Board Profile: Kathy Komperda, ICHP Secretary

by Sheila Allen, Pharm.D., BCPS Coordinator, Academic Programs; Clinical Assistant Professor University of Illinois College of Pharmacy
February 17, 2009

This article spotlights ICHP Board of Directors member Kathy Komperda (Fit). Kathy is a new practitioner and is a recent elect to the office of Secretary on the ICHP Board. Kathy is an example of what opportunities await all ICHP new practitioners who are eager to get involved and make a difference in pharmacy within Illinois. This is Kathy’s story of how her involvement in ICHP has guided her career compass and kept her passionate about the profession of pharmacy.

Where did you go to pharmacy school?

I went to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy and am a proud graduate of the class of 2004.

Trace your professional history since graduation: where have you trained/worked, any special accomplishments?

After graduation, I completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency with a Focus on Education at Midwestern University (MWU) Chicago College of Pharmacy. Upon completion of my residency, I took an Assistant Professor position at Midwestern University in conjunction with a Clinical Pharmacist position at Mercy Family Health Center. In 2006, I was Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy.

What initially motivated you to get involved, and what benefits do you see in being active in a professional association such as ICHP?

As a student I got involved within ICHP and served as Chapter President of UIC’s student chapter. I remember attending a Spring Meeting in St. Louis as a 1st year pharmacy student. I was impressed with the interactions among the Board members and flattered with the welcoming they offered a student. I suppose I didn’t know the opportunities and professional connections that awaited me, but I knew then that this was an organization that listens to the voices of all members, and that appealed to me. I actually have a St. Louis poster in my office from that trip, and I have been asked many times if I am from there. I answer by explaining that the poster is a memento from a meeting that I attended that changed my view on who I could become within the profession of pharmacy.

After graduation, I was encouraged by colleagues, fellow ICHP members and my own passion for pharmacy to continue my involvement within ICHP. I continued my involvement by serving as an executive member of the New Practitioners Network (NPN) and volunteered to serve as Faculty Advisor for MWU’s ICHP student chapter. Currently, I am actively involved in the Division of Government Affairs and was recently elected to the office of Secretary.

ICHP has played an intricate role in who I am as a pharmacist and a professional today by providing many opportunities to network with leaders in pharmacy from various settings. In addition, connecting with other young pharmacy professionals who want to make a difference within the profession has influenced me to stay involved with ICHP. It has kept me current on the issues that face pharmacy today and has provided me a voice within the practice of pharmacy in Illinois.

What are the rewards and challenges of being a newer practitioner on the Board of ICHP?

I would say that the biggest reward is the opportunity to see “the behind the scenes” of the organization. I believe it has given me a better understanding for the rationale behind certain initiatives. A challenge that I face is time commitment, a struggle for most new practitioners wanting to become more involved. However, I believe the rewards that I get out of serving on the Board is worth the value of my time, and it is a small sacrifice that we all make on the Board in hopes to see the organization and profession succeed.

What advice would you give to a new practitioner eager to become more involved within ICHP?

Pick a division that interests you. Get in contact with the Division Director and dial in to their next conference call. Listen, voice your opinions, and become an actively involved member. It doesn’t take much more than initiative. It is a great way to learn about the organization and will open the doors to many opportunities.

As a newer practitioner, what would you like to see accomplished within pharmacy?

I would like to witness the acquisition of provider status both state wide and nationally. That would really put pharmacy on the map.

Do you have any special interests or hobbies outside of pharmacy?

I recently got married and purchased a home. My husband and I spend a lot of free time in Home Depot; they actually know us by name. I enjoy cooking, and lucky for me my husband doesn’t mind burnt food, or at least as of yet. (Perhaps he does not have the heart to tell me.) I am also starting to enjoy scrapbooking.

What is the most interesting/unique fact about yourself that few people know?

I am not sure if this is a unique rather than a random fact, but I am taking my honeymoon this January although I got married in October due to my husband’s work schedule. I admit I was a little disappointed initially. We are going to St. Lucia and in hindsight, based on the weather we have been enduring, it might have been the best luck ever. I hope this good fortune continues to follow us.

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