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Profile of an Entrepreneurial Leader: Monica Nikseresht

Dr. Nikseresht would be the first to tell you that the original entrepreneur in her family is her father, Masoode Nikseresht. Monica’s father grew up in Iran raised by a pharmacist himself. Following in his father’s footsteps as a pharmacist, he would decide to come to America to pursue his own pharmacy degree. Masoode graduated from Creighton University with his RPh and created a legacy of two independent pharmacies located in Red Oak and Glenwood, IA.  Monica grew up behind the counter of her family’s community pharmacies and witnessed first-hand that if you are willing to break out of your comfort zone and challenge what innovation means, there is no limit to what you can achieve. Monica said it best, “If you are willing to put in the hard work [and] if you are willing to have the tough days, you are going to have the incredible days. You are going to see the value and have the passion for what you do every day.”

Although Monica was attached to her father’s side growing up, when she came to Drake returning home to take over the family business wasn’t her initial plan.  She admitted that she wanted to go against the grain; she wanted to make a name for herself, and coming home to follow in her father’s footsteps she believed would not allow her to do that. It took until her P3 year, while working on community pharmacy grant project with Professor Erin Ulrich that this question struck Monica, “what is the fate of my family’s pharmacies?” At the time she remembers reading about a large number of independent community pharmacies closing. It was in that pivotal moment that she decided she couldn’t leave her father’s legacy behind or the fate of their family’s patients.

So, what helped Monica prepare for stepping into her father’s entrepreneurial shoes? Monica credits a lot of success to the encouraging professors at Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the opportunities that were provided to her. She highlighted how essential it was for her to have mentors within the college that not only presented her with opportunities but also really challenged her to develop her skills further. Monica is also a past Delta Rx Entrepreneurial Summer Intern, where she had the opportunity to work with and learn from Dr. Brett Barker at NuCara Pharmacy. During her experience, Monica learned more about the operational side of community pharmacy and providing clinical services. From there, she served as the executive intern for Delta Rx, which really pushed her outside of her comfort zone in presenting and finding creative ways to market what the institute had to offer. Monica really felt that it was a mix of the opportunities she was provided and her dedication to dive deeper that prepared her to be an entrepreneurial innovator with big shoes to fill.

The world of independent community pharmacy is not easy, especially when competing with large chain pharmacies and mail order services, but Monica has approached taking over the family operation with a clear vision in mind. That vision is to continue to serve and treat patients like family while simultaneously integrating and enhancing the clinical services they offer. Monica and her family will always strive to provide their patients with top notch clinical care, while also seeing them as individuals who they strive to relationally connect with at each visit.  Monica’s professional story reminds us that the path to providing true entrepreneurial innovation is being courageous enough to take the first step and to put the patient first every day after that.