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Podcast – How I overcame challenges to rise through the ranks at Rowlands

In the latest episode of the A Coffee With... podcast series, Rowlands senior regional manager Claire Chapman discusses why her last-minute decision to study pharmacy might just be the best thing she ever did

Ms Chapman’s journey with Rowlands started when she joined the chain as a pharmacy student at the age of 19, she tells the podcast – which launched for a fourth series today (March 8) to mark International Women's Day.

But life could have turned out very differently for Ms Chapman, who only decided to pursue pharmacy the night before she had to make a final decision on what course she wanted to study at university.

The inspiration to embark on a career in pharmacy came from a place rather close to home. Having worked in the community sector herself, Ms Chapman’s mother recommended that she choose pharmacy as she could vouch for it being “a good job” for women.

Since joining Rowlands over 20 years ago, Ms Chapman has taken on a number of positions at the chain – including becoming an area manager for Wrexham and the Wirral at just 27. This year, she became Rowlands’ senior regional manager, acting as conduit between regional branches, regional management and the multiple’s senior management team.

Please note that this podcast was recorded remotely, which may at times affect sound quality.

“Precocious” by nature, she has made a point of asking senior colleagues about their own pharmacy journeys throughout her career, and cites Margaret Macrury – who stepped down from a 10-year stint as Rowlands’ superintendent last January – as a particular source of inspiration.

However, Ms Chapman’s career has not been without its challenges.

Read more: Podcast – My journey to become AIMp CEO and how I stand up for pharmacies

Although she notes that roles in pharmacy are now more flexible than they used to be, the challenges of returning to work after maternity leave saw her give up a job in head office in favour of being “a proper community pharmacist” working in-branch.

While she felt at the time that her career had “stalled”, the insights she gained into the challenges of delivering services on the ground proved invaluable once she climbed the ladder to a more senior position.

And as far as she's concerned, there are exciting times ahead for the pharmacy profession.

"I'm massively excited about the future of community pharmacy as a whole, for everybody," says Ms Chapman. "[There are] opportunities for clinical development that just weren't there when I qualified. My inner pharmacist is really, really excited about that."

Listen to the podcast to find out:

  • how Ms Chapman has managed to balance a career in pharmacy with the demands of having a family
  • her role in moving Welsh community pharmacy to a service-based future
  • the importance of learning to let go.


You can listen to the podcast above. Alternatively, follow C+D’s podcasts by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred app or on Soundcloud

Join C+D's Women in Pharmacy group for free by registering for free on the C+D Community

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