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Recognizing Remarkable Women in Loss Prevention

The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) recently teamed up with CONTROLTEK for their second annual recognition of remarkable women in loss prevention in a special CFInsider report: “The Power of 10 – Remarkable Women.”

“This special report is not only intended to recognize outstanding practitioners, but also a means to further identify some of the leading women in an industry that is not necessarily known for high-ranking females,” says Wayne Hoover, CFI, executive director of the International Association of Interviewers. “Each of these women have displayed resilience and determination in the face of adversity.”

“The Power of 10” leading women in loss prevention were selected based on the key principles of IAI and these attributes:

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Industry Commitment – Making time to get involved is a deep commitment. The honorees are significantly involved in developing people and this industry through committing their time at industry events, associations and work groups.

Dedication to Learning – It takes a confident person to admit they don’t know everything. The honorees understand that life is a journey of learning, and have demonstrated their commitment to learning by earning certifications, maintaining memberships and by their continued involvement with industry events.

Leadership Qualities – IAI embraces the ancient concept of “servant leadership” and the honorees embody those qualities. One of the most important descriptions of a servant leader is gratitude. In the report each honoree describes the individual(s) whom they are grateful for in their career.

Career Journey – A career path can be as diverse as the individuals we meet along the way. The honorees have all taken different paths which provide valuable and unique lessons readers can learn from. There is not one “right” career path as the honorees demonstrate, but they share wisdom that has guided them along the way.

“IAI will continue to recognize and honor remarkable women in loss prevention each year by devoting a special edition of the CFInsider to them as well as maintaining columns in our regular publication and by dedicating space on our website,” says Hoover.

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Loss prevention is a profession that is blessed with many talented individuals that stand apart due to exceptional skills and a balanced approach; charged with their energy and passion for the business. Those that stand tall set the tone for today’s leadership and help shape the future of the profession. Congratulations to each of these remarkable women who are continuing to help shape the loss prevention industry and are paving the way for the next generation of exceptional leading women in loss prevention.

Kathleen SmithKathleen Smith, CFI, is vice president of loss prevention for Safeway, Inc. She started at Safeway as an investigator, then moved to chief investigator, division director, and became vice president in 2001. Kathleen has over thirty years of security management and law enforcement experience and believes it is important to tap into the resources of your company to create effective programs and to be a “change agent” who can achieve successful solutions through sound decision-making.


Kati WisniewskiKati Wisniewski, CFI, has been a Regional Loss Prevention Leader at Ratner Company for more than 15 years. Kati encourages potential leaders to work on their leadership skills through training and mentorship. Above all, she advises leaders who are making important decisions to look at the whole picture and not “rush” to make quick decisions.

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Deborah LanfordDeborah Lanford, CFI is currently Profit Assurance Team Manager at 7-Eleven and has held district and regional managerial positions and ORC positions with big box, specialty, pharmacy, and convenience store retailers. She has been described as result-oriented motivator with a strong team approach, high standards, and an influential style. Deborah’s successful career in retail loss prevention has given her a unique perspective of the industry. “I am honored and humbled to be recognized for the work which I love,” she says.


Melissa MitchellMelissa Mitchell, CFI has been in the loss prevention industry for thirty years and has been the Director of Loss Prevention and Inventory Control for LifeWay Christian Stores for the past fourteen years. She previously worked in Loss Prevention for Service Merchandise, the Cato Corporation, Inc., Roses Stores, Inc., Revco drug stores, and TJ Maxx. Melissa takes all her leadership decisions to heart and says this is because her decisions often have a direct impact on the lives of her associates


Missy AndeelMissy Andeel, CFI is a Senior Employee Relations Representative for Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. She says HR is all about relationships and proactive consulting with leaders and staff. She feels women at all levels in the profession have helped position HR as a strategic business partner and she is excited to be a part of this change.

Jennifer DiCarloJennifer DiCarlo, CFI is currently a District Loss Prevention Manager at Sobeys. Jennifer is proud that women are now part of LP leadership teams. “Women who can empower their peers, whether male or female, are readily accepted today,” she says.



Kim HorstmanKim Horstman, CFI has been Senior Field Investigator at American Family Insurance for the past eight years. Before that she was a corporate security investigator for Chase Manhattan bank for over a decade. She says that women in the loss prevention industry have to be “fearless” as they navigate the gender and cultural biases with which they are confronted.


Debbie MaplesDebbie Maples, CFI is Vice President Loss Prevention, International Stores, Global Supply Chain, Investigations & Corporate Security for Gap, Inc. She thinks developing investigative strength is needed to ensure that the industry operates with ethics and integrity.

Stephanie HooverStefanie Hoover, CFI currently holds the position of Business Development Manager, North America, at Verisk Retail, a unit of Verisk Analytics. Her experience in the retail industry includes working for TJX, Toys R Us, and LP Innovations. Today she helps clients leverage the power of data through customized Exception Based Reporting and Case Management systems in order to maximize profits.


Victoria To-DowdVictoria To-Dowd, CFI is currently the Loss Prevention Manager – North America for Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics where she provides investigative guidance and direction to regional directors and district managers across the US, Canada, and Mexico. She thinks women who can successfully balance their families and careers while managing to be happy in their lives provide great inspiration for all women.



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