What do Salt Lake City; Ferndale, Washington; Marietta, Ohio; Parkersburg, West Virginia; and Enid, Oklahoma, have in common?

Arguably, not much—except for Melanie Trotta.

As a pharmacist for more than 30 years, Trotta has spent nearly the last decade working at Walgreens in almost a half-dozen states and four different time zones. Advances in her husband’s job spurred each relocation, but Walgreens’ approximately 9,000-store footprint helped ensure Trotta could also continue growing her own career.

Vince and Melanie Trotta
Walgreens pharmacist Melanie Trotta with her husband, Vince, have both been able to thrive in their careers no matter where they are in their cross-country journey.

“It’s great that I’ve been able to move seamlessly from one location to another,” she says. “The experiences I’ve had at Walgreens have enriched me as a woman, as a pharmacist, as a human being. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Trotta started with Walgreens in the Salt Lake City area as a floater pharmacist, filling in as needed at several locations. She and her husband eventually moved to Ferndale, Washington, where, for a short time, she worked as a pharmacist at the Walgreens there. Then, in 2017, they were off to Marietta, Ohio, and a lucky break helped her land her next opportunity. 

“I contacted the store manager in Marietta, and she said, ‘Oh, we haven’t had any turnover in a few years, but here are all the other chains and grocery stores that might have openings,’” Trotta recalls. “My husband was ready to turn down a job opportunity there, until lo and behold, two days later, I got a call from the same store manager who told me she just found out one of her pharmacists was leaving.”

Trotta eventually became the pharmacy manager in Marietta. While there, she also worked as needed at a Walgreens in nearby Parkersburg, West Virginia, before moving in 2019 to Enid, Oklahoma, where she’s currently a pharmacist.

“My husband and I like to say our favorite place is wherever we are right now,” says Trotta. “Any time there’s a new place or a new experience, it’s a little daunting to think, ‘Oh, I hope the team and patients accept me,’ but things have always gone well.”

As she’s moved from place to place, Trotta has adapted to everything from different store layouts and patient insurance plans to diverse community cultures and customer needs.

She says she has also seen her profession evolve, with more women working as pharmacists and in other key leadership positions.

I’ve seen more females take on leadership roles since I’ve joined Walgreens,” she says. “I was a pharmacy manager, and at the store I’m at now, my pharmacy manager and store manager are both female. I’m happy and proud to say that I’m surrounded by very strong women leaders.

Amanda Key and Melanie Trotta
Pharmacy manager Amanda Key (left) with pharmacist Melanie Trotta at their store in Enid, Oklahoma.

With as much change as she’s been through, one of the things that’s remained constant for Trotta is to always put the patient first.

“Some people come to the pharmacy because they have a concern or they’re not feeling well, so I try to make their experience as positive as I can,” she says.

This became even more important during the pandemic. Trotta, along with tens of thousands of Walgreens pharmacy team members, has been providing COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and information to patients. After COVID-19 vaccines were first approved in late 2020, Trotta participated in four vaccination clinics at long-term care facilities in Oklahoma, including two in the rural area known as the Panhandle. She says patients were so happy because, to them, Walgreens wasn’t just bringing vaccines, but also hope.

“It’s life changing. It’s lifesaving,” she says. “Residents of long-term care facilities are some of the most vulnerable patients in the COVID pandemic. So I’ve been honored to be part of the team.”

Trotta counts these clinics among the many meaningful opportunities during her almost 10 years as a Walgreens pharmacist.

“It’s great to be involved with a company that, when I see commercials on TV advertising Walgreens and the Walgreens experience, I can take pride in knowing I contribute to that every day.”