Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Fulfilling a dream of leadership

by Victoria Steele, Superintendent Pharmacist of LloydsPharmacy

I didn’t grow up wanting to be a pharmacist, I received some great career advice from my school when I was doing my A -levels. They saw a way that I could combine my love of science with a desire to look after people. And I’ve never looked back. The dream quickly became the ability to make the biggest difference I can on the best platform available to me. For me, becoming the first woman Superintendent Pharmacist of a large multiple is the fulfilment of my dream.

I’m in the very early days of my new role as Superintendent Pharmacist of LloydsPharmacy, who made me very welcome when I arrived from the North ten years ago and I’m delighted to have taken the reins over from my great friend and colleague Steve Howard.

For those of you that know me, know my passions are patient safety, professionalism, safeguarding, developing talent and an utter pride in a profession that I believe (more than ever) has got a glowing future. And whilst I’m not known for keeping quiet about these topics, I’ve had to learn (am still learning) a lot of new skills along the way.

This long-held career goal has, at times, felt like a very distant dream. I appreciate that not many people get to hit their career goals and I am indebted to the care and support I’ve received along the way. So how did I get here?

There are three key areas that really stand out for me. I’ve definitely made my life uncomfortable to enable me to grasp new opportunities. I’ve relocated away from family and friends multiple times in pursuit of the next step and whilst particularly challenging at times, I have never regretted a single step.

Equally, I’ve learnt the really hard way to ask for help when life is tough or unmanageable and I honestly believe that was the last piece of the jigsaw that I needed in my armoury.

Finally, I’m immensely proud to be the first female Superintendent of LloydsPharmacy, not necessarily for myself but to demonstrate to others what is possible in life. I join the ranks of other female Superintendents who have supported, guided and mentored me through the years and without whom I wouldn’t have got to this point. It’s vital to me to help, support and guide other young pharmacists making their way in this world.

But for now, I’m taking over in the middle of the pandemic. I know it will be tough and I know I won’t always be perfect but I also know that I have a fantastically talented team around me, a great network of colleagues and friends and a significant job to get on with. Wish me luck!

We want to encourage voices that express the diversity of lived experiences in the profession as part of our inclusion and diversity work. If you’d like to share your story, contact [email protected] or get involved through our ABCD group