Gayle Shields

This entry is part 55 of 69 in the series

Gayle Shields, Giant Food Pharmacy

Gayle Shields

Giant Food, Landover
Director of Pharmacy Operations


Years with company:  Eight months



Education degrees and professional/volunteer organizations:

  • B.Pharm. from University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • M.B.A. from University of South Africa

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career:
I have had a number of amazing mentors over the years but the two mentors who have made the biggest impact on my business life are Geraldine Bartlett,  my very first manager as a newly qualified pharmacist, and Raymond McCall, Senior VP of Pharmacy at Ahold. Geraldine was a tough task master and always led by example. She taught me the power of effective communication, both in written and spoken form, to accept nothing but the best from yourself, the beauty of keeping it simple, the importance of networking, and strong planning and organization skills. Raymond inspires me every day through his vision, leadership, business acumen, positive, can-do attitude, “down-to earth” style and amazing way of connecting with people at all levels in the business.

Outside of work, my mother has always been a steadfast mentor.  She always expected me to do my best and led me to believe that I could do anything my heart desired. She gave me confidence and always believed in me.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
I am proud of being able to transition from a being a pharmacist to being a business woman, while still keeping close to my clinical roots. This involved continually developing myself and honing my skills. Then mid-career I left my home country and a successful career of 18 years in order that our children could have a safe environment to grow up in and the opportunities that the U.S. has to offer. In 2004 I restarted my career from scratch in the U.S. and built my way up over the past eight years to the position I currently hold.  I am proud to always have made a difference and left a mark at the companies that I have worked at.

Most challenging part of your job:
Getting the right work/life balance and finding a small amount of time for myself.

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
Stay focused on “making the main thing, the main thing.”  It is very easy to get stuck in a rut of moving from one task to the next without keeping your main focus on the overall strategy and what will ultimately lead to success in your role. Don’t accept roadblocks, make it happen, be confident and bold – rather ask for forgiveness than permission. Never compromise your integrity. Be passionate about serving your customers.

Spending as much time as possible with my husband, Harry, and our daughters, Brittany and Jade.  I have a passion for Irish and Highland dance – judging, teaching and assisting my daughter to reach her goals.