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40 under 40: Jaina Mehta, principal security consultant, Capital One

40 under 40: Jaina Mehta, principal security consultant, Capital One

40 under 40: Jaina Mehta, principal security consultant, Capital One

YARMOUTH, Maine—Jaina Mehta, 28, is a principal security consultant at Capital One, an American bank holding company specializing in credit cards, auto loans, banking, and savings accounts, based out of McLean, Va. Find out what inspired her to pursue a career in the security industry, what being a "40 under 40" winner means to her, what appeals to her about the security industry, and more. 

SSN: Describe your roles, duties, and tenure at your current job. 

40 under 40MEHTA: In my current role, I work in intelligence and travel security. My responsibilities cover both tactical and strategic intelligence, which includes writing short-form alerts and longer-form assessments and reports. In the travel security realm, I monitor political, socio-cultural, and economic trends across our global footprint, and help provide pre-trip briefings to associates who are planning international, business-related travel. I love that my team works closely with our GSOC. Before stepping into my current position, I worked on the operations side, as a GSOC supervisor. I’m thankful for the unique perspectives both of these roles have given me!

SSN: What inspired you to pursue a career in the security industry?

MEHTA: I’ve wanted to pursue a career in security since I was 10 years old, when the 7/7 bombings took place in London, my hometown. Originally, I had planned to join the British Royal Air Force and became involved in the RAF Air Cadets (402 Squadron) as a teenager (it’s similar to J-ROTC here in the United States). When I moved to Virginia during high school, that dream faded away. I decided to study global security at both undergraduate and graduate levels, without a clear idea of what my next step would be. Not being a U.S. citizen, government positions were off the table. I feel incredibly lucky to have discovered the corporate security space; it feels like the place I was always meant to be.

SSN: What does being named a winner of SSN's 40 under 40 mean to you?

MEHTA: It wasn’t too long ago that I was having zero luck in my efforts to break into this industry. Now here I am, just a few years later, being honored on SSN’s 40U40 list! It’s an unbelievable honor, and it means a lot to me. I find a lot of purpose and joy in what I do, and try to measure my success against myself, by reaching individualized goals and milestones. However, it’s always encouraging to receive what feels like external confirmation that I’m moving in the right direction.

SSN: As a young leader, what appeals to you about the security industry?

MEHTA: Working in security is meaningful and impactful; there is so much good that we do and can do. Personally, I’m most proud of performing work that helps ensure the safety of people. I’m also in awe of how welcoming and supportive colleagues have been since I entered the industry; there’s truly a sense of comradery amongst security professionals.

SSN: With the hiring, recruitment and retention challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, how can the security industry engage young talent?

MEHTA: As an industry, we can do a better job of welcoming individuals with non-traditional backgrounds into various security roles. Many of the skills needed to succeed are transferable from other industries or can be taught if someone has a willingness to learn. I think there is a lot of untapped talent in some of Security’s contracted partners; I would love to see more people be given the chance to develop their career whilst helping to serve business needs. Embracing change is also crucial, as is allowing young professionals to be the change-makers. In just a few years I’ve seen our industry progress in terms of DEI awareness and implementation. We must continue moving forward with this work.






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