Catherine Herbert Cary with Bremo Pharmacies

Catherine Herbert Cary with Bremo Pharmacies

Title: president and CEO of Bremo Pharmacies

Born: August 1966, Richmond

Education: Virginia Commonwealth University, bachelor of science in pharmacy, 1989; VCU, doctorate in pharmacy, 1995

Career: The company was founded by her father, Dan Herbert, in 1976. She has worked for the company for the duration of her career, starting in high school and college as a cashier, delivery driver and pharmacy technician. She became president and CEO after her father died in 2004.

Where in the metro area do you live?: Hanover County

Best business decision: “As an independent pharmacy competing with large chain pharmacies, it is very important to make sure that we offer niche services that meet the special needs that cannot be found elsewhere. Providing compounded medications that are custom made to fit patients’ unique needs, and catering to patients with disabilities who live in group homes, are a few examples of our current niche areas that are successful. One niche idea that is successful for our pharmacy was the decision to change our pharmacy practice model to medication synchronization. Switching to this model was a great business decision for us because the synchronization of medications helps our patients stay organized taking their medications correctly and also allows our pharmacists more time to have meaningful conversations that help our patients stay healthy.”

Worst business decision: “The worst business decision I made was to make major renovations to the pharmacy without first renewing my lease. In less than two years after renovating, we had to relocate our Bremo Pharmacy at Henrico Doctors’ location from the medical building into the lobby of the hospital due to hospital renovations. The new location is great, but we did have to invest more money building out the new space suitable for a pharmacy. I could have saved the company time and money on the first renovation, if I had asked the right questions and planned a little better.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “I have learned a great deal from mistakes managing people. I tend to focus on the person and seek peace and understanding. At times, this has led to me not setting clear-enough expectations and/or tolerating mediocre performance. I have learned how to be a better leader from instances where I made the mistake of glossing over management issues in an effort to be kind. I have learned that you can still be respectful and kind to your employees while also setting clear expectations and having difficult conversations when necessary.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “VCU School of Pharmacy did an excellent job of preparing me to take care of patients as a pharmacist. However, I was woefully unprepared to manage people or run a business. When I graduated, I did not see myself in the leadership and management role that I am in now. If I had the opportunity to start over again, I would definitely take business and leadership courses while in college.”

Book that inspired you the most, and why?: “As early as my high school years, I was tremendously impacted by Wayne Dyer’s self-help series ‘How to be a No-Limit Person.’ It taught me the importance of a positive attitude in shaping your own destiny and also in living a happy and fulfilled life.”

Favorite and least favorite subject in school: Favorite: all science classes, especially chemistry. Least favorite: Latin.

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