, so there’s plenty to aspire to!
What has been the defining moment in your career so far?
Being still early in my career, I suspect there are some big defining moments still to come. But certainly getting involved with the BPSA, and particularly taking on the role of BPSA President is something that has had an enormous impact on both the direction of my career and my enthusiasm for my profession. What I loved most was the opportunity to be a role model myself and inspire the next generation of pharmacy students, as previous BPSA Executives and President’s did for me.
What does it mean to be a woman in the profession?
I think we have a strong history of successful women in pharmacy. Certainly when I joined the pharmaceutical industry, I was impressed by how many of the senior women I met were pharmacists and we have women representatives now in senior roles within all areas of the profession. I think our challenge as the next generation of women coming into the profession is to make sure we strive to continue this trend, and I can’t see any barriers to us achieving that personally. I think we have an incredibly inclusive profession, and I am proud to be a part of it.
And finally, given the charity’s focus on wellbeing – a question we ask all of our interviewees – Do you have any wellbeing tips of coping mechanisms that might help others in the profession?
I think my best advice is to never be afraid of asking questions and seek support from your colleagues when you need it. Trying to manage everything yourself without asking for help or support is what will lead to stress, and possibly mistakes. In the long term, it won’t do you any good. I am proud to be an ambitious and high achieving woman, and I want to be a successful and positive role model to others. That means that sometimes, I am very keen to prove myself and want to show what I can do independently. That’s fine, but I have learnt how important it is to know your limits and when to ask for support. It is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of somebody who has good self-awareness and that is essential to having an enjoyable and rewarding career.