Pro Chat: Manny Leal


Henry Santer

Leal made it clear in his presentation that the students’ largest priority should be making sure they enjoy the rest of their lives.

Henry Santer, Copy Editor

On Thursday, Jan. 15, pharmacist Manny Leal visited Gables to speak with students and answer their questions regarding the intricacies of working in the pharmaceutical industry. Leal, who currently works at a local CVS Pharmacy, has spent substantial time with the company, and was invited to discuss his work and try to instill some of his ardent passion in this year’s juniors and seniors.

Originally from Cuba, Leal moved to the U.S. in 1958 to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas. After finding out that medicinal research was not how he wanted to spend the rest of his life, he found himself a part time job working in retail at a pharmacy in Omaha, Nebraska, and he has been doing it ever since. Leal’s one piece of advice that he wanted everyone to keep in mind was to find a job that you could enjoy for a long time.

“If you enjoy what you’re doing, that’s the first step. Don’t get into a situation where you’re doing something you don’t like that you’ll regret later,” Leal said.

Eventually, Leal came to find a job with Eckerd Corporation (which was sold to CVS Health in 2004) in South Florida. His greatest pleasure at work is interacting with customers; over time, he comes to know each of them individually and form an intimate bond with them. That is why he enjoys the retail aspect of working in medicine, as opposed to research or a hospital environment.

“As a pharmacist, you can do many different things. If you like retail, go into retail. You can work as an independent pharmacist, but it’s quite hard to get started. You can also work regularly at a hospital, if you think that’s what you’d like to do,” Leal said.

Leal encouraged the students to take a serious look at pharmaceutical work and see if they could envision themselves in it in the future. He has continued to work successfully for CVS for many years and his passion for his career has lasted just as long.