Worth the wait
Augustine Bui, PharmD, MBA, is the 2021–22 Executive Fellow for the Michigan Pharmacists Association in Lansing, MI.
I found my passion for advocacy and association management work during the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of my last APPE back in April 2020, I was asked a simple question: “Did your association management APPE change your goals as a pharmacist?” Though I immediately provided “No” as an answer, over the next couple of days, I kept pondering that same question, and after speaking with some mentors, it dawned on me that I would be a great fit in association management.
The problem was that I knew that I would have a difficult path ahead of me because, at the time, most of the executive fellowship positions in association management had already been filled.
After graduating, I decided to move from Tennessee to California in order to be with family through the pandemic and to determine the next steps in my career. It was during this time that an underclassman reached out to me, asking for advice on his campaign for president-elect of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association. Throughout the summer, I coached him on his campaign, including helping him develop his speeches and working on his virtual interview etiquette.
While looking for a pharmacy job, I also continued to volunteer within my local Vietnamese community, and work with my parish leaders to ensure that members of our congregation were able to follow local quarantine protocols.
Ups and downs
My journey was not easy as the calendar page turned to 2021. It was a challenge going through the application and interview process as a nontraditional candidate who was a year out of school. There were plenty of instances through this undertaking that I questioned my own conviction. Life will continue to throw you curveballs, but opportunities will always present themselves when you least expect it. I was constantly reminded of my favorite quote, by author Debra Evans: “Life is like an EKG. Without the ups and downs, you’re not living.” Even though I felt discouraged at times, I continued to work toward my goals.
Fast forward to today, and I am sitting in my office as the next Executive Fellow for the Michigan Pharmacists Association. In just a short time, I have engaged with the association’s members, answered pharmacy law-related questions, and promoted the advancement of the profession of pharmacy.
The road was rough, but I persevered and rolled with the ups and downs. And the answer to that question about the APPE changing my goals is now a resounding, “Yes!”