Reatanak (Ray) Kong, Pharm.D., MPP

Senior Liaison, Health Outcomes & Pharmacoeconomics – Amgen, Inc. Long Beach, California

There are those with innate qualities that make them natural leaders.  However, I also firmly believe that everyone can learn the skills that are needed to be successful leaders. Each day, we are facing challenges at home and the work place that require us to influence and inspire, in order to achieve desirable outcomes. In search of new ways to approach these challenges, I had come across the LDI program.

Hi, my name is Ray Kong, and I currently work as a pharmacy professional within the pharmaceutical industry. What I had learned as a student, as a pharmacist, and as part of the LDI program is that most professionals are continually looking to find their strengths and find valuable ways to apply them in their day-to-day lives.  However, we struggle to find information to help guide us towards those goals. I believe that the more we can share ideas and experiences with one another, the more we are able to unleash our inner strengths. And, the more we can put some of our strengths to better use, the more we can continue to mold future pharmacy professionals.

I began my pharmacy career as a hospital pharmacist over 10 years ago.  After a couple years, I began to ask myself if there are other ways to bring additional value to healthcare besides working in a traditional retail or hospital setting. Through my research, I began to see how the intangibles and soft skills added with our clinical expertise are also important attributes for success. So, when asked to choose and launch a LDI project, it was an easy decision to focus on what I had discovered through my career transition from the hospital into the non-traditional role.

The title of my project is “Looking Beyond the White Coat Horizon: Non-Traditional Roles for the Pharmacist.”  The goal of my project is to increase the visibility of non-traditional careers for students who are starting their first or second year in pharmacy school. In coordination with pharmacy schools and their student chapter associations, my first goal is to evaluate the needs for each school and then help to lead efforts to provide the resources that would address those needs.  This can be accomplished through a variety of different ways.

One way to address these needs include coordination of guest speakers from various non-traditional roles such as those within research, advocacy, contracting, policy, academia, and marketing. Other areas of opportunity include the development of a mentorship program, the creation of career guides, and the inclusion of professional development courses into curriculum. I am still in the early phases of evaluation, but I am currently working with a pharmacy school to pilot a few components of my project as their students have expressed interest in learning more about what is available for them post-graduation.

The LDI program is led by a group of individuals who genuinely care about the progression and development of leaders within pharmacy. It has been a great experience to have met new colleagues and expand my network across all areas of the profession.  The LDI program has also provided me with a platform to help students achieve their career goals and ways to highlight their value through use of their strengths. This brings me happiness, and with that, I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the program and I am complete.