Meet Janell Sanford, a third generation pharmacist and one of the first employees to join The Pill Club. Based in the Bay Area, Janell oversees the Quality Management program, accreditations, and compliance for the CA and TX pharmacies. Outside of work, Janell enjoys spending time with her husband and kids, exercising, and being outdoors near any lake or ocean!
You were exposed to the pharmacy business at a young age. What impact did that have on you?
I grew up watching my dad and uncle fill prescriptions and counsel patients on medications—I especially loved seeing how much they enjoyed spending time with their customers. Together, they operated three pharmacies, and were inspired by my grandfather who was also the president of the CA State Board of Pharmacy for two terms. The passion they had for their profession, helping patients, and their commitment to treating their employees with love and respect are the values that I’ve been able to nurture here at The Pill Club.
What about The Pill Club’s mission resonates with you?
When my sister and I were in high school, my dad made a point—in the same professional pharmacist voice that he used with his customers—that if we ever needed to go on birth control, he wanted us to feel comfortable talking to him. I’m still inspired by the openness and accessibility he offered his daughters, and it is the foundation for why I feel strongly about advocating for both access to birth control and a woman’s right to choose.
How has your career path led to The Pill Club?
After obtaining my PharmD, I immersed myself in clinical pharmacy, completing a pharmacy practice residency and then later working as a clinical inpatient pharmacist.
After deciding to return to my roots in community pharmacy, I began working in a local community pharmacy in the Bay Area. While there, I started seeing prescription transfer requests come through from The Pill Club. This was when DoorDash was in its infancy, and startup pharmacies were quickly appearing in the Bay Area with same-day delivery. I was intrigued to see if community pharmacies could overcome some of the antiquated industry obstacles. Of course, my curiosity was piqued, and I soon found out that my friend and colleague, Sally Durham, had started working for The Pill Club (and is still the longest serving pharmacist on our team!).
In 2016, I joined The Pill Club and quickly became the Pharmacist-in-charge of a rapidly growing team. I hit the ground running and have never looked back. It feels serendipitous that I was given the opportunity to help grow a small pharmacy from the ground up, and to work for a company that aligns so closely with my values and continues to inspire and challenge me professionally.
As Director of Pharmacy Quality and Patient Safety, what does your role involve?
In my role on the legal team, I wear different hats, but they all lead to the same goal: to ensure that our CA and TX pharmacies are compliant with pharmacy oversight bodies.
I manage various aspects of compliance, including: internal pharmacy quality goals and metrics, accreditation standards and goals, pharmacy policies and procedures, and importantly, assisting with State Boards of Pharmacy regulatory compliance.
I love the people I get to work with and the reward I feel at the end of the day. Even though I’m a bit removed from the day-to-day pharmacy operations, the opportunity to collaborate with my newer teammates on the legal team and my “old” partners on the pharmacy team is incredibly fulfilling.
What advice would you give young professionals who are considering a career in this field?
There are so many things to consider, but with any career, it’s important to be self-aware and find ways to stay energized. Whether it’s exercise, downtime, or more sleep, be aware of what makes you function at your highest level and always try to get yourself there!
I wasn’t expecting my pharmacy career to land me on the legal team. Be passionate about what you want and be patient. Having a growth mindset and persevering through obstacles will open the doors with opportunities!