Seems like every time I go about writing, the timing falls during a period of change.  Elections, seasons, holidays, and so on.  Probably, the act of writing gets me thinking about what’s going on around me, and I can’t help but observe that we are living in a time of monumental change.  Then, the realist in me speaks up and I wonder, is our time in history any more chaotic than any other?  Not sure, but I’ll bet a social scientist is working on it, crunching the numbers.

The change I’ve been thinking about a lot lately has to do with the #MeToo movement and the survey results that came out in the LP Magazine regarding women in loss prevention.  I hesitate to wade into this pool because it seems too easy, too rote, too cliché at this point.  “Oh, wow, another woman with a story about #MeToo.  Yawn.”  We seem to be getting de-sensitized to these stories.  Is it really even worth it to add my two cents to the millions already out there?   I find when I can’t sleep, and something keeps nagging me at night, I need to get it out of my system, and thank goodness there’s a notepad by my bed exactly for this purpose.  With notes made, I wavered between wading in slowly or diving in head first.  Was this topic too risky for a blog?  Would it offend someone who might be interested in doing business with me?  Am I the only one who feels this way?  Maybe I’m paranoid and too thin-skinned?  I agonized over it, but finally I realized that if these things are bothering me, maybe someone out there will get something out of these thoughts, even if it’s only one person.  Never one to do things halfway, here it goes – a purge, so to speak.

Like many women in the LP industry, I was happy to see a survey being conducted about our experience in the field, and I happily submitted my responses to the questions with all honesty.  When the results arrived, what amazed me was that 500 women had responded and that 25% of them had been in LP over 20 years!  It was a relief to read about so many women who seemed to have a similar background as me, and read their comments which were so similar to my experiences in response after response.  Women in large numbers felt, as I do, that there isn’t enough mentorship going on.  They recognized that greater strides need to be taken at senior leadership levels to include women.  Respondents also felt strongly, as I do, that our fate is in our own hands and that we must be our own best advocates.  I was simply shocked at how closely it all matched the way I felt.

But, to me, something was missing.   In a male-dominated industry, where recruitment and development of women has been a focus for years, why haven’t there been more strides made at a faster pace?  Knowing that no survey could be all-encompassing, could there be an X-factor that may not have been addressed in this survey?  I’m talking about harassment.  And now, here’s where I purge the thoughts and memories that have been needling me.  I have endured my own #MeToo moments in the past—yes, moments, plural—while working in both LP and on the solution provider side as well.  And guess what?  Those moments have continued as recently as this year, when at one of the industry events I attended, someone thought it would be appropriate to grope me as I was walking through a crowd.  You’d think that, with every news station blaring story after story almost daily, these situations would stop, or at least that we’d get a break.

Nope.  I’ve talked to woman after woman who has been harassed and I must wonder, is this part of the reason why we don’t attract more women to this industry, retain them and promote them to senior leadership?  Are they getting fed up and leaving after years of harassment?  Or are they quitting after two weeks on the job dealing with this type of treatment?  Obviously, not every woman in LP is harassed, but shouldn’t we seriously ask ourselves about the treatment of women on the job in LP and whether this kind of thing might play a role?

My brushes with #MeToo started early.  The inaugural was at my very first LP job in college, the first week on the job.  A co-worker did something so awful that when I think about it today, I can’t believe I didn’t walk out.  Most likely out of shock and naivete I stayed, just happy to have a job in my field of study.  Over the years as the incidences continued, I tended to ignore them or blame myself, and I stayed.  I was humiliated by sexual comments and gestures by someone in power in a room full of executives, and I stayed.  I’ve been groped and cornered and followed, and I stayed.  I’ve been stared at and mocked and patronized, and I stayed.  I was told, “I can’t do business with you because of the way you look,” and I stayed.   I’ve stayed in the industry for a variety reasons – some were financial, others had to do with the personal investment made in my career and a passion for what I do, and some were just me being stubborn.  What I can tell you is that there were many times I felt like walking away, and I understand why other women make that choice.

