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Spotlight Series: Anna Paci, Head of Education & Communication, Specialist Pharmacy

ANNA PACI IS THE HEAD OF EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION AT SPECIALIST PHARMACY

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Anna Paci is the head of education and communication at Specialist Pharmacy, which produces the medication prescribed for bioidentical hormones and the required compounded medication.

Anna’s background in Biomedical Science and Phytotherapy equips her to create training and educational materials, such as courses and webinars, peer group events and online learning platforms. She provides guidance and support from pre-enrolment onto courses through to clinical consultation and has seen over 300 medical professionals come through the training programme.

WE SAT DOWN WITH ANNA TO CHAT ABOUT HER JOURNEY INTO THE TECH INDUSTRY, WHAT AN AVERAGE WORKING DAY LOOKS LIKE, AND HER CAREER ADVICE FOR OTHER WOMEN IN TECH.

HOW DID YOU LAND YOUR CURRENT ROLE? WAS IT PLANNED?

Science has always fascinated me, and I studied both biology and chemistry at A level, however, I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go in. I started out studying Biomedical Science but found there was a lack of creativity for me, and I wrongly assumed I would be confined to a white coat in a lab, so a few years later, I decided to study Phytotherapy. Upon graduating, I was looking for some temporary work over the summer and came across Dr Marion Gluck, who was looking for a secretary. She had recently moved to the UK and set up a bioidentical hormone clinic, so my curious nature thought it would be a good opportunity to discover more about them. Fast forward a year, and Dr Gluck advised me that she was setting up a compounding pharmacy, the first of its kind in the UK and asked if I would like to be a part of it! Compounding pharmacies used to be very common in the UK but started phasing out during the 1950’s, with the advent of mass manufacturing. So, Specialist Pharmacy was born; a full-service pharmacy that creates bespoke, customised medications, specialising in bioidentical hormone restoration therapy, but also creating medication for pain management, sports medicine and dermatology.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ROLES IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT EXPERTISE?

My role can take me from speaking with doctors about their prescribing needs to creating educational webinar content to producing patient information leaflets for our medication. There’s never a dull moment working in this rapidly evolving field of medicine and it’s a hugely rewarding, knowing the work I do day in day out, is contributing to our patients’ health and wellbeing.

Part of my job role involves creating educational materials for our delegates and prescribers, be that webinars, classroom courses or educational resources. We started out specialising in bioidentical hormone restoration therapy (BHRT) and have expanded into treatment areas such as pain management, trichology, dermatology and more recently, veterinary medicine. Offering my support and guidance to myriad prescribers from gynaecologists to dermatologists, we have one mutual objective; to improve the lives of patients by providing them with access to personalised medication. My role is extremely rewarding; the patient testimonials we receive speak for themselves.

DID YOU (OR DO YOU) HAVE A ROLE MODEL IN TECH OR BUSINESS IN GENERAL?

There are numerous business role models who have made significant contributions and achieved remarkable success in their respective fields, so I don’t have one in particular. I do love a rags to riches story though- it’s so inspiring to see what barriers and obstacles people overcome to achieve their phenomenal success.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER, SO FAR?

I’d say I’m most proud of my resilience, commitment and ability to adapt within an ever-changing sector. I’ve developed a unique skill-set which is very desirable within the industry and I take great pride in the knowledge that my work is helping to contribute to the well-being of hundreds of thousands of individuals.

WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE WORK DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

It really varies; it could be meetings and account calls in the morning and working on creating educational content in the afternoon. Some days are spent at the pharmacy, some client entertaining and some exhibiting at conferences. The variety is what keeps me interested!

ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SKILLS OR TRAITS THAT YOU NOTICE COMPANIES LOOK FOR WHEN YOU’RE SEARCHING FOR ROLES IN YOUR FIELD?

The ability to work both independently and collaboratively, strategic planning, adaptability and continuous learning, ability to foster strong relationships, strong communication skills.

HAS ANYONE EVER TRIED TO STOP YOU FROM LEARNING AND DEVELOPING IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE, OR HAVE YOU FOUND THE TECH SECTOR SUPPORTIVE?

Not at all, I’ve found the tech sector to be incredibly supportive. I believe there is so much opportunity in the UK and women are incredibly fortunate to have access to education, something which many women around the world are denied.

There are challenges, yes, but not gender specific.

I can honestly say that I’ve never felt held back in any area of my life through being female.

HAVE YOU EVER FACED INSECURITIES AND ANXIETIES DURING YOUR CAREER, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?

I’ve been fortunate in my career to not have faced many insecurities or anxieties thanks to an incredibly supportive network. Surrounding yourself with a team that helps to cultivate and encourage such culture is so crucial to success, and something I am very thankful for!

ENTERING THE WORLD OF WORK CAN BE DAUNTING. DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE FEELING OVERWHELMED?

Starting a new job can be challenging, but growth only ever comes from putting ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Embrace the journey, stay resilient and remember that everyone in work was new

to their job once. It’s important to have a learning mindset; you will need to be open to learning new skills, knowledge and experience and this will all come in time, so take a deep breath and take things one step at a time, otherwise it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER WOMEN WANTING TO REACH THEIR CAREER GOALS IN TECHNOLOGY?

Network with others in your field. Living in a digital age, we have the fortune of being able to connect with others worldwide, on various different platforms. Attend seminars, never stop learning!

Be passionate about the area you are working in. Without passion, you’ll never achieve what you set out to do.

Seek out mentors; they’ve made the mistakes so you don’t have to. Don’t be shy about asking others to share their insights and guidance; most people love giving advice.

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