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 reflect 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
Gene Smith, LPC, President, Loss Prevention Foundation
With almost forty years of experience, Gene Smith, LPC, has been a key leader in the industry as a loss prevention practitioner, an executive search consultant for the LP industry, and much more. In 2007, Smith became a charter member and president of the Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF), the international leader in educating and certifying retail loss prevention and asset protection professionals.
“I consider my greatest accomplishment in loss prevention is helping to build LPF in such a manner that it is respected for its quality of content, rigor, and implementation by following high credentialing standards,” said Smith.
Through his efforts, Smith has made countless contributions to the careers of retail loss prevention professionals individually and to the LP profession as a whole. In June at the 2017 NRF PROTECT conference, he was inducted into the National Retail Federation’s Loss Prevention Ring of Excellence.
“To those looking to further their careers in loss prevention, I would recommend reading as much as you can about LP as well as the retail business, finding a good mentor, becoming a good mentor, and accepting the fact that it is your responsibility to educate and invest in yourself if you want to move forward in your career,” said Smith.
Excellence in Partnerships
Katherine “Kat” Houston, LPQ, Director of Client Services, LPM Media Group
After starting her career with the finance and audit departments at Home Depot, Houston served as the on-site program manager for Home Depot working with Verisk Crime Analytics, where she provided customer service and managed the asset protection information system (APIS) and related datashares for the company. In 2013, Houston joined LPM Media Group, where she manages client relationships involving internal communication, awareness, and training campaigns.
“When building business partnerships, I believe it’s most important to find common ground or interests,” said Houston. “It makes it easy to connect with someone when you start with that as a base and can grow the conversation from there.”
However, she also believes that partnerships must be built upon a commitment to the relationship. “I’ve always looked for opportunities to network and build relationships with others. I’m a huge believer in the power of networking. Whether it’s taking on extra projects for a department or volunteering for a day on a Habitat for Humanity build, it’s good to get to know people both professionally and informally. Networking isn’t always about what you can get from the network. It’s even more powerful when you can use it to help others.”
Excellence in Leadership
Nadine Lajeune, Format Leader, Retail Asset and Profit Protection, Sears Holdings
Following international travel as an environmental consultant and then a corporate safety manager with Case Corporation, Lajeune was recruited to Sears as corporate safety and hazmat manager in 2003. As her retail career continued to flourish, she was named director of safety for Kmart in 2005, later expanding that role with Sears Holdings as director of corporate safety operations and then senior director of safety, food safety, and hazmat. Lajeune then joined the asset and profit protection team in 2014, has also picked up responsibilities over crisis management, and currently serves as format leader for retail asset and profit protection.
With the diversity of her own background illustrating her message, Lajeune feels that leadership requires flexibility, vision, and the ability to bring out the best in the team as key contributors to her success.
“We must be able to build on the potential of the team, but we also have to earn their trust,” said Lajeune. “We have to demonstrate both a willingness and ability to learn and grow ourselves while looking to bring it out in others. In order to rally behind your vision, the relationship with the team has to be genuine. Only then will they be willing to do what’s necessary for you, for themselves, and for the entire organization.”
Nominations Are Encouraged
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 (dot) com.