The LPM “Magpie” Awards offer a means to celebrate industry accomplishments on an ongoing basis, recognizing the loss prevention professionals, teams, solution providers, law enforcement partners, and others that demonstrate a stellar contribution to the profession.
The ability to influence change is a product of drive, creativity, and determination, but it also requires a unique ability to create a shared vision that others will understand, respect, support, and pursue. Each of the following recipients reflects that standard of excellence, representing the quality and spirit of leadership that makes a difference in our lives, our people, and our programs. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of our latest honorees.
Excellence in Leadership
Melissa Wacha, Director of Asset Protection Operations Support, Walmart
“To be a true leader in the industry, you can’t be afraid of change or learning new things,” said Wacha. “I find it admirable when people in leadership roles aren’t afraid to ask questions, get hands-on with their teams to work on new innovation, or step out of their comfort zones to see how new technology or automation can impact the business in a digital world. I think these are qualities great leaders must have to stay relevant.”
Through her own experiences, Wacha understands firsthand the importance of working hard, taking risks, and accepting new and different responsibilities. But when asked about her greatest accomplishment, she took the conversation in a different direction.
“I’m proud to see someone I’ve led or mentored excel in their role and along their career path. It’s what keeps me going every single day. Whether it’s seeing them get a promotion, watching them get a high five after an amazing presentation with a VP, or revolutionizing a process to make associates’ lives better. It’s people that make a difference; and helping to develop those people to make us fit for the future will always be what I’m most proud of.”
Taking a page or two from her own playbook, Wacha also offered some advice for young leaders working their way up the career ladder. “You need to be your own advocate,” she said. “Don’t wait for others to give you a seat at the table-find your place and sit down. Actively seek out leaders in your area and those in other spaces as well. Work hard, work smart, and get the job done, but don’t be afraid to pursue your own development. Ask for feedback, learn where else your skills can be relevant, and set goals for the future. Lastly, find a mentor that’s able help you reach those goals and isn’t afraid to give you honest feedback to help your reach your full potential.”
Excellence in Partnerships
Tom Rittman, Vice President of Marketing, Appriss Retail
“I’ve been involved in retail store systems, both point-of-sale and exception reporting, for twenty years,” said Rittman. “I began by performing marketing communications and research, moved to meeting with clients and running user conferences, and now managing marketing, technical sales, and business development. But through it all, it’s the prospects of what comes next that drives me. I especially enjoy probing into the future-helping clients look past tomorrow to find new and better ways to use artificial intelligence and solving problems we haven’t even encountered yet.”
While the doors of innovation are opened through progressive thinking, Rittman also believes that the key remains in the hands of strong relationships. “Partnerships are best when you create solutions without limitations,” he said. “We should always try to go above and beyond. In return, our partners help make us better by providing insights and sharing ideas as we look to develop next-generation solutions. None of this would be possible without the mutual respect we have for each other.”
Rittman also offered some advice to young leaders looking to build successful careers:
- The best opportunities often come packaged as problems. Help solve a problem, and you’ve created a new opportunity.
- Do more than is expected. Try to step beyond the plan and deliver something more. This goes a long way in creating goodwill.
- Ask for more responsibility. Growth comes from pushing boundaries.
- Meet people. Accept travel responsibilities. Experience how others live their days. The only way to offer solutions is to learn what’s outside your comfort zone.
- Who is the audience, what’s the objective, and what’s the message? If you can’t answer these questions, back up and start from there.
“This advice has served me well and made me look much smarter than I am.”
Nominate Your Peers
We want this to be your program. Those of you working as LP practitioners witness these exceptional performances on a regular and ongoing basis, and we strongly encourage you to provide us with nominees for each of the award categories. We encourage creative nominations and want the program to cast a positive light on the many tremendous contributions of the loss prevention community. Nominations can be submitted via email to excellence [at] LPportal.com.