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. Nominate your peers at Excellence[at]LPportal.com.
Excellence in Leadership
Kathleen Smith, Vice President of Asset Protection, Safeway
“I believe a true leader must be honest and have integrity,” said Smith. “We should always do what’s right—even when no one is looking. We must be thoughtful, have courage, and take the time to really listen to the team. Having the ability to identify an individual’s strengths, focus on those strengths, and then show the courage to empower them to reach their goals is a cornerstone of leadership.”
This was a lesson that Smith learned firsthand. After transitioning from law enforcement to the private sector and working her way up the career ladder, she believes that earning and holding that level of perspective is extremely important. “I’ve held every position in the asset protection department for our company and in multiple divisions, from investigator to my current role,” she said. “This has given me a broader and better perspective of the many issues facing the team. It helps me fight and support their battles at the corporate level—and hopefully helps make their jobs easier.”
Smith has twice been named among the “Top 100 Women Executives in the Grocery Industry,” an honor traditionally awarded to executives from the business or marketing side of the business. But when referring to the award, she speaks beyond the personal accolades. “Recognizing the value of asset protection to the industry as a whole validated, for me, that our efforts to be accepted as true contributors and having a ‘seat at the table’ are being acknowledged.”
Smith also emphasized the need for young leaders to diversify their knowledge base. “Never stop learning or growing,” she said. “Our industry is continually changing, and we need to be open to change ourselves. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Treat others fairly and with dignity, have the courage to try something new, and have the willingness to admit when you’re wrong.”