When you enter Pharmacy school, typically your path is clear. You graduate, then you work for a Pharmacy or another entity. Or, you join Kroger and then you find yourself doing all sorts of fun things – some are in the Pharmacy and some aren’t.  Regardless, you’re here, 28 years later doing what you love.

I was in a high school science class when a local Pharmacy representative came to speak to my class about the opportunities available to Pharmacy students. She was so inspiring that after graduation I registered for college and was accepted in to the Pharmacy program without ever stepping foot inside a Pharmacy. My first experience was in a Fort Meyers, Florida migrant clinic, where I was exposed to people of all backgrounds and ethnicities and simply fell in love with the work.

 

After college, I joined Kroger in the Detroit area and held several division Pharmacy roles before moving to Kroger’s General Office. Here, I worked a variety of roles before being asked to attend a recruiting event on behalf of Kroger. It was there that my leader, Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, saw something in me that I never expected.

 

I love people. Talking to people, helping people, connecting people – it’s all about people. Colleen saw that my ability to effortlessly connect with people could help Kroger connect to the community.  When the opportunity for Kroger to partner with the University of Cincinnati’s Pharmacy college came about, Colleen encouraged me to talk to the dean about the position. So, I did.

 

Shortly after partnering with UC, Angel Colon, senior director of Diversity, saw what I was doing with the college and asked me to join his team in HR. My time now is split between Kroger’s Diversity team and the UC College of Pharmacy. This shared role is a new concept for Kroger.

 

In my Diversity role, I help build inclusion through our associates. I recently completed a certification in Diversity and I co-chair the African-American Associate Resource Group, where I help others find their community that will expose them to leaders and events in the area.

 

In my role at UC, I help develop a diverse pipeline of students entering the Pharmacy program. Through the partnership with UC, many of the graduating pharmacists and pharmacy techs find jobs within our company. Having a diverse pipeline helps to fill roles in our stores with the right people who can personally connect to the community.

 

One of the most rewarding things I do is visit local high schools to educate students about careers in Pharmacy. I wish I could thank the woman who visited my high school 33 years ago. She helped me find a path I otherwise might never have considered. And thanks to Kroger I was able to journey along that path.

 

I’m Pat Achoe and I’m Kroger’s manager of Diversity.