By: Fawad Piracha, PharmD Candidate c/o 2016
Rho Chi Society held its 90th annual meeting on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, paralleling the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition that took place the same weekend. In attendance were delegates and advisors of Rho Chi chapters from pharmacy schools spanning every region of the United States. The Beta Delta Chapter, St. John’s University’s chartered establishment, was represented by Dr. Zito, the faculty advisor of the chapter and the Auditing Committee chair of Rho Chi Society, along with the newly elected chapter executive board. In addition to national reports, an awards reception, and a formal election—all of which are common practices in Rho Chi annual meetings—a keynote address was given by a noteworthy affiliate of the Rho Chi Society community, Dr. William E. Evans.
Dr. Evans is an esteemed pharmacist and leader. He serves as the Director and Chief Executive Officer of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (SJCRH), and is the professor of pediatrics and pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy. An author of many publications, he is a recipient of several notable accolades from entities that include the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Under his direction, SJCRH was ranked #1 children’s cancer hospital by Parent Magazine (2009) and US News and World Report (2010). Dr. Evans lecture was as rousing as it was memorable.
As Rho Chi Society values excellence in intellectual achievement, Dr. Evans discussed attributes and skill sets that are manifest in intellectual leaders, and opened his talk by explaining how intellectual achievement. According to Dr. Evans, leaders such as Kenneth Chenault and Jamie Dimon substantiate this principle. A heightened emotional or executional quotient (EQ) is discernable in leaders of this caliber. EQ is a measure of one’s general functionality and social skill sets; it is a broad concept. Dr. Evans defined EQ as “the desire to get things done.” While IQ had long been the social standard in measuring one’s potential success, Dr. Evans vied that EQ is more important than IQ in this regard. Dr. Evans continued his talk by discussing additional attributes of successful groups of people.
A superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control are three traits of successful individuals, according to Dr. Evans. Such qualities lead to a balanced approach in the development of sound processes and the execution thereof. Dr. Evans simplified the complexity of leading the operations of a mammoth entity like SJCRH. He likened operating a billion dollar enterprise to operating a million dollar business but with “three extra zeroes.” In principle, according to Dr. Evans, the method is the same: to develop a strategy, to execute a strategy, and to measure progress.
A great deal of time was spent highlighting the significance of having a sound team. As a CEO, Dr. Evans mentioned how he had the opportunity to surround himself with talented individuals. He stressed the importance of building a management team of “smart, committed people with complementary skills,” rather than hiring friends and the like. Furthermore, a team must have an invigorating culture, as “culture trumps strategy.” In other words, the true values and nature of the entity that is represented is far more important than any operational strategy, as this influences individuals and teams ubiquitously. Dr. Evans concluded his talk with practical advice and a brief summary and interpretation of the context of his findings.
Dr. Evans makes clear that one’s degree should not limit an individual from becoming a leader in any capacity; it should not define his or her leadership boundaries. Furthermore, he mentioned that one does not need an MD, an MBA, or an MHA designation to lead. Instead, what is needed is “a good amount of EQ and IQ, and the right amount of EQ and IQ.” He concluded his talk by stating that being a part of an institution that provides vast opportunities for those with different backgrounds is very important. For instance, the institution that Dr. Evans leads was accepting of a pharmacist being the CEO, unlike some others that would not be open to the idea.
Rho Chi Society is a growing entity. The vast attendance at the annual meeting and the approval to open several new chapters in different schools of pharmacy highlight the expansionary phase of the organization at present. Furthermore, projects, affiliations, and recognition by various entities have led to the growing prominence of Rho Chi Society. Dr. Evans’ lecture will indeed contribute to the intellectual and professional growth of members who were present at the meeting. And as a past executive board member of a Rho Chi Society chapter during pharmacy school, Dr. Evans raises hope in Rho Chi Society members and others who were impacted by his speech at the meeting.
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