For one of the busiest people I know, Laila is an open and relaxed person to interview.
Admittedly it took several weeks to pin her down to a date, but she was worth waiting for.
Her parents came from Lebanon when Laila was a year old. She has five sisters and one brother, all of whom have professions in similar medical fields. Laila speaks lovingly of her role model parents whose work ethics encouraged them all.
“I wanted to be a civil engineer” she told me, “but my mother said NO. You will come home all dirty. You must have a nice clean job.” She laughed, “So I went to Sydney University for three years to become a Bachelor of Pharmacy.
Her first employment with a pharmacy at Eastwood lasted seven years. The owner offered her a partnership, but Laila, in her early twenties, was busy accepting another partnership. Marriage!
Laila and Mounir were married in 1992. He is an equally busy radiographer at various Sydney hospitals.
During the years of working for other pharmacies, Laila dreamed of owning her own business. She was mindful of the need to gain extra experience in retail training and worked part time at West Ryde, sometimes doing thirteen hour shifts.
A five day business was the goal Laila and Mounir sought and eventually found. Mr. McIntosh had established the pharmacy in Cabarita Road 45 years earlier. He was ready to offer a lease to the right person and Cape Cabarita was being built at the same time.
Laila proudly said “I had very big shoes to fill. Mr. McIntosh’s customers were very loyal to him, but gradually they accepted me and even to this day, Mr. McIntosh regards our shop as his local Pharmacy.”
As Breakfast Point evolved and IAG built, Laila was asked if she would be interested in opening a pharmacy in Cross Street. Mounir discussed the lease at length with the then lessor and finally they came to an agreement. The opportunity to service the areas of Cabarita and Breakfast Point combined was too appealing to let go.
Apart from personal professional advice, the services the two pharmacies provide are extensive. They range from Home Medicine reviews to Meds Check and Diabetes Meds Check. Blood pressure monitoring, Child and Family Health Nurse Advice, Dose Administration Advice (Webster Pack) and home delivery when required.
Speaking of the Breakfast Point pharmacy Laila told me “The first five years were a struggle. From fitting out the shop, purchasing stock, working out rosters. It was a huge decision, but the pure acceptance by the locals of our pharmacy has made it all worthwhile”.
Certainly worthwhile to the residents of Breakfast Point is the personal care Laila brings to each person who enters her pharmacy.
So much for her five working day week!