2019 ZADA COOPER LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM
What are you passionate about?
What are you good at?
What does the world need?
Where do your answers match up? This is your X-Factor.
“Your X-Factor is that sweet spot, where your passion and skills meet a need in the world,” said Kelli Jo Welter—a fourth-year Doctor of Pharmacy student at Drake University, who co-presented with Stephanie Lukas, ’12 PharmD/MPH, at the 2019 Zada Cooper Leadership Symposium.
“Whatever profession you've chosen, you need to ask yourself, ‘Why is this important to me? Why am I staying up until two in the morning studying for my therapeutics exam? What is the point of all this? Your X-Factor makes you feel connected to your purpose and believe in yourself,” Welter added. “When you radiate your X-Factor, other people also believe in you.”
Welter—National President of the 2019-20 APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP)—discovered that her personal superpower is positivity. “I am a radiant, fearless cheerleader,” she said. “Instead of getting roped into fear about the future, it’s so much more fun to think about all the opportunities.”
Lukas shared that public health is her X-Factor; she is passionate about the field, has developed skills in it, and it fills a need. However, her compass wasn’t always pointed in this direction. “I actually planned to get a PhD in wildlife biology,” Lukas said. “I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania. It had my passion. It had my skills. I loved it.
“But then I got sick, and it opened my eyes to how people around me were struggling to access the health care system. That 'need' circle really grew. And that's actually what brought me to pharmacy because I wanted to help strengthen health systems around the world.”
Once you have determined your X-Factor, the presenters said, work it into your cover letters, your “30-second elevator pitch” when networking with people in the profession, and as your personal driving force.
“Lead with your X-Factor” in a cover letter, Lukas said. “If you don't start off with it, they may not read to your second paragraph. Say it in a way that they're going to remember. You want to make sure your resume and cover letter are put in the right pile. Make that process really easy for them!”
Some of the breakout session attendees said they were passionate about:
- “Empathizing with others. Recognizing nonverbal cues for moods and emotions, and helping them process that.”
- “I get a lot of gratification and satisfaction from checking things off a list, even if it’s just in my head.”
- “I’m passionate about seeing others succeed.”