Chavez Named Wal-Mart District Manager of the Year

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Dedication, perseverance, strength of will, excellentleadership qualities, and communication skills—allare necessary to advance one's career today. Onepharmacist, Eduardo Chavez, pharmacy district manager ofWal-Mart, has found the ultimate blend of these qualities,which earned him the 2008 Wal-Mart District Manager of theYear Award at the Wal-Mart Year-beginning meeting in KansasCity, Missouri, on January 23, 2008.

Eduardo Chavez

Chavez developed these skills throughout his life throughguidance from mentors and challenging experiences. He wasborn in Nicaragua but began his pharmacy career in Miami,Florida. In the summer of 1996, while studying at NovaSoutheastern University, Chavez completed asummer internship at Wal-Mart store #1996in Hallandale, Florida, and knew that this waswhere he wanted to make his career. Shortlyafter graduation, in June 1998, Greg Nazareth,who ultimately became Chavez's mentor, hiredChavez, realized his potential, and quickly promotedhim to pharmacy manager of store#2091 in Miami, Florida.

Success in the Face of Adversity

As pharmacy manager, Chavez faced immediatechallenges, as the store itself was verybusy, but the prescription growth was stagnant.He quickly tackled these challenges, callinghis district manager on a daily basis to discussfinancials, opportunities for growth within the company,merchandising tips and ideas, among much more. His successin this role led him to be promoted to district manager of theMiami market in September 2002.

As district manager, Chavez's daily responsibilities includeensuring that every store opens on time for business, conductingstore visits and evaluating execution of merchandisingplans, verifying 100% adherence to compliance matters, discussingbusiness opportunities with store management, evaluatingworkflow and efficiency of the prescription-filling process,just to name a few. Initially, one of the biggest challenges forhim was merchandising. "I was very clinically oriented in termsof pharmacy, but merchandising is not something they teachyou in school, so it was a challenge," he said, "but at the sametime it was a great learning experience—one that made memore well-rounded."

Hard Work Pays Off

Chavez's supervisors recognized his ability to overcomechallenges and his successes in daily responsibilities. CraigSmith, regional manager and Chavez's immediate supervisor,said that he nominated Chavez for the District Manager of theYear Award because of his overall financial performance; inparticular, he increased his prescription volume more than anyother district in the region and in the division (which includesthe entire southeast—North and South Carolina, Georgia,Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana). Smith also credited Chavez'smerchandising skills—in fact, Chavez led the region in holidaymerchandise sales and exceeded profit and sales plans forthe year. In addition, noted Smith, Chavez "hasbeen a catalyst in region 10 in driving OTC andRx programs, with his focus on improving thecustomer's shopping experience." Chavez hasalso effectively used his leadership skills inassembling his team of pharmacists who arefocused on saving patients money on theirprescriptions and ultimately improving theirmedication adherence and bettering patientoutcomes.

Chavez credits both Nazareth and Smith ashis mentors throughout his career. Winning theDistrict Manager of the Year Award has openednew doors for him—he has been honored to beasked to be part of committees that addresspresent and future challenges that face thecompany. Chavez enjoys being a pharmacist because of thereward he receives in building relationships with patients. "Thetrust level that you can achieve with a customer can be evenhigher than the one between physician and patient," he said.

"There is no better feeling than to feel appreciated by acustomer for a clinical intervention or knowledge you sharewith them."

Chavez is very appreciative of the recognition and is excitedabout the opportunities that lay ahead at Wal-Mart. "As a pharmacistfor Wal-Mart, we could not have more exciting timesthan the present," he said. "With our current leadership sofocused on health and wellness, we have been able to impacthealth care across the nation in a very positive way, loweringthe costs as well as improving therapeutic outcomes throughbetter patient compliance. The future of our profession neverlooked so bright with this company."