The bright lights and warm weather of southern California provided the backdrop for the retail industry Wednesday morning as the 2019 NRF PROTECT Loss Prevention Conference and Expo took the stage from the Anaheim Convention Center. Following an evening welcome reception Tuesday night, this year’s conference once again commenced with the presentation of colors and introductory statements from Bob Moraca, NRF vice president of loss prevention.
“Over the next several days loss prevention professionals will have the opportunity to equip themselves with valuable industry knowledge, techniques, and the latest technologies so they can tackle their biggest loss prevention challenges” said Moraca. “This year, united by a shared mission, loss prevention and cyber risk professionals are coming together to discover essential tools, share ideas, build community, and advance together as an industry. Attendees will leave feeling informed and confident in their ability to protect the people, assets, and brands they serve.”
The day’s events then kicked off with a General Session led by a panel discussion featuring Joe LaRocca, senior advisor at RetaiLPartners, Scott McBride, vice president of global loss prevention, safety, and security with American Eagle, John McMahon, commander of information technology group with the Los Angeles Police Department, Dan Ryan, vice president of security at Brookfield Properties, and Kathleen Smith, vice president of asset protection with Albertsons. The panel discussed retail’s response to violence in today’s workplace and the importance of tactical training, de-escalation techniques, assessing volatile situations, the importance of establishing effective partnerships with first responders and neighboring retail partners, and how to use technology to improve preparedness and response.
This was followed by vibrant conversation with Carla Harris, vice chairman and managing director with Morgan Stanley on “The Undermining Effects of Unconscious Bias.” Harris was later joined by Keith White, EVP of loss prevention and global sustainability with Gap, Inc. to further dig into how unconscious bias can undermine employee development and lead to a disconnected company culture. Harris also highlighted some important aspects of leadership development:
Leverage other people’s intellect, experience, and influence.
Efficiency – define success and what you’re working towards.
Authenticity – bring your real self to be comfortable, build trust, and show confidence.
Diversity brings a lot of perspectives and experiences to the table.
Engage with your team and be an inclusive leader.
Risks – you must be comfortable taking risks to be successful.
Morning and afternoon Breakout Sessions for each of the session tracks were next on the day’s agenda, sandwiched around lunch in the Expo hall. The Breakout Sessions featured many open forums that allowed the audience to actively participate in the conversations, leading to active and productive discussions that were informative and engaging. The day’s speakers were knowledgeable and well-prepared; getting the most out of the information and the audiences while sharing their presentation messages. Of special note was an afternoon session with Dave Thompson of Wicklander-Zulawski on investigation harassment claims, providing the audience with fresh perspective on handling these unique interviews
Following the afternoon Breakout Sessions was a roundtable discussion that allowed attendees to meet with other LP professionals and brainstorm new ideas on topics such as risk management planning, talent development, de-escalation tactics, and the implications of emerging technologies.
A late afternoon general sessions featured a panel discussion with Gail Morris, director of loss prevention with Williams-Sonoma, Dave Johnston, senior director of loss prevention and corporate security with Dunkin’ Brands, David Painter, enterprise security manager with Williams-Sonoma, and Terrence Weekes, chief information security officer at Jack in the Box on the importance of LP and IT working together to tackle retail crime. The panel reviewed the importance of technology deployments, risk management planning, and other joint opportunities where the importance of LP and IT departments working together is critical today and will only continue to build as retail moves forward.
The final general session of the day featured a conversation discussing “Why Good People Do Bad Things” with Sherri Davidoff, CEO of Brightwise, Inc. and founder and CEO at LMG Security. Davidoff emphasized the importance of cyber defense and discovering cyber weaknesses before a cyber attack occurs. She provided the latest examples of how today’s cybercriminals are taking hacking into our systems to the next level and advice for protecting ourselves and our businesses from the latest cyber threats.
The day’s events then ended with an impromptu networking session, allowing attendees an opportunity to relax and mingle after a busy and productive first day ahead of Thursday’s scheduled sessions.