Loss prevention is a lot of things. But, at its core, loss prevention is the people putting in the work and showing up to protect customers, employees, and product, every day.
In this exclusive series, LP Magazine takes a closer look at the people behind loss prevention, and what makes them tick. Where did they get their start? What are they most proud of? What’s their favorite food?
Here, we talk with Tina Sellers, Vice President of Asset Protection for Rite Aid.
LPM: Tell us about yourself.
Tina Sellers: I am the Vice President of Asset Protection for Rite Aid. I have two wonderful kids and an understanding husband who have followed me around the country as I’ve progressed in my career. I am very lucky!
LPM: What was your first job?
TS: Coincidentally, my first job was working in a pharmacy. I ran the cash register, helped stock shelves, and eventually worked my way into the pharmacy, assisting with prescriptions and doing the store’s bookkeeping. I am actually a fourth generation retail professional — my great grandparents once owned a general store in the hills of Kentucky.
LPM: In your junior year of high school, what did you see as your career?
TS: I always wanted to be a teacher. I saw myself teaching civics and history to middle schoolers.
LPM: What are your favorite foods?
TS: I can’t resist dark chocolate!
LPM: What is your favorite TV show?
TS: I don’t watch much TV, I read books. I like historical biographies, good detective stories, and the occasional romance novel.
LPM: What are the top three items on your bucket list?
TS: I haven’t been to Italy or Greece yet; I would like to take piano or guitar lessons after I retire and have time; and I hope to volunteer with kids in some capacity someday.
LPM: Favorite sports?
TS: I’ve never been much of a sports fan, but recently got very interested in college basketball while rooting for UNC Chapel Hill (my daughter just graduated from there).
LPM: How did you get into LP?
TS: I took a job as part-time holiday help at Mervyn’s while studying for the bar exam. If you saw someone you thought was shoplifting and called it in to AP, you earned $10. I started paying attention to get extra money to pay off my student loans.
LPM: Where do you see yourself four years from now?
TS: I’ll continue to enjoy the ride as Rite Aid reinvents itself through its RxEvolution, and our world begins to return to normal after the worst of COVID-19 has passed. Our Rite Aid AP team is growing and gaining momentum in our battle against shrink and I am so proud to work with such dedicated people!
LPM: What keeps you up at night?
TS: The aggression we’re seeing throughout the retail industry right now feels unprecedented. Bold shoplifters, customers arguing over masks, everyone tired of COVID-19 and having short tempers — I worry about how we will restore calm, protect our associates, and ensure a pleasant shopping experience in our communities.
LPM: What would you change about your career if you had a magic wand?
TS: I don’t think I’d change much. I’ve been successful in reducing shrink in every job I’ve ever had and always felt I got the support I needed to get it done.
LPM: What is your general leadership style?
TS: I tend to be very direct in a caring way. I’m not quiet about what I need from my team, but I try to remember that everyone is on a journey and we all have different strengths. It’s important to not only point out opportunities for improvement, but also to spend time trying to ensure that the person I’m speaking with can see the path to that improvement before we end the conversation.
LPM: Tell us about a favorite boss.
TS: I’ve been so fortunate to have many! The ones I’ve enjoyed most are the ones who gave me the most autonomy. Being accountable for your results can be very empowering.
LPM: What do you do to keep up with current events and retail trends?
TS: I can’t praise Lisa LaBruno and RILA enough. Watching how that organization came together to support its members during crisis after crisis has been a model in facilitating cooperation and communication. Having a network to rely on has been an absolute lifeline, and they have done all in their power to be there for us, keep us updated on every detail, and ensure that we all were successful during civil unrest, social change, and a global pandemic. I am so appreciative of all their efforts!
LPM: What do you look for when hiring a candidate?
TS: Great work ethic, someone who loves to solve puzzles, someone who is smart and honest. We can teach the rest.
LPM: If you didn’t do this, what would you be doing?
TS: Working with kids in some capacity.
LPM: How do you measure your success?
TS: I am successful if my children are happy, kind, and productive.
LPM: What are your thoughts on using mentors?
TS: I think that mentorship and networking are tightly connected and I’ve always been fortunate to have a network of peers to help me along the way. Our jobs are stressful under the best of times, and my industry friends have gotten me through those times that have been the most difficult.
LPM: What are the three most important things when building an LP program?
TS: Buy-in from the team and the business partners, recognizing that great ideas come from those who work in the field and not the top down, and being crystal clear when communicating a vision and the path to success.
LPM: What’s next for the loss prevention industry?
TS: After the year we’ve come through I couldn’t begin to predict what comes next. I only know that whatever it is, our industry will meet the challenge, share best practices with one another, and protect our companies better than anyone else could. We are professional, dedicated, and capable, and I am always so proud to explain the value added by our teams.