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40 under 40: Stephanie Maitland, CIBC

40 under 40: Stephanie Maitland, CIBC

Stephanie MaitlandYARMOUTH, Maine—Problem solving has become second nature to Stephanie Maitland.

As the Senior Consultant, Corporate Security, at CIBC, a commercial, wealth management, personal, and small business financial solutions provider based in Toronto and Chicago, Maitland’s day-to-day responsibilities involve developing the programming and implementation strategies for new physical security systems.

“We are in the process of upgrading legacy technology throughout the organization,” she said. “With new systems comes the need for new strategies to ensure compliance and overall success.

“Working in large organizations also means that there are many different stakeholders at the table for such an undertaking. Positioning ourselves for success forced us to ensure we can provide flexible solutions that balance strong security requirements and business enablement.”

Maitland, 31, explained that her path to a career in corporate security began when her graduate program offered a co-op option for students.

“It’s something I recommend to every student - co-ops are such important opportunities to get diverse experience and find what works for you,” she noted. “My co-op had me working in corporate security for a large energy producer in Western Canada. After the placement, I was asked, and decided to stay. From early in my career, I was challenged to think about security in an innovative way. The energy sector has unique security requirements that often need to be supported without consistent power or access to any network. Oh, and it’s really cold.

“From energy, I moved over to working for a diamond mining company, and eventually landed in finance. 

“What drew me into security, and what keeps me engaged, is the creative problem solving. Whether it’s a dedicated project, or a quick risk assessment, there is satisfaction in working to see all aspects of the problem and finding an elegant solution.”

Physical Security

Maitland cited physical security as one of the top trends in the industry today. 

“Physical security is the gateway to so many other elements of security,” she explained. “Whether it’s cyber or insider risk, physical security has a primary role to play in mitigation within the broader threat landscape. 

“At present, we are still working to get a consistent seat at the wider, integrated table. We do more than keep the doors locked, and it’s our job to make sure that value is recognized.

More widely, privacy and the commodification of data is an ongoing, concerning trend in the industry. The need to develop strong controls that support an ethical deployment of security infrastructure is an important element that must be continuously prioritized.”

Maitland believes that cloud-based analytics is the most exciting new security technology out there.

“Cloud-based analytics allow end users to harness the functionality of security systems for wider business application,” she said. “The scalability of this technology is a promising opportunity to provide value outside of our traditional sphere of influence.”

Opportunities to Innovate

As we continue to wage war against COVID-19, Maitland noted the importance of being able to innovate during these unprecedented times, both on a professional and personal level.

“It’s a challenge, and I think it’s important that we don’t minimize that the last two years have been a struggle for so many people,” she explained. “I am very grateful to be in a position that my job has not changed a great deal with the pandemic, which is not the case for everyone. Being a ‘what’s next’ kind of person, I think it’s important to look for opportunities to innovate. It’s a different world out there. How can we make it better?

“On the personal front, we can’t discount the importance of getting outside. More of an indoor person? Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten is to ‘read widely.’ You don’t know when inspiration might strike.”

An Integrated Approach

When asked about her views on the security industry going forward, Maitland noted that

“We’re seeing an increasingly integrated approach to security with less reliance on proprietary technology. This trend allows for systems to generate more valuable data, drive enhanced metrics, and provide actionable intