Planning for career changes in loss prevention

True to the nature of their trade, loss prevention professionals are cognizant of how quickly situations can change — including their own careers — and the need to be prepared when it’s time for a new opportunity in loss prevention. The four panelists in “Managing Career Transitions: So Who Says Change is Good?” at NRF PROTECT have experienced this firsthand. The group shared personal stories along with advice for loss prevention professionals who are preparing for the future. Rosamaria Sostilio, now vice president of loss prevention at Barnes & Noble, turned to logical next steps after her position at a previous employer was dissolved — and quickly realized her LinkedIn account was tied to her work email and her resume was a quarter-century out of date.

“During a time like this, your network is more important than your net worth,” she said. “Make sure you have a very strong network of solid people who will be there for you when you really need the help.” Sostilio participated in weekly group calls that grew organically; she also highlighted the importance of opportunities such as NRF communities to develop a network. Much like businesses have disaster recovery plans, people need career recovery plans, said Bruce Pyke, vice president of loss prevention and safety at The Bon-Ton Stores. Drawing on his own experiences, Pyke stressed the need for controlling emotions during that tough conversation with HR. “Focus on you,” he said.

Noting that changes in leadership can be quite common, Southeastern Grocer’s Vice President of Asset Protection Daniel Faketty urged attendees to think about their own accomplishments. 

“Make sure you have a very strong network of solid people who will be there for you when you really need the help.”

Rosamaria Sostilio

“Save your numbers,” he said. “Always be able to articulate what you’ve done in an organization … to impact the bottom line.”

“Have your elevator speech ready,” NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Robert Moraca agreed: Be ready to reel off numbers and show how you’re making a difference.

Pyke said his colleagues helped him focus on the opportunity to refocus and “self-reflect — where do I want to go? Who do I want to be?”

“What are you prepared to do today?” Faketty asked. Find anything and everything to take on, he advised — look at non-traditional measurable factors that span the entire corporation operationally. “It makes for a great business case if you can say ‘I have safety, I have pharmacy oversight, I have audits, I have bad checks,’” he said. What if taking on anything and everything results in the “over-qualified” moniker? Articulate that the scope is different and you still have the skillset the new scope requires, the panelists said — you are flexible enough to conform to that new scope.

You have more control than you think, Sostilio said. Understand your mindset, who you are, what your brand is. Her identity was tied to the company she worked for, she said — when she no longer worked for them, who was she? “What is your passion within the realm of what you do?” she asked attendees. “It’s so important not just to be known for your organization.”