Remember when Amazon was mostly an online BOOK store? Wow, things have changed! The company has exploded into an e-commerce giant, entertainment producer, and provider of a bunch more other tech and services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions relied on Amazon to deliver essential goods (and, let’s admit it, some non-essential impulse buys) to their homes.
In order for Amazon to ensure operations run smoothly, the massive company relies on over 1.6 million workers worldwide, including dedicated security professionals.
For our latest “Faces of Security” profile interview, we at Total Security Advisor caught up with Kim Hooper, an award-winning Regional Loss Prevention Manager with Amazon. As part of the Amazon Robotics team for North America Customer Fulfillment, Hooper oversees the Central region that consists of Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Hooper has over 20 years of experience in loss prevention and asset protection, with previous work at other retailers such as K-Mart, Sears, Lowes, TJ Maxx, and Walmart. She is also a top industry advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, serving as Global President for Amazon Women in Security and a member of Amazon’s Black Employee Network.
Hooper has earned multiple awards, including Walmart’s 2018 Making a Difference Award. At the recent ISC West 2022 tradeshow, she was one of four recipients of the Security Industry Association’s Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award, an annual distinction “recognizing outstanding leadership in security industry collaboration.”
To learn more about Hooper’s career and industry insights, please read her Q&A interview below:
How did you get your start in the field?
As with many security professionals, it was not my initial goal to work in the security industry. I stumbled upon this career over 20 years ago when I was working part time in a department store. I discovered quickly that I had a knack for identifying the alert signals that led to security concerns or threats. I also had a keen instinct for deep-diving investigations. After one year in the business, my goals changed and I decided to do what I love in investigations. Over time, my passion for people and the desire to build long-lasting partnerships led me to stay in the security industry.
Who is/was your biggest influence in the industry?
Unfair question! I have too many!
What’s your favorite part about working in the industry? What’s your least favorite part, and how would you change it?
I most enjoy the education and networking side of the business. The security industry has a variety of facets that many, outside of the industry, do not know exist. Teaching others what companies have to offer is exciting!
What is disappointing is seeing the disparity of women and minorities within the industry. We can do better in this male-dominated field to expose more people of all backgrounds to be a part of it. It starts with each of us to reach back and educate others on what this industry has to offer. We can impact college students by engaging with them while they are still in school. We can show them how all majors of study can make an impact in the security industry. Our profession is often misunderstood. Education is the key.
How can company leaders make security a value within their organization?
In my opinion, leaders should remember the MEMO method—Mention Early, Mention Often. Security protocols should not be a reactionary method to protect people, product, and data. It should be the foundation that all leaders stand upon to ensure the success of their business from the start. Discussing the security goals and ways to be proactive with the business up front allows leaders to show that they care about all assets from the beginning.
Where do you see the industry heading in five years? Are you noticing any major trends?
With the impact of the pandemic, there is a new space to create solutions in a virtual environment that allows remote access. I am seeing AI take a larger role in the industry, and cloud database sharing is simplifying collaborations. For the future in the next five years, more companies will embrace these simple solutions. I see it becoming the standard and not the outlier.
What are you most proud of?
I am currently the Global President for Amazon Women in Security (AWIS). This organization was founded in 2017 within Amazon as an affinity group dedicated to the success and support of other women in the security industry. We currently support 14 countries around the globe. AWIS is a thriving Global Security Organization with strong, successful women in leadership roles helping to propel the business forward. We help hundreds of women each day. Our mission is to increase the span of the professional network for women in security roles at Amazon. We provide developmental support, mentoring opportunities, and leverage the strengths and knowledge of each other to reach our goals and vision.
Our goal is to UPLIFT: Elevate, empower, support, and empathize with personal and professional growth and development for women and our allies through diverse practices. PROTECT: Safeguarding our brand in line with our global security programs and business strategy. INSPIRE: Create an impactful networking community on a global level through mentorship, advocacy, and sponsorship.
I am most proud of being a part of an organization that advocates for women in the security field and embraces allies that want to learn more and do more to help women succeed.
Do you have any advice for people entering the profession?
Build a network of people around you. If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are probably in the wrong room. Security is an ever-changing industry, so there are always new programs or software to implement. However, building a strong network around you allows space for continuous growth in your career and furthers your education in the industry. Never be afraid to ask questions!
Are you or a colleague interested in being profiled for the new “Faces of Security” series? Please contact Editor Joe Bebon at JBebon@BLR.com