What my fellowship means to me
Pharmacy runs in the Little family. Here’s Jonathan Little with Courtney, his sister and coworker at Hospital Discount Pharmacy.
In May 2020, I became the fifth pharmacist in my family—all of us having graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy. While I have gained a lot of pharmacy knowledge and perspective from my pharmacist family members over the years, I knew I wanted a very different career path.
Thanks in large part to an APPE rotation at APhA in August 2019, I realized that my most immediate calling was to pursue a career with APhA through the Executive Fellowship in Association Management and Leadership. The reason I love this nontraditional career path is simple: I want to serve pharmacists by advancing the profession.
The virtual fellow
When the APhA Annual Meeting became virtual-only in March 2020, I realized that my fellowship experience might look much different from what I had originally expected. Having experienced the charm of APhA Headquarters in Washington, DC, I was looking forward to getting back there and jumping in feet first! While of course there was some initial disappointment when this was no longer possible, I decided to focus on the positives and make the year a great one.
Since the fellowship began this past June, my work projects have continued to increase in responsibility and scope. I have a large role in managing the Pinnacle Awards, Incentive Grants, and Student Scholarship Program for the APhA Foundation. While these three programs certainly require a lot of attention, I have also been very fortunate to gain exposure to many different departments across APhA. In addition to learning from leaders in the APhA Pharmacy Practice and Government Affairs departments while helping them with department-specific projects as they arise, I have worked with and actively contributed to the Education department.
Developing as a leader
One aspect of the fellowship that I think often gets overlooked by outsiders is the “and Leadership” part of the Executive Fellowship in Association Management and Leadership. Through these first 8 months, APhA staff have done a great job pouring knowledge and experience into me as an individual and helping me to develop as a leader.
In our marketing materials for this fellowship, you won’t see “be surrounded by a team that wants to invest in you and help you chase your dreams.” But that is what I have received this year: genuine care, intentional guidance, and purposeful conversation from amazing staff members whom I now call colleagues and friends.
Through topic discussions and structured mentoring sessions, my leadership skills have developed enormously. Many of my colleagues have recommended phenomenal leadership books that I’ve taken upon myself to read—Good to Great, Results That Last, Atomic Habits, and The Speed of Trust, to name a few. Through all these experiences, I have expanded my understanding of leadership as I continue to develop as an individual.
Thriving during a year of change
Working for APhA has given me many unique and valuable experiences that I will carry with me into the future. It’s an honor to say that I work for APhA. The lessons I’ve learned this year have shaped me into the pharmacist I am today and will remain influential to my career as it unfolds.
Jonathan Little, PharmD, is the APhA Foundation Executive Fellow in Association Management and Leadership and works remotely from Oklahoma City, OK.