Interviews

Lisa Gibbs. Director, Community Investment. Shoppers Drug Mart

Dream job alert! Leading a company’s corporate social responsibility efforts is one of the most coveted roles among social impact professionals. And when that company also happens to be one of Canada’s strongest brands- it’s even more desirable- as you have the opportunity to impact change on a wide scale. While the role is one of the coolest out there (we know we’re biased), it also comes with great responsibility and challenges. It takes a strong leader- with strategic thinking, foresight, and patience- to get the job done. That’s why, we’re so excited to introduce you to Lisa Gibbs, the Director of Community Investment at Shoppers Drug Mart, to hear her story.

What does your job entail including what a typical day might be like?

The role is really a combination of many, including brand manager, the organization’s charitable voice, impact storyteller, financial manager, employee engager and all around promoter of the cause – in our case, women’s health – to positively impact corporate reputation at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix.

A typical day may include meeting with a new women’s health charity, executing details of an existing women’s health partnership, measuring impact of another that’s completed and strategizing where we wish to invest to make a meaningful difference in women’s health in Canada. Oh, and then there’s the customary dinners and fundraising events several times a week. Thankfully, I like chicken!

Can you briefly describe your career path and how you got your current job? 

Like many in the unique role of corporate community investment, I started on the non-profit side. I have had the pleasure of working at Big Brothers of Canada (now, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada) and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (now, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). In both instances, my focus was corporate fundraising and cause marketing. I joined Shoppers Drug Mart in a role unrelated to philanthropy. Through a process I can only attribute to good karma, I was given the opportunity to lead Community Investment at Shoppers Drug Mart. It was an exciting time, where the company was moving towards a more strategic giving approach, and we’ve never looked back.

I joined Shoppers Drug Mart in a role unrelated to philanthropy. Through a process I can only attribute to good karma, I was given the opportunity to lead Community Investment at Shoppers Drug Mart.

What’s the coolest part about your job and what’s the biggest challenge?

The absolute coolest part is impacting women’s health in Canada. It’s all about scale. There are over 1,200 Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix locations across Canada, with 1.2 Million customers visiting us each day, of which 80% are women. The opportunity to invest in terrific programs, often delivered by a pharmacist – the most accessible member of the community health care team – is beyond meaningful. It has the potential to be life-changing!

The biggest challenge, for me, is to stay home. Shoppers Drug Mart Associate-owners participate in a great many community-based women’s health investments across Canada, and I truly want to participate in them all. The passion for the community, as evidenced by Associate owners and their store teams is incredibly motivating for me. It always reminds me that Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix is the best company, ever!

What advice would you give to a job seeker looking for meaningful work?

Be patient. You never know where your career will develop. Get involved in your community and network in the sector that fascinates you most. Remain passionate for change which means you will always have meaningful work, whatever you do.

Remain passionate for change which means you will always have meaningful work, whatever you do.

What can you identify as the biggest opportunity in your sector right now?

The biggest opportunity is to align community investment initiatives in direct support of business values. And once that’s completed – and that’s not an easy process – companies need to stand for something big. A brand point of view helps align everyone to a common purpose that ladders up to the overall business purpose.  For our community investment brand, Shoppers LOVE YOU, the brand point of view is, “We believe you’re at your best when you LOVE YOU.” That’s strong, aspirational and makes for meaningful work here at Shoppers Drug Mart as we work to truly impact women’s health in Canada. 

Anything else you want to add?

I’d like to provide context to Shoppers Drug Mart’s social purpose and how we bring that concept to life. Shoppers LOVE YOU is the identity for our long-standing commitment for women’s health. To help women live their best life, the Shoppers LOVE YOU program is designed to help women stay focused on making their own health a priority by connecting them to the expertise of our partners at leading women’s health organizations and to others in support of women’s health initiatives across Canada. More information can be found at www.shoppersloveyou.ca

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