How To Be A… Pharmecutical VP: Jann Rigell

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As Vice President of Account Management at Express Scripts (a pharmacy benefit manager that manages the prescription drug benefits for nearly 100 million Americans), “Working Girl” Jann Rigell is at the top of her game and shares what keeps her motivated to succeed!


Name:                 Jann Rigell

Age:                      45

Location:          Orlando, Florida (native Floridian – a rare find!)

Profession:      Vice President, Account Management at Express Scripts


How did you get started?

I’m actually a pharmacist by education.  I earned my degree in pharmacy at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.  I started out like nearly every pharmacist, practicing in a retail pharmacy, then a mail service pharmacy.  After about five years of traditional practice, I decided that I wanted a different pharmacy career so I did a post-graduate residency in Washington, DC at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).  It was there that I learned about many different careers for pharmacists in corporate America that were much different than working in a retail pharmacy.  I was recruited from APhA to Medco Health Solutions and moved to New Jersey.  Medco Health was where I learned the pharmacy benefit management business.  It was truly the start of my corporate career in health care and I haven’t looked back.


What’s an average day like?

Every day is different.  I spend a lot of time on the road, meeting with clients about the services Express Scripts provides them; negotiating renewals of contracts, introducing new services to clients that can help save them money on their employees’ prescription drug benefits.  No two clients want exactly the same thing, so my meetings require a lot of finesse and relationship building to keep clients happy and wanting to renew their contracts with Express Scripts.  Some days, I spend a lot of time in internal meetings representing my clients’ interests to our internal teams at Express Scripts and ensuring that we deliver the service our clients expect. Still, other days are spent managing my own team and ensuring they have the tools they need to be successful in delivering for their clients as well as contributing to the success of their careers.


Why do you do it?

I enjoy the challenges that each day brings me. The challenges keep me sharp, keep me interested, keep me creative to think up solutions to meet our clients’ needs.   Also, it affords me the opportunity to play as hard as I work!  I enjoy great vacations as often as I can get the time away.  I try to do at least two big vacations a year with my boyfriend out of the country so that my company cell phone doesn’t work! And I take a few long weekends away with my girls to recharge my spirit.

Ups and downs you sometimes face on the job:

Ups to my job include securing the renewal of a contract a client has with Express Scripts; that means several million dollars in revenue to our company.  The downs are not being able to renew a client and they move their business to one of our competitors.  It doesn’t happen very often.  But when it does, it’s never a good feeling.

Your greatest achievement to date?

Wow, that’s a hard question!  Most people would say my biggest accomplishment to date is becoming a Vice President at a Fortune 50 company.   I manage a budget of over $2 billion in revenue annually so it’s a lot of responsibility.  But two years ago, I decided to go to graduate school and get my MBA.  I entered an executive MBA at University of Missouri, St. Louis (UMSL), which is a joint venture with my company and the university.  While embarking on this endeavor, Express Scripts decided to buy one of its competitors, which happened to be the company where I started my health care career, Medco Health Solutions.  So I guess another great achievement is surviving the merger and coming out of it with more responsibility AND doing the work to earn an MBA without missing a beat at the office.  I graduate August 10, 2013 and I cannot WAIT!

What might be next for you?  

I’m not sure what my next chapter will bring.  I’ve recently been invited to speak at professional conferences for pharmacists on topics regarding specialty biotech drugs and strategies to manage the high costs of those medications.  Maybe my next chapter will be on the speaker’s circuit as a health care management expert, but my dream is to be a novelist.  I’m a voracious reader and I would like nothing more than to be able to create a virtual world of words that someone would like to get lost in!  I guess, the sky is the limit!



What are your top 5 hair tips?

First of all, my biggest go-to hair tip is: have a great, reliable stylist to take care of your hair professionally.  I see my stylist, Rhonda Spears, every two weeks to make sure my hair is in the best shape possible; but to hold on to that salon look as long as possible, my five tips for in-between visits are:

  1. Pro Style brown hair gel to keep my edges smooth.
  2. Small natural hair brush to take care of helmet hair that can result from sleeping on a plane!
  3.  MOROCCAN OIL Hydrating Styling Cream – ½ a pump before bed with sleep cap on.
  4.  Hair clips to hold curls when sleeping or working out.
  5.  CATWALK Haute Iron Spray for heat protection and shine with flat iron or curling iron.

Fun FactJann was a concert pianist until the age of 26 and performed her last piano competition that year.  Jann still loves classical music to this day and has also recorded three Christmas CDs with her church while living in New Jersey.  She was a featured soloist for the carol, “O, Holy Night”.

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