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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy
Leadershape: Looking Inward to Discover True Leadership

by Justin Shiau, P2, President-Elect SIUE School of Pharmacy

The SIUE School of Pharmacy is full of renewed energy with classes in full swing, and a brand new wave of P1 students looking forward to future experiences. On top of all the classwork, students’ schedules are full with volunteering and attending local and national conferences. The SIUE SSHP chapter started the school year off strong with a whopping attendance of 110 students at the first general meeting held in August! We presented the close connection that we have with ICHP and ASHP to new students, as well as the benefits that come with joining our large health-system family. We could not have done this without the efficient and quality planning of our executive board (e-board). To ensure that our chapter continues to succeed, we encourage our e-board members to facilitate strong bonds with each other. One annual tradition that we have is to participate in a team-building activity to strengthen our teamwork. This year, we went to downtown St. Louis where we set a record time for STL Escape The Room! It was a great experience being able to spend time with the other e-board members and get to know them better.

Here at SIUE SSHP we also like to promote effective leadership skills and are always looking for ways to develop and rejuvenate these skills. One such way is by attending the annual ICHP Student Leadership Retreat each fall. The retreat is a day-long event that ICHP hosts for every e-board student chapter in Illinois. Each year, the current president of ICHP speaks on a topic related to leadership. This year, we had the honor of listening to Dr. Noelle Chapman speak about her perspective on leadership. Conner McClain, our Vice President, eagerly took this opportunity for leadership to further advance his own personal goals as well as benefit SIUE’s SSHP chapter.

“The ICHP Student Leadership Retreat was a great opportunity to learn more about what ICHP has to offer, meet and interact with executive board members from other schools, and build upon our fundamental leadership skills. One of my favorite aspects of the retreat was when we had the chance to listen to Dr Noelle Chapman speak about what it means to be a leader. Her energy combined with her interactive teaching style and personal leadership experiences allowed me to truly comprehend what she was saying and realize the ever-evolving role of a leader. Besides challenging and pushing myself to become an improved leader, this retreat allowed the executive boards from all of the pharmacy schools to bond. We were able to ask each other questions in a judgement-free environment and learn what unique qualities each SSHP chapter brought to the table. To be surrounded by individuals with the same goals of improving and growing our local chapters as well as cultivating a culture of prospering health-systems pharmacists was something I will never forget. I would highly recommend attending this retreat to all future e-board members. This experience is a great time to strengthen the bond of your executive board, meet new people, network, grow as a leader, and more.”
– Conner McClain, P3, Vice President

Leadership in pharmacy is a continuously growing area. We are in a time where pharmacy is beginning to take its stand and form its place next to other healthcare providers. Leadership has had a long-time image of being a hierarchical structure with one individual at the top, supported by a group of individuals at the bottom. It made sense to many people since – after all – leadership would cease to exist if there were no followers. However, leadership is beginning to shape itself into an image of equality with direction. As Dr. Chapman had presented, there are over 20 types of leadership roles! Each role has a purpose and it is not just one type of leader being at the top. Leadership is “an introspective sport”. It takes a lot of internal reflection to truly find what style of leader you are. You could have one style or multiple styles in a certain situation; but at the end of the day, what matters is that effective leadership can take the shape of many different aspects. 

With this newfound knowledge of leadership under our belts and the ICHP Annual meeting coming up very soon, we hope to continue our great success here at the SIUE SSHP student chapter.


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