Ray Cloud ’02 gives students an inside look at his career in loss prevention
This past semester, more than forty-five Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice students attended a virtual presentation with Group Senior Vice President of Loss Prevention, Organizational Safety, and Security at Ross Stores, Inc., Ray Cloud ‘02.
Cloud, an alumnus of the Department, is responsible for all aspects of Loss Prevention, Investigations, and Security for a retail chain that includes more than 1600 stores. Ross Dress for Less is the largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the U.S. with 1,482 stores in 38 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. Cloud also monitors loss prevention for 237 dd’s Discounts stores across 18 states.
Cloud offered students a peek into his work, speaking about leadership and lessons he has learned throughout his long career. Such advice included to:
- Deeply pursue one’s interests and passions and learn as much as absolutely possible about a topic;
- Put yourself in a position to be the right person, in the right place, at the right time;
- Take initiative;
- Do more than what’s required;
- Solve problems;
- Follow the Golden Rule
Cloud said there were various 'pivotal moments' that affected his journey in life and eventual career in loss prevention. For example, he vividly recalled two men breaking into his home when he was a young boy living on Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit and when he was 16 and refused a ride into what he later learned was a stolen car.
Cloud said such personal context is essential to share.
“It’s important to have conversations like this to clearly paint the picture to students that ordinary individuals from the same beginnings, neighborhoods, same high schools, and same university have opportunities within our industry,” Cloud said, following the event.
Cloud added that minority college students with a high interest in the security profession should apply for the many scholarships offered by the International Organization of Black Security Executives (IOBSE), an organization of which he is a longtime member.
Cloud said he expects opportunities in the field of loss prevention to continue to grow based on statistics reflecting the industry continues to increase the number of people it employs.
Whether loss prevention and security are even on a student’s radar, Cloud said students should step out of their comfort zones and embrace new opportunities, emphasizing that personal growth and development are sure to result in a positive response.
“Find time to get input on important decisions from a variety of sources,” Cloud said. “Talk to family, friends, colleagues, supervisors, customers, subordinates, etc. My best guidance has come from well-rounded sources of personal influence with various vantage points.”
Cloud remains actively involved with Wayne State University. He spoke at another virtual event in February 2019 and has served as a member of the WSU Alumni Association board.
Associate Professor Charles Klahm attended both the February 2019 and February 2021 virtual events and said Cloud offered students invaluable advice.
“Mr. Cloud’s talk was very important because he identified career options in the private sector that are often overlooked by many students,” Klahm said. “Moreover, he discussed his path to loss prevention, and it highlighted that career trajectories are not always linear - meaning students might envision their career being a part of the criminal justice system but come across an opportunity that leads them down a very different path like loss prevention in the private sector.”
After answering many questions from students, Cloud ended his presentation by showing off the WSU cycling jersey he owns and saying he shares a love of cycling with Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson.