AS Chief Executive Officer/Founder of LiveWell Pharmacy, Dr Tonoya Toyloy-Borrows boasts nearly two decades' experience in the pharmaceutical sector. The newly appointed board member at RA Williams has also served on the board of the National Health Fund, as well as several committees of the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica. And she was Miss Jamaica World 2004, and holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Florida.
Currently also a lecturer at The University of the West Indies, Mona and The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), Dr Toyloy-Borrows tells All Woman that she is also a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a multi-businesswoman, a pharmacist, an educator, and an artist.
"I wear many hats," the 42-year-old pointed out. "I am passionate about what and whom I love and my greatest achievement is staying true to myself through all these roles."
She draws and paints and has sold her pieces, and was even asked to showcase her art at a gallery in Kingston, but chickened out.
"And I kind of still regret that," the Wolmer's Girls' alumna, who hails from Edgewater in Portmore, St Catherine said.
She believes that having passion in what you do, integrity in how you do it, peace of mind while and because of how you are doing it, and true contentment when it is done, are the ultimate successes that money can't buy.
"If you don't have your own definition of success, it means success has already been defined for you and you are following models of success that might not be your true path," she shared. "Success for me is doing what you do, the best that you can do it, without holding back."
And successful she has been; she says from very young, her parents instilled in their children a strong belief in God and a belief in self, a journey which started for her at St Hugh's Prep.
"I may not know how I will get through a challenge, but with confidence first that I will, knowing God's hand guides, then the application of tried-and-true principles of hard work, consistency and patience, what can't I accomplish?" she asked.
The pandemic she said has brought about a great change to her daily routine — "I was at first pregnant and then taking care of a baby, so I was forced to take precautions, and began working from home – a game changer".
"My typical day now feels better for my work-life balance and begins and ends with family and baby time, and includes throughout the day the gym, remote work, cooking, spending time with my husband, then sleep. My best productivity for work happens after I sneak out of bed in the wee hours of the morning when the whole world is sleeping," she shared.
Health care has always been her interest area, and ultimately choosing pharmacy was a process of careful selection, she explained.
"A pharmacist is the most accessible professional in health care, and with that comes the opportunity to impact my customers' lives."
Indeed having a positive impact has been her greatest love about her career.
"Over the last few years, I have transitioned from dispensing and the technical work of being a pharmacist to more strategic, training and leadership roles. This created the mental space to look at the bigger picture and to be creative with my time. I absolutely love the creative freedom. Being on the board of RA Williams Ltd is also a best fit scenario for me as it brings together all that I love — pharmacy and strategy."
Dr Toyloy-Borrows already had her Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from UTech and was completing her internship at the time she entered Miss Jamaica.
"It was quite the balancing act meeting those obligations and the pageant events," she confessed. "Being the introvert that I am, being in a pageant was definitely outside of my comfort zone. I still look back and wonder how I managed to make the transition from behind the counter to the stage."
But it was a necessary transition, she said, as the pageant experience taught her about life, service and giving back.
"There are positive and negative sides to pageants; the negative sides of beauty, you may learn that you are not going to fit everyone's standard of physical beauty and they will have a lot to say about that. But even negative criticisms can have positive consequences like life experience, resilience, and a stronger sense of self. The positive sides, especially now more prominent with the evolution of pageants today, are beauty with a purpose, service to charities, giving back, which are all essential to a fulfilling life. I have personally felt a greater joy when I give, remarkably more than when I receive."
Her best career achievement to date, she said, would be a combination of attaining her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and starting the LiveWell pharmacies.
"I have worked in every facet of the pharmaceutical industry and with that comes a unique experience and viewpoint from which I pull from," she explained. "Together with an awesome team, we have created a place where you can access customer care, health advice, friendly and professional service, just help when you need it. For over 10 years, we have aimed at putting our customers and community first. We have helped in big ways, giving to charities, participating in church, school events, and back to school drives. We have also helped in smaller ways too, doing home visits to check up on the elderly, going grocery shopping with clients to help them make the best choices, making every sick child feel even a little better with the activities of our LiveWell little ones' club or sometimes just lending a listening ear and giving life advice. In the end it's how you make people feel that matters the most," Dr Toyloy-Borrows said.
She continued: "I would say I worked the hardest when we opened the second store of LiveWell Pharmacy. At the time, I still had managerial and dispensing responsibilities to the Portmore branch, I was teaching five courses at both pharmacy schools and driving to and from Montego Bay on an almost weekly basis to manage and dispense at our newest Fairview branch."
But she also remembers all the stories of the people she has impacted, even in small ways.
"I would say that I impact the most lives amongst my team members. As the team leader, I invest heavily in making the work environment motivating and fertile ground for progress. Through our "brand-you" seminars, flexible work schedule or our CSEC scholarships, we have staff members who while with us pursued careers in nursing, dentistry, and with the Jamaica Constabulary Force and so on," she shared.
Being a mom and having a little one who depends on her is her motivation to do well, and she has thrown her all into raising 13-month-old Kairo.
"He is my joy and my new job. In the early days after he was born, I realised quickly that this role called motherhood is the hardest, most rewarding, most time-consuming job I may ever have. I am still in awe of God's blessing in our lives and excited to grow with him," she gushed. "The role that I must play as he builds his own beautiful life is my current motivation."
When she does unwind it's with a good book and spending time with her husband.
"Spending time with him is a part of unwinding because we have a relationship that brings out the best in me," she said. "And I do try to prioritise getting some sleep, managing stress, drinking lots of water and eating healthy."
For young women looking to enter the field, she had this bit of advice:
"Before you start any career path and invest incredible sums of money, time and energy, you should do a 'fam flight'. My husband is an airline pilot and he shared with me that every aspiring student pilot is first taken in a plane for a first-row seat to view the world of aviation, gaining real life experience in their field of interest. Seek an internship in a pharmacy to gain a better understanding of what your choice would mean for your life. Being a pharmacist is rewarding, but the long hours and constant demands on your time can take its toll. But if you love what you do, you never truly work a day in your life."