Cindy Markarian, MPH, Pharm.D.

Regional Director of Pharmacy – AIDS Healthcare Foundation Los Angeles, California

I recently received a promotion as Regional Director of Pharmacy. I did not feel that I had specific Leadership Development training and coincidentally, I received an email about CPhA’s LDI cohort. I applied in hopes of developing necessary skills and to incorporate useful tools to better lead my team.

The title of my project is The Bookbinder’s Gift. 8-year old Sinteek is sweet, innocent and always curious. She loves her grandfather and all his exciting tall tales. Her grandfather is a bookbinder by trade, who after foreseeing danger in their homeland, urges his family to flee at once. In attempts to protect his precious granddaughter, the bookbinder writes a story and binds the book with magical twine. He tells Sinteek to guard her book and to open it whenever she feels scared. He asks her to promise him that after reaching their destination safely, she will fill the blank pages with the rest of her story. “Dream big,” he says, “Always rely on your imagination to keep you safe.” All books are magical and can take you anywhere you want to go. Sinteek becomes mesmerized by the wonderful worlds which exist on the pages created by her grandfather, locked safely inside her magical book.

Her family starts their journey and Sinteek remains sheltered and untouched with the protection of The Bookbinder’s Gift. After a narrow escape, Sinteek and her family reach a beautiful sandy beach and safely take refuge in a quiet village of Southern France.

I chose this project because I wanted to pay homage to my heritage while honoring my grandfather who passed.

LDI helped remind me to tap into my creativity and personal knowledge of this historical event. Although I have never written a children’s book or attempted anything remotely close to this, LDI taught me to reach out to others who possess that knowledge, and acquire the appropriate route to execute my goal. I was intrigued about the concept of establishing a sense of urgency to goad the audience into immediate action.

My intention is to encourage children and parents alike to connect on a deeper level, while also learning valuable and essential truths about a forgotten history, and to do this in a fun and whimsical way. The art and magic of the written word is undoubtedly lost in today’s age of technological advances. I want to save the written word as one would want to save a beautiful, endangered species. Even though others may not necessarily share my background and beliefs on the subject, my presentation and delivery were integral in recruiting others and communicating the importance of my ultimate message.

Since LDI, I have noticed a sense of peace and fulfillment and also, a broader perspective and understanding of myself and others – strengths as well as weaknesses. I enjoyed my time with the CPhA LDI cohort very much. This is a group of professionals that have grown together in many different ways and different aspects of life. I believe the principles taught in LDI will benefit anyone who is willing to apply them as often as possible, personally and professionally. My friends and family closest to me have especially seen these positive changes. I have learned to reach out to others and ask for external opinions and experience. I have made a conscious effort to practice humility and remain curious and teachable. I have grown increasingly aware of others’ abilities and taken stock of them all. I have trusted others more and allowed them to tackle important issues. I am trusting more in the process of waiting and practicing less impulsive choices. Since LDI, I look for opportunities to learn from mistakes and errors. I practice honesty and set aside personal bias to avoid holding onto shortcomings of the past, starting each day with a new slate. I put significant effort into presenting a professional and successful image.