Hey everyone! Joshua here! If you are reading this, I hope you are having a positive and life changing day! As some of you know, I am currently working on a series entitled “Women Who Will Inspire You To #DoWhatYouDesire! Today I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Erin Albert, award-winning entrepreneur, writer, health outcomes pharmacist, attorney, coach, and podcaster. She is the founder of two companies (Pharm, LLC and Yuspie, LLC), and a health outcomes pharmacist for Myers and Stauffer, LC. She has penned over a dozen books on a range of topics. Her books have been featured in The Huffington Post, the BBC, NPR, Entrepreneur.com, DanPink.com, Forbes, and The New York Times. She also has been quoted on pharmacy practice in The Wall Street Journal. After meeting her at a book presentation and signing for “The S(He) Guide To Mentoring” which she co-authored with Dr. David Borst, I knew I needed to persuade her to take time to tell us about how she lives the #DoWhatYouDesire lifestyle!
Interview with award winning entrepreneur and author Dr. Erin Albert
I would like to start off by asking, how is everything in the world of Dr. Erin Albert?
Busy! But always have time for new friends.
I am grateful for you being apart of my Women Who Will Inspire You To #DoWhatYouDesire interview series! Can you please tell me more about who you are? What would you tell a stranger who struck up a conversation with you…
Thank you for this opportunity, Josh! I usually reply with “It’s complicated,” when people ask me what I do and who I am. I used to try and only do one thing professionally, but I stopped fighting that. Now, I grow strength and talents from doing multiple things with my career – teaching/precepting, being a pharmacist, researching like a lawyer, writing, speaking and creating and designing my own universe through my books. I actually have a book and a label for this, the ‘Multipational.’ The book is entitled, Multipationals: The Changing World of Work, and How to Create Your Best Career Portfolio. I really noticed that I’m not alone in this portfolio career menagerie this spring when I spoke at SXSW…there are many, many really cool multipationals out there doing awesome work!
Can you take me back to your childhood, you being a child in school, being a student in college, you know, growing up…what do you remember about it? How did it shape you into what you are today?
As a kid, I was and continue to be a bookworm. My favorite thing was going to the library once a week with my mom and brother and filling my book bag full to the brim of books. The love of reading has led to all the other things that I do professionally – writing, researching, speaking, teaching, podcasting and creating. Subsequently doing research on why other women choose STEM or STEAMED careers, the one commonality women had across these professions was their love of reading when they were girls.
I know that you have numerous skills and have done numerous things, such as an award winning entrepreneur, writer, health outcomes pharmacist, attorney, coach and podcaster! Can you tell me how you juggle all of these different responsibilities? Which one is your favorite?
I’m ruthless about protecting my calendar, and if it is not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist. I’m also very sensitive to time overall – I don’t like wasting others’ time, because time is a finite resource; you never get it back. Sometimes I get accused of sending email that should have been completed in a meeting, but I detest meetings, and most of them are a waste of time. In regards to my favorite gig, I really love the variety of everything that I do – it creates cross-pollination of ideas across my various tasks and functions. I write about career development for Pharmacy Careers magazine, and podcast about career development for The Pharmacy Podcast Network. These two streams merge a lot of times. Interviewing someone about their career can lead to a really cool article or idea for a career column, and vice versa. The secret sauce is the variety for me.
You have written numerous books on an array of subjects, from a new book about mentorship and women to three different children’s books! Can you tell us more about how the most recent book “The S(He) Says Guide to Mentoring” was created and what can readers gain from it?
The S(He) Says Guide to Mentoring is a collaborative project with Dr. David Borst and myself. He is a mentor of mine, from business school. And, we’ve kept in touch throughout the years. Now that he is semi-retired, he reached out and asked if we could collaborate on a project together – and I know books. But, he started a women’s mentoring program in Milwaukee, WI, and I started a couple of different mentoring programs in Indianapolis, so we thought it would be fun to provide a his & hers perspective on mentoring women. My ideas are different from Dr. B’s about mentoring, so we literally created 2 books in one for the event. There are 3 types of readers: 1. Potential Mentors (male and female), 2. Potential designers of mentoring programs, and 3. Mentees. All three have knowledge to gain from reading this book. I also invited one of my mentees, Dr. Lauren Steinbach, to contribute to my side of the book about developing her own mentoring program this past year.
Can you tell us about what “STEAMED* Education” represents and what is it about? I saw that your theme of the children’s books involve the Princesses from Planet Stem. Can you tell us what Planet Stem is and what The Princesses do?!
Sure. The acronym of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math is incomplete. I use STEAMED – science, tech, entrepreneurship, art, math, engineering and design. These three editions to the acronym are critical in my mind, because without them, innovation has a much harder time of occurring. We need the entrepreneurial spirit to drive innovation and big ideas with small infrastructure, and we need art and design to make things elegant, better and more useful. In the children’s book series I created, The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM – I have 20 princesses who have a variety of STEAMED careers in the stories and activity books. Book one is the story, book two is a hands-on activity book, and book 3 is a coloring book. I’m working on book 4 now. They basically save their planet from a plague of…ignorance!
You have been a two time entrepreneur and also have worked in education! How different are those two worlds? Do you prefer working for yourself as opposed to working a 9-5?
Entrepreneurship can be radically different from education, because most formal education has been around now for thousands of years. It can be slow to change. I think higher education is realizing they need to change faster now, however, so it’s getting better. I like the creativity and research parts of education–they really can be very entrepreneurial and innovative. As for working for myself vs. a 9-5, I honestly like parts of both of these options. I like creating and working by myself on new ideas and it helps me to get things done. However, I also like regular paychecks, healthcare and a 401K at the 9-5. The 9-5 uses a different part of my brain vs. my entrepreneurial self, so if anything, I’m probably an intrapreneur – someone who acts like an entrepreneur, but serves companies. At the end of the day, we are serving each other, whether or not we are running the show with our own customers, or serving customers through another organization. We’re all in this together!
What are your thoughts on the current wave of entrepreneurship and the “gig economy”? I know that you, like myself are a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk and the word “hustle” (which is the primary word of the hip-hop culture I was raised in). How important has “hustle” been in your career and building your personal brand?
I am a firm believer in the gig economy shaking up how we work in this country, and I worry that when I teach, I’m not preparing students enough for this coming tsunami of change. I’m very thankful to my entrepreneurial parents who were business owners and taught me at a very young age of the ‘hustle’ concept – working hard, responding quickly to market and customer changes/requests, and getting things done. I’m not sure hustle is something one can teach, however–it’s something one either has or does not have, I think. Hustle is EVERYTHING in my book – because as Gary says, ideas are sh*t. It’s execution that wins. (And yes, I love @garyvee! I’m trying to get him on The Pharmacy Podcast!)
I wanted to do these type of interviews after going to women’s empowerment conferences and meeting many entrepreneurial and powerful women at them. One thing they discussed is that women still are not on equal ground with men and that more men need to advocate for equality in gender. Can you tell me how men should advocate for equal treatment, equal wages and equal respect for women not only in the workplace, but in our society as a whole?
Yes, so I call men who advocate for women “Manbassadors.” We have events and programs through a non-profit I serve, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, on this topic (and in fact, an upcoming 6/13 event for our chapter of HBA may be the only time all 3 authors of the mentoring book are in the same room for autographs–registration is here!) If women just keep on talking to other woman only about the topic of gender parity and pay parity, we’ll leave out half the population, and the half that is honestly currently leading many companies, Congress and boards. We have to include everyone in the gender parity conversation. Other than reading our new book, men should definitely step up and mentor/sponsor other women in their organizations and out. I had a couple of podcasts on this topic too over at Pharmacy Podcast – a session with one of my former sponsors, Dr. Harlan Weisman, and of course Dr. Borst on the new mentoring book. Both are found and playable here: http://erinalbert.com/blog/?p=
In life, we all face greatness and heartaches in every avenue of life…can you tell me What have been your biggest accomplishments? Biggest setbacks? How did you overcome them?
Biggest accomplishments: starting my first business, writing my first book and being not only a first generation college graduate in my family, but also going to grad school 3 times in addition to my undergraduate degree. Most important, I paid (or my employer helped me) with grad school all 3 times. Of all the things I’ve accomplished, I still think starting a business was the hardest of all. Biggest setbacks: wow. Divorce. Not passing the bar exam the first time I took it. Being laid off from a job. I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason, however, and even though these all frankly sucked, they were each great teachers. I always say, the train to Awesometown goes through Suckville. You have to fail, because failure is an inevitable part of life. It’s also an amazing teacher. Each time I face an adversity, I get myself back up, dust myself off, and keep on trucking. I’m not a past-dweller either. Onward! One of my former bosses used KMF – Keep moving forward!
Is there anything else that people may not know you are passionate about that you’d like to let our readers know about?
I’m also very passionate about advocating for those who can’t speak – i.e. animals. All my pets came from Humane Societies, and I contribute to Humane Societies. I try to advocate for those without a voice amongst the humans.
My mantra and brand is #DoWhatYouDesire – what does #DoWhatYouDesire stand for in your words?
I guess I’d modify it with #DoWhatYouArePassionateAbout, or #DoYourWhy. Why are you here? What are you here to do? We’re all here for a purpose. Best days for each of us are the day we are born, and the day when we discover why we were born. Discover and do your why!
How can we find out more about you and your work? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Instagram? Snapchat?
On Twitter, I’m @ErinLAlbert, my companies are @pharmllc and @yuspie.
My website (where readers can sign up for my newsletter and vlog) is www.erinalbert.com.
Snapchat: @ea6603 (but I admit, I don’t know what I’m doing at Snapchat).
As for Facebook, I have various pages there, including pages for the following books:
The S(He) Says Guide to Mentoring: https://www.facebook.com/
The STEM Princess Trilogy: https://www.facebook.com/
Plan C: The Full-Time Employee and Part-Time Entrepreneur: https://www.facebook.com/
Law School: A Few Short & Plain Statements: https://www.facebook.com/
Can you provide us some last words of wisdom or advice for a woman who has faced hardships, set backs or loss?
“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese proverb, and one I use on myself every time I fall down. ; )