Alumnus Michael Flannery gives career advice at graduation ceremony

14 March 2018

On Friday 9 March, we celebrated the recent graduates from the Faculty of Pharmacy. Michael Flannery, a successful pharmacist and University of Sydney graduate, gave the occasional address.

Michael has 29 years' experience and built his career in rural and regional Australia. He ran his own rural scholarship program which put 30+ students through university and trained over 50 interns. Michael currently employs more than 60 pharmacists at the Life Pharmacy Group.

During Michael's address, he shared invaluable career and life experience advice with the graduates:

What career advice would you give to recent pharmacy graduates?

"Pharmacists are one of the most trusted professions and is very much about providing a service to people. It's important to have passion for what you're doing and I'm passionate about people and their wellbeing. If you follow your passion and have a willingness to offer the best service you can, then you will continue in the great tradition of the other pharmacists that have gone before you. However, that is not to say that things should be as they always have been: it's also important to look to the future and challenge conventions in search of better ways and new opportunities. Seek out mentors to help guide you, and longer term, be someone's mentor and help influence the next generation."

Why do you think you have managed to be so successful in your field?

"I've seized every opportunity I came across and place great store in valuing the people I work with. Working in a rural setting, it has been essential to be community-centred and I firmly believe this is also the key to a sustainable long-term business model. A critical element has been valuing the importance of sound business principles in managing staff, stock and other collaborative opportunities."

What value do your 12 regional and rural pharmacies offer to the local communities they serve?

"Our pharmacies are proud contributors to the community and work hard to engage in local initiatives and provide personalised services. A great recent initiative has been the take up of pharmacist delivered immunisation vaccination services by pharmacies, with 700 vaccinations being administered in just one of our Pharmacies last year, and over 4500 across all our pharmacies. We are proud of this huge investment in public health. By being close to the community, including other health professionals, we are in a unique position to understand their needs and can be agile in providing such important programs and services to the community."

Do you have any plans to expand your business further?

"I see pharmacists as being the Health Navigators of their communities, and this is especially the case in rural areas. We work closely with other health professionals, with important collaborations in the hospital and aged care sector. In our rural settings, we are often the first port of call for a range of health conditions and we are interested in home-based care services, especially post-discharge from hospital, as well as cancer and diabetic education services. I see great opportunity in providing these value-add services and more fully integrating into the local community."