Anthony Culbertson: Leadership skills for life

Anthony Culbertson

Editor’s note: Anthony is a recent graduate of the College of Pharmacy but this story was written while he was still a student.

Anthony Culbertson,’22, who attended the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Duluth, found the Leadership Emphasis Area (LEA) program to be an indispensable part of his education.

Culbertson completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, Rochester, where he took Dr. Kerry Fierke’s Leadership in Healthcare course. He did not know the LEA program existed, but wanted to learn more about the impact leadership has in the healthcare field. When he came to the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, he wanted to take additional courses.

“What really drove me to pursue the path of leadership,” said Culbertson, “is when I started courses at the College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Fierke, along with Dr. Lepp, would speak about the LEA and how this program is beneficial to students in so many ways.”

The content students learn in the LEA prepares them to be an overall better pharmacist following graduation. Culbertson said that this is important to him because, “the more knowledge and experiences I have regarding leadership means that I can translate them through my actions to have more productive, meaningful, and impactful days as an individual.”

There were many beneficial lessons students learned from the LEA program, but a few stood out to Culbertson.

“We have learned the importance of professional development of our own leadership along with others. Leadership styles and concepts that can be utilized in daily life. [There are] many ways to tackle adaptive challenges, how to establish healthy connections, creating safe spaces for crucial conversations, and the list goes on.”

Another vital lesson students learn is the importance of setting milestones and remembering what you have done. This allows them to remember to celebrate the small wins along the way toward their ultimate achievements.

Moving forward, Culbertson hopes that leadership will continue to play an important role in both his future as a pharmacist, but also as an individual outside of work. The leadership activities the LEA teaches have been incorporated into his daily life, and Culbertson plans to continuously implement them as he goes forward. He has taken efforts to lead change in his personal life in regard to de-stressing and taking advantage of genuine connections to relieve stress in a healthy manner. It is his desire to continue to push the development of leadership for himself and others in various aspects of personal and professional life.