"If you embrace the bigger picture of life, any hurdle will feel much smaller..."
Alumna Leslie Register (2005 Pharm.D.) prefers to see metaphorical hurdles as stepping-stones, which can lead you to a career path or role you never expected. Leslie's optimistic outlook, practical skills and professionalism helped her land a role in the pharmacy benefits management industry.
Tell us about what you do:
I am a Clinical Consultant for OptumRx, currently focused on clients in the TPA marketplace. As a third-party administrator, my clients have clinicians helping to manage pharmacy & medical benefits for plans. I help both my client(s) as well as the representative for their accounts to understand their clinical and formulary options to help manage health care needs for their members.
Why did you choose the University of South Carolina?
I was born a Gamecock fan and dreamed of attending Carolina my entire childhood. I only applied to one college because for me there was only one place I wanted to go!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Landing my current role as a clinical consultant is hands down my greatest achievement on my pharmacy career path thus far. The PBM industry is very competitive and with a background of retail/outpatient experience, it took me over a year to get an interview. Suddenly I had two back-to-back interviews and my role at OptumRx was meant to be.
Who has been a mentor to you?
Kelvin Martin was very influential in guiding me on a career path I never expected. He became my reporting manager while I was pharmacist in charge at an independent pharmacy purchased by the local health system. I then transitioned to PIC of the health system’s employee pharmacy. During that endeavor I learned so much professionally, legally, and most important – practically about pharmacy and how many opportunities are out there if you create your own journey!
My 9 years at the health system with Kelvin gave me a priceless experience gained through an evolution of various roles that ultimately placed me at the right place at the right time in my career to pivot, take a leap of faith and move over to the PBM industry.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don’t sweat the small stuff and nothing is too small to pray about! Truly if you embrace the bigger picture of life, any hurdle will feel much smaller than you initially think it is!
How do you spend your time outside of work?
My husband, Jeremy Register (Accounting, ’04), and I have two very active boys. When we aren’t at their sports practices or games, you can find us involved with church, traveling or following the Gamecocks!
What skill would you love to master?
I would like to learn how to use a Cricut or maybe something even more artistic like painting.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?
I go in waves of reading vs. watching fictional historical dramas.
What is your advice for current students / future pharmacy professionals?
In pharmacy school I learned a lot, but never tested well, which often meant struggling academically. The practical experiences you gain through labs and rotations should not be taken for granted. Every experience not only teaches you about pharmacy or professionalism, but most importantly is an opportunity to make connections. Every experience is a stepping-stone on your pharmacy journey. Even if you are in a role or rotation you do not particularly enjoy, you can always learn nuggets through that experience to carry with you in the future.
What class or professor do you remember the most and why?
Dr. Walt Sowell was my professor for microbiology during my first year of pharmacy school. Early in the semester, I was going through extensive testing for health issues and he was so kind to let me schedule one-on-one time for a few classes that had to be missed.
What is your favorite memory from pharmacy school?
Every fall when Carolina played Tennessee, our classmates Rachel Scharberg and Nirmesh Shah would make a bet. Although it was not fun for Carolina to lose, watching Nirmesh sing Rocky Top for our whole class was a memorable day!
What song always puts you in a good mood?
American Authors’ "Best Day of My Life"