Melissa Murer Corrigan










Vice President, Social Impact

As an admired pharmacy professional and dedicated mentor, Melissa Murer Corrigan has garnered plenty of accolades, but few are as satisfying as the guidance she provides to the Corridor’s young professionals, she said.

Ms. Murer Corrigan serves as vice president of social impact at ACT as part of the testing company’s Center for Equity in Learning, which launched last year.

As a first-generation college graduate herself, Ms. Murer Corrigan said she can empathize with the difficulties involved in acclimating to higher education. Even the process of seeking out financial aid can be trying without assistance from an experienced parent, she said.

“If you grow up in a household and only have one parent, and they are just struggling to get by and keep things moving within the family, the idea of going to college or even helping the student fill out … their financial aid form could be really difficult,” she said.

She has also served on the board of directors for Corridor Women Connect, a professional networking, volunteer service and fundraising organization, is an adjunct assistant professor at the UI College of Pharmacy, and serves on the UI’s executive leadership board.

Those roles have led to many mentorship opportunities – a practice that eluded her early in her career, but one that has since become one of the most fulfilling elements of her work, she said.

“Early on in my career, my mentor said meeting with me was the highlight of his day and he just loved it,” she said. “In my early 20s, I didn’t quite understand. But now I do, and I like to think I’m moving it forward and paying it back.”

Serving as a mentor with Corridor Women Connect, Ms. Murer Corrigan said mentees are encouraged to share their professional story with others. With a changing professional landscape that’s likely to include more lateral career moves than the previous generation had, that exercise is becoming even more valuable, she said.

“I think in our current economy and gig economy, where people have multiple career paths and multiple jobs, I think it’s really important for those of us anywhere, no matter what field you’re in, to reach out and connect with others,” she said.

Supporting people through their professional transitions no doubt has special meaning for Ms. Murer Corrigan, whose own career path took a turn when she began working for ACT in 2012.

Prior to that position, she spent more than two decades working with pharmaceutical associations, including 17 years as the first-ever executive director and CEO of the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) in Washington, D.C.

In a CBJ Women of Influence nomination letter, UI College of Pharmacy Dean Don Letendre noted that when Ms. Murer Corrigan’s assumed that role, she did so at considerable risk due to the organization’s fledgling status, limited finances and the lack of acceptance of pharmacy technicians within certain segments of the profession.

“She helped make it possible for several hundred thousand individuals to be recognized as nationally certified pharmacy technicians, and with superb business acumen, she guided her association through tremendous growth, national prominence, and achieved unquestionable financial solvency,” Mr. Letendre wrote. “Putting it bluntly … she did one heck of a job.”

Ms. Murer Corrigan helped establish last year’s inaugural Zada Cooper Leadership Symposium, which will return on May 6. The event was named in honor of Zada Cooper, an 1897 graduate of the UI College of Pharmacy.

When Ms. Murer Corrigan approached Mr. Letendre about the possibility of a leadership symposium, he was highly supportive, she said, and it wasn’t long before the event found its namesake.

“I just really thought about the grit and tenacity and persistence she must have had to be able to do that,” Ms. Murer Corrigan said. “I’m just thrilled to even know of her, and still very honored to do things that are kind of Zada-like now.” – Chase Castle