If you are a man in LP, I encourage you to ask women you work with or know in the trade if they have experienced harassment.  By learning from their experience, you can help stop it when you see it happening, which is something your female colleagues will be grateful for.  Once you hear their personal stories and put a face with all this #MeToo stuff, trust me – you will be outraged and, hopefully, inspired to make a difference.  If you are a woman in LP, ask other women about their experiences.  If you haven’t been harassed yourself, it’s still important to know what others have been through and how you might be able to help in the future.

So, with all this said, the next time we ask the question of why there aren’t more women in LP, couldn’t we expand the inquiry a bit more to include the unpleasant but still very relevant subject of #MeToo?  Thinking that it’s not there will not make it go away.

Stefanie is a regular contributor to the work of the International Association of Interviewers. To enjoy other great content from her and other contributors, please visit CertifiedInterviewer.com

There’s a New and Easy Way to Share iPhone Photos and Videos

Texting and emailing photos and videos from your iPhone can be a pain. In the newest version of iPhone operating system, IOS 12, there is a feature call iCloud link, which allows you to send photos and videos from your iPhone in a iCloud link. This is very useful for sending groups of photos or video files.

How does it work? Simply select a photo or video (or a group of photos or videos), then tap the Share button. You will then notice a new button in the bottom titled Copy iCloud Link. Click on that and a link will be placed in a text message or email. (Note: make sure iCloud Photos is enabled in the settings.)

Want to Find Similar Web Pages To The One You Are On? Try Google Similar Pages On Chrome.

The Google Similar Pages browser extension for Chrome enables you to preview pages that are similar to the one you are browsing. Simply search the Chrome Store for Google Similar Pages browser extension and install it. Once complete you can click the Similar Pages button every time you want to find something similar to what you are reading. This simple tool can be a great time saver.

Want to see Snaps from Snapchat in your area? Try Snap Map.

With Snap Map, you can view Snaps Stories submitted from all across the world. This includes events, celebrations, breaking news and more. It can be especially useful to see Snaps Stories people sent with their location setting on. This can be a great tool during a major event like an active shooter, protest or weather related event. Just go to https://map.snapchat.com and start searching.

Can Your Company Survive the Apocalypse?

Business Continuity Planning is a Necessity for Companies of All Sizes

No, we’re not privy to top secret information being held by the government or some other authority. And as far as we know, the only “apocalypse now” is a classic 1979 movie featuring Martin Sheen.

But running a business can be unpredictable. Whether it’s daily operations and logistics, or more drastic crises such as natural disasters and other emergencies that disrupt normal operations, things happen. And we’re sure you’re thinking, amidst everything that needs to get done to make your business operate smoothly, “I have plenty of free time to craft a business continuity plan!” Or not.

Despite all the other critical things requiring a business owner or leader’s attention, business continuity planning (BCP) is your way of preparing in advance for unexpected incidents so that you are able to respond swiftly (if they occur). It’s your roadmap for emergencies so you can keep your business moving at optimum speed, even when something unexpected happens.

For example, this summer many parts of California have been actively fighting some of the largest blazes in the state’s history. Fires spreading quickly in Mendocino County in the Northern part of the state prompted this now infamous line quoted in the Los Angeles Times: “We broke the record. That’s one of those records you don’t want to see,” said Scott McLean, a deputy chief with Cal Fire.

Let’s not get doomsday (or apocalyptic?) about this though – natural disasters such as fire are a real threat at times, but you can plan ahead to minimize damage if something disastrous were to cross paths with your business. Statistics say that on average, data centers go down for more than 10 days after a disaster. Can your business survive that? More importantly, do you know how you would react to something like that if it happened to your business?

BCP and disaster recovery (DR) are about as appealing as getting a root canal at the dentist, but you’ve worked hard to build your business and establish your reputation. So, just as you want to keep your teeth for as long as possible, you want your business to be viable as long as it possibly can. The BCP and DR are the investment you make for the long term health and planning of your organization.

Here are a few ideas to get you motivated and started on your planning:

  1. Analyze your business and discover your needs: If your headquarters were knocked offline tomorrow, how would you ensure data recovery?
  2. Include disaster recovery: You can’t stop Bob from eating the last donut, but you can prepare for how to protect your IT infrastructure in the case of flood, earthquake or fire.
  3. Use role-playing with team members to work through possible scenarios: Get your employees together and discuss possible scenarios, and how you would respond. Getting input from the group means you’ll have all the information you need to address potential pitfalls. And, adding free pizza to the mix turns it into a team-building exercise!

So, how will you get started preparing your business for the unexpected?

‘CONTROLTEK FlatGuard™ Offender Report’ Released by the Loss Prevention Research Council

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., (November 6, 2018) – Leading retail researcher and industry organization, the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), has conducted new study on the first EAS tag made specifically for small leather goods, the FlatGuard, made by emerging retail product protection leader, CONTROLTEK.

The study consisted of exposing ten known offenders to the FlatGuard technology and taking them through LPRC’s “See-Get-Fear” interview protocol.  “Offender reactions to the FlatGuard seemed to support a story of overall deterrence,” the report states.  “They rated the tag highly as a deterrent, and indicated by and large that the tag would result in them abandoning their plan to steal the protected product.”

The report also notes several humorous parts of the study, like the one when “the offender interviewed was mid-sentence exuberantly denouncing the tag’s deterrent value as he pulled it off, at which time his plan to turn the on/off switch to ‘off’ failed, and his confidence quickly turned to panic as he dropped the wallet and took several steps backward.”

The research report found that 100 percent of offenders studied in the LPRC Lab identified the FlatGuard tag as a deterrent. Additionally, “100 percent of offenders also understood the mechanism of the tag, correctly guessing that the tag had a built in alarm that would sound if removed and would set off the EAS pedestals.”

FlatGuard is a very thin EAS tag that easily fits inside wallets, purses and other similar merchandise, protecting them from loss prevention without puncturing the leather like traditional tags. Since it is so slim, it does not detract from the shopping experience, and can easily slide into a wallet almost like a credit card. FlatGuard has an EAS ferrite and an anti-tamper 95-decibel alarm to alert retailers if a shoplifter attempts to remove the tag.

“FlatGuard makes it easier to protect small leather goods, and retailers are affirming this with their positive response to this specialized product,” said Tom Meehan, CONTROLTEK’s Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Information Security Officer. “The LPRC study makes it absolutely clear that this tag is a deterrent to thieves, who rated it a much better deterrent than a typical LP situation. It has delivered an effective solution for the challenges of small retail items that can otherwise be easily removed and hidden for theft.”

For more information and to download a copy of the report, click this link.

CONTROLTEK Ranks Among the Top 10 Retail Security Solution Providers by Retail CIO Outlook

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., (November 6, 2018) – CONTROLTEK, an emerging leader in retail product protection, has made Retail CIO Outlook’s 2018 list of the “Top 10 Retail Security Solution Providers” for its comprehensive line of secure packaging products that help the nation’s leading banks, armored couriers and retailers transport cash safely and securely, and boost loss prevention efforts.

“Being acknowledged by Retail CIO Outlook as one of the top retail security solutions is another validation of the effectiveness of our solutions, our people and our business model,” said CONTROLTEK CEO, Rod Diplock. “We’ve never been in the business of selling widgets. Instead, CONTROLTEK has from the beginning been here to provide solutions that meet the needs of our retail customers by first aligning with them as partners, and then tailoring industry-leading technology to enable them to solve their day-to-day challenges.”

CONTROLTEK took a spot on the list alongside nine other industry solution providers, including InVue, Stanley Security and Vector Security. “From high-profile organized POS data breach, digital retail crimes, and employee thefts to the exponential growth of disrupting technologies and decentralized payment methods, the retail enterprise is under siege from all elevations,” the report stated.  It added that only retail organizations with a clear roadmap and continued investment in cybersecurity measures will “bridge all possible security gaps.”

To view the “Top 10 Retail Security Solutions” report on the Retail CIO Outlook website, click here.