The brain and chief executive officer behind the 501(3)c nonprofit organization, BooksFromBekkah, Inc.
Recognized in 2017 as one of DELUX Magazine's 30 Under 30 honorees, both native and resident of St. Louis, MO, Dr. Rebakkah (Ruh-beh-kuh) Johnson, otherwise known as "Bekkah," is a passionately innovative, goal-hungry 25-year old, whom practices pharmacy in the Greater St. Louis region.
Most of Dr. Johnson's pharmacy experience stems from dually-working throughout her pharmacy school career at Barnes-Jewish Hospital for five years, consistently rated as one of the top hospitals in the United States by U.S News & World Report. She worked there as the first African American student pharmacist, and, after a nearly decade-long hire freeze of African American pharmacists in the entire pharmacy department.
"a ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships were built for."
After studying abroad in Essex, an Eastern-county of Greater London, United Kingdom, during her final year of pharmacy school, passions were found and career paths changed: Dr. Johnson shifted from the hospital pharmacy-realm to community pharmacy practice, post-graduation.
Made with the thrill of face-to-face interactions and witnessing the positive influence of direct impacts on individual patient health outcomes, the unforgettably insightful pharmacy lessons from Briah Kohn at Lloyd's Pharmacy—the largest retailer in Essex, single-handedly adjusted the sails of Dr. Johnson's knowledge and expertise. This new-found knowledge and change of patient impact steered her towards similar large retail practice in the United States, at CVS Pharmacy.
the struggle was real
One fun-fact about Dr. Johnson: her return to The United States in 2016 was "LITERALLY THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE." To this day, she both primarily and optimally functions during their time zone. Not only is she an avid believer that her circadian rhythm and concept of time was left-behind at her apartment in London, she also claims so was her pronunciation of American pharmaceuticals. Upon her return, for example, she had to relearn the names of common American drugs. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), for instance, is called Paracetamol in London.
Holding a doctorate degree just six years after graduating high school is not easy, and Dr. Johnson will transparently tell you as such. She completed four-years' worth of undergraduate coursework in two years, and began graduate school her junior year of college. On top of being involved in numerous campus organizations and working nearly 35 hour pay-periods at Barnes Jewish Hospital, at St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP), long gone were her Clayton High School achievements like graduating with Honors. She instead claims graduating “Thank-you-laude” from STLCOP. In addition to that, and to her shock and dismay, also long gone with admission at the college was the familiar culturally-versed and vast melting pot of students.
Not too much of a surprise, and similarly to most other St. Louis institutions erected in the Civil War era, her college wasn’t exactly diverse (at the beginning). In fact, in 2010, she began her college journey as merely one of two African Americans in her entire incoming freshman class at STLCOP. Post rigorous recruitment efforts to both increase and retain diversity, however, she broke STLCOP history at graduation in 2016: graduating with eleven other black pharmacists—making twelve the largest graduating class of black pharmacists since the college's founding in 1864.
advancement of african americans
Holding true to the core of BooksFromBekkah Inc, Dr. Johnson holds a strong commitment to the advancement of African Americans and does her best to put her passion where her action is. She is a proud activist, and time-willingly participates in public demonstrations protesting an array of social injustices. Success of her black peers at STLCOP, for example, are additionally extremely important to her, and quickly became known as "the plug" for her dedication to lead study groups and provide study materials.
Our founding President, in addition to BooksFromBekkah, Inc, too, founded a legacy at the college. Due to her fierce dedication to innovatively advance African Americans in any degree fathomable, with the gracious help of the STLCOP Black Alumni Chapter, now at STLCOP graduation ceremonies the adoption of celebrating African American heritage and culture through African kente stoles is practiced and upheld.
the perfect storm
Dr. Johnson is on a current pursuit towards her Master’s in Business Administration in Healthcare Management, through an accelerated remote-program offered by University of Texas at Tyler. With the soon to be conferred degree, she plans to use her expanded knowledge-base as leverage for creating a healthcare system tailored towards St. Louis’ underserved population. “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” With side-by-side, real-time lessons being made from dual roles of both business student and Founding President, the perfect storm is most certainly in the midst.
it takes a village
With the support of the St. Louis community—ranging from individuals to large groups, and small businesses to large corporations—our widely-shared passion of BooksFromBekkah, Inc. to uplift our African American youth with financial support through college textbook scholarships continuously manifests like wildfire. As she steadily seeks her divine purpose through Christ, Dr. Rebakkah Johnson strives to continually serve as a vessel of support for St. Louis African Americans through BooksFromBekkah Inc, and discovers new avenues for advancement.