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The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

Dream BIG Scholarship

Julie Brandenburg-Horn

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Julie Brandenburg-Horn Loss Prevention POS Analyst, The Kroger Co.

Julie Brandenburg-Horn
Loss Prevention POS Analyst
The Kroger Co.

Inspired to grasp an opportunity her parents never had

Julie Brandenburg-Horn understood the value of an education even as a young girl. She remembers times when her father, a hard-working assemblyman who never finished high school, would drop his fork at dinner because his hands were so fatigued after a long shift. “Do everything in your power to get an education,” he often said, “so one day you don’t have to work as hard as me.”

While she dreamed of being the first in her family to attend college, Julie jumped into the workforce immediately after leaving high school just as her parents had done. She applied at her local Kroger to become a cashier, and quickly moved through the store’s ranks as office assistant, assistant customer service manager, lead CSM and eventually loss prevention POS analyst. In her current role, she coordinates with the chain’s loss prevention team and provides analytics to reduce shrinkage and monitor point-of-sale transactions.

“I now have the courage to step outside my comfort zone and the vision to see where I want to be in life.”

As a Dream BIG scholarship recipient, Julie intends to take a big step toward honoring her parents’ wishes for her and, more importantly for her, becoming a role model for her own children. “I want my kids to look at me and see that age is never an obstacle. They will see that I had the courage to not only work hard at my job, but also start and complete an education.”

Julie plans to use her Dream BIG scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her University of Phoenix degree will enable her to continue on the career path she has already undertaken at Kroger, expanding her understanding of customer behavior and helping the company achieve higher levels of productivity. “Every journey starts with education,” Julie says. “I now have the courage to step outside my comfort zone and the vision to see where I want to be in life.”