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CVS Pharmacy celebrates annual Paragon Award winners

October 25, 2023 |8 minute read

Paragon Award winners 2023

Top row, from left: Xavier Gilbert, Ashley Raghubir, Jay Gillespie, Grishma Ajmera, Carmen Ortiz, Theophilus Anguah, Andy Alvarado, Meghan Key, Steve Tyson, Erika Muhlenkamp, Donnie Owens, Alexie He

The annual Paragon Awards recognize the best of the best among CVS Health® colleagues and are among the highest honors awarded by the company. Celebrated during Customer Service Week and American Pharmacists Month, the honorees are leaders who put people first and meet our consumers where they are, consistently working to improve the consumer and colleague experience across our more than 9,000 CVS Pharmacy® locations and in our distribution centers.

Xavier Gilbert
Store manager - Queens, NY

Xavier's career with CVS Pharmacy began more than 13 years ago, as a store manager in training. Born in Argentina, Xavier migrated to the U.S. at the age of four. He credits much of his success to his ability to overcome challenging situations, a principle he applies to his work every day to ensure the best outcome for his team and customers. Xavier is committed to developing talent across his team and district and is always there to recognize team members for accomplishments and milestones amidst his busy day-to-day schedule. He’s also been involved in fundraising activities for the American Lung Association’s Lung Force campaign, hosted regional toy drives and supported local COVID-19 immunization clinics.

Ashley Raghubir
Pharmacy manager - Ozone Park, NY

A CVS Pharmacy employee since 2014, Ashley was recognized for her commitment to serving her patients and the broader Ozone Park community. She hosts an annual immunization clinic that is open to the public with the goal of ensuring as many members of the community get vaccinated as possible. To support public health throughout the year, Ashley and her team encourage their patients to remain up to date on any preventive vaccinations that they may be eligible for, such as vaccines for shingles, pneumonia, hepatitis A and B, and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

Jay Gillespie
Store manager, district leader, emerging leader - Sneads Ferry, NC

A retired U.S. Marine, Jay joined CVS Pharmacy eight years ago to start his second career. Jay, a loving father and husband, is passionate about creating simplicity for his team to help them better serve their customers at his busy store. Despite having to overcome injuries from his time in combat,  he is known for navigating the challenges he faces with a positive attitude that inspires trust in his team members and the customers they support.

Beyond his store team, Jay is equally committed to the military community in North Carolina, where he leads the Retail Work Experience Externship program to support military personnel as they transition to civilian life, encouraging many to also consider CVS Health for their second careers.

Grishma Ajmera
Pharmacy manager - Holly Springs, NC

A CVS Pharmacy employee since 2007, Grishma has been a trusted advisor to her Holly Springs patients for years, supporting all their medication, vaccination and other pharmacy care needs. Throughout the pandemic, she was a calming voice to her patients and able to answer the testing, vaccine, and treatment questions they had and made sure her pharmacy team felt supported and secure. 

Grishma's dedication, hard work, and passion for caring for others translates to her personal life as well. She is a caregiver for several family members, including her husband who has an autoimmune disease, her young son who has a heart condition that requires surgery and a brother who is battling cancer. While her brother is currently undergoing treatment, she has been identified as a cell donor match and plans to donate cells if his treatment is unsuccessful.

Carmen Ortiz
Store manager - Tampa, FL

Carmen has worked for CVS Pharmacy for 28 years and been in her role as a store manager for the past eight. Carmen's strong family values carry over into her work at her store. She nurtures her team and provides them space to grow, while ensuring they have the integral training and recognition to thrive in their own roles.

Carmen is equally passionate about the local community. She’s a frequent participant in local charity walks and supporter of the Children’s Cancer Center. When Tampa was impacted by a recent hurricane, she prioritized patients and customers, making sure she and her team were able to keep the store open so that the community would have access to necessary supplies and prescriptions.

Theophilus Anguah
Pharmacy manager, district leader, emerging leader - Jefferson City, MO

Theophilus joined the company in 2014 and has a proven-track record of ensuring his patients are provided outstanding pharmacy care. He was born and raised in Ghana and recently became a U.S. citizen. Theophilus understands the importance of health care, especially in rural areas, where access to providers can be challenging. He puts his patients first and is committed to ensuring they are protected from common illnesses through routine vaccinations. He never misses an opportunity to explain why vaccinations are so important to public health. Theophilus also works to identify ways for his patients to save money on their medications, so cost is not a factor to remaining adherent.

Andy Alvarado
Store manager - Alhambra, CA

Andy began his career with CVS Pharmacy in 2015, as a shift supervisor in training in Alhambra. Since Andy stepped into his role managing the Eagle Rock location in 2012, he has transformed his store by empowering each member of his team to develop their talents, so they have the skills needed to best serve their customers.

Andy's focus on his customers comes through in everything he does. He’s gotten to know many of his customers by name and some will even stop by just to say hello when he’s in the store. Andy is passionate about the role he plays within the community and takes every piece of customer feedback to heart as an opportunity for improvement and growth.

Meghan Key
Pharmacy manager - Thomson, GA

Meghan has been a CVS Pharmacy colleague since 2005 and is dedicated to serving the Thomson community. She goes above and beyond when it comes to caring for her family and her patients. Meghan strongly believe that immunizations are an important part of preventive care and works to ensure that her patients are aware of the vaccines they are eligible for. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic she was a trusted health care partner for her patients ensuring they were vaccinated and could access testing and treatment, if needed.  

Steve Tyson
Executive director, distribution center - Lumberton, NJ

Steve’s career with CVS Pharmacy began more than 30 years ago, when he started as an hourly case picker at the Lumberton facility. Since that time Steve has worked in four distribution centers across the country, most recently relocating with his family back to the Lumberton, NJ, location in early 2022. Upon returning to the Lumberton Distribution Center as Executive Director, Steve first focused on improving the work environment for his employees by integrating meaningful operational changes that now allow stores to better serve their customers and patients.

Erika Muhlenkamp
Pharmacy manager, district leader, emerging leader - Greenville, OH

Erika began her career with CVS Pharmacy in 2012 as a pharmacy intern and has worked her way up to Pharmacy Manager. She has developed a reputation for cultivating a trusting, positive work environment and building strong teams who are devoted to caring for their patients. Erika is not only passionate about her role as a pharmacist, but also her role as a mentor to pharmacy interns and new pharmacists just beginning their career. She is a teacher at heart and believes engaging and inspiring her students is the best way to help them develop a similar love of the profession. She’s also involved in K9 Partners for Patriots, a nonprofit that connects veterans with rescue dogs.

Donnie Owens
Lead director, distribution center - Ennis, TX 

Donnie puts his team first to ensure they are ready to perform the vital work that happens inside his distribution center each day. Every morning, before work begins, Donnie leads his team in a warm-up routine where he addresses concerns and makes colleague personal health and safety a priority. The growth and development of his team members is always top of mind for Donnie, and he works with each of them to provide opportunities to advance their careers with CVS Health.

Connection to community is another passion of Donnie's. Together with his team, they have facilitated donations to many organizations within the local area in recent years, including the North Texas Food Bank, the Ennis School District and Texas Health Resources.

Alexie He
Pharmacy manager, district leader, emerging leader - Los Angeles, CA

Alexie joined CVS Pharmacy in 2013. His parents, both Cambodian immigrants, instilled the importance of hard work, supporting others and treating people with respect in him from a young age, and he demonstrates those qualities at his pharmacy each day. He is dedicated to caring for his patients and has encouraged his team to pay close attention to whether their patients remain compliant with their medication therapy so they can be as healthy as they can be. Even more importantly, Alexie encourages them to treat their patients like family. He has earned the respect of his team and is a mentor to other pharmacists in the Los Angeles area.   

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