‘Fill your cup to fill others’, says Kalgoorlie-Boulder pharmacist
From a determined country girl with a passion for helping others to the owner of four major pharmacies in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Elise Wheadon is reminding other inspiring women to take a breath when needed.
Speaking at the 2023 Women’s Leadership Forum in Kalgoorlie-Boulder last Friday, Ms Wheadon said she had spent a couple of days at home before the event recovering from a fainting spell on Monday that saw her hit her head while in the bathroom.
The mother-of-three assured the crowd she was OK, but said it had been a timely reminder to fill up her “own cup” in order to continue caring for others.
Ms Wheadon is a busy Kalgoorlie-Boulder woman, with at least one of her pharmacies being open every day of the year.
She was recognised as the Goldfields Business Person of the Year in 2017 and 2022 and her pharmacies also gained the Goldfields Business of the Year award in 2022.
Her pharmacy also took out the 2020 Pharmacy Guild of Australia Excellence in Professional Innovation Award.
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing to get to where she is today.
Ms Wheadon said she grew up in regional WA and completed her high school with a dream of helping others through pharmacy.
Despite studying hard, she was only offered the university course on the second round of offers, and struggled with believing that because of that she was one of the least intelligent in the cohort.
A few years later, she graduated and worked her intern year where she had “all the knowledge” but none of the responsibility, with all her work needing to be double checked before it was released.
During this time she discovered her leadership traits and recalled a time she was working the chemist’s busiest day of the year with just one qualified pharmacist.
“It was a mature male pharmacist and he didn’t take very well a suggestion of a changing workflow, but my anxiety was rising with the number of baskets that weren’t in a row, they were actually weaving around because of the sheer volume of prescriptions that are coming through,” she said.
“So I suggested that as he was the only one who had to check all the scripts it would be better for him to take a step back and check everything, and the younger pharmacist assistants to be able to dispense that and then we actually made inroads in the day and the day went much, much, much more smoothly.
“From that, I learnt that’s where I wanted to be.”
Ms Wheadon said success was the only route when doing something you’re truly passionate about and work hard for.