Our Stories

Preparing for Transformation

Pharmacy manager builds skills to lead a changing industry.

Deidra Dickerson
Pharmacy Operations Manager, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt MM Health Care 2022

As a mentor and coach, says Deidra Dickerson, “I take great pride in every leader I have helped along their journey.” That feeling of accomplishment led her to earn a credential from the International Coaching Federation and to operate her own coaching business, in addition to her role as pharmacy operations manager at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

In 2021, she took the kind of career advice she might have given others and embarked on the MMHC program.

“Pursuing this graduate business degree was a great fit for me,” says Deidra, “as I knew I would be able to complement and further so much of the learning I’d had over my 10 years in healthcare pharmacy administration, while developing a general and healthcare-specific business acumen.”

In talking to alumni of the program who work at VUMC, she adds, “I had firsthand knowledge of the transformative nature of the education from past alumni, and I knew acquiring this degree would help me take my career forward.” As a Vanderbilt alum herself, she had long wanted to further her education there. “The culture of Vanderbilt stays with you,” she says. “So much of who I am today grew out of my undergraduate experience.”

Balancing school and work responsibilities was no small undertaking. “The start of the MMHC program can feel like a whirlwind,” Deidra says, “but you are quickly grounded through the welcome event. The volume and pace of information is high and fast respectively, but it will all connect and culminate into new insights about the work we do each day.” Almost immediately, she noticed a return on her investment with new knowledge and skills she could apply on the job.

The coach also found it very helpful to work with a coach in the Leadership Development Program. “The assessments utilized through LDP helped me to gain more insight into my blind spots, which is so critical as we ascend in our careers,” Deidra says. “I was able to connect deeper with ways I respond at times, and that awareness has helped me become more intentional about my thought patterns and actions in certain situations.”

Now, she is ready to take the next steps on her own career journey. “This program has highlighted many disruptive ventures taking place within healthcare today and has brought into greater focus some of the primary opportunities we have ahead in delivering care to our patients,” she says. “I now feel prepared to help lead initiatives in this space and to contribute to the much-needed transformation.”

Fun Fact: Deidra enjoys experiencing the outdoor spaces around Nashville, especially Radnor Lake.

I had firsthand knowledge of the transformative nature of the education from past alumni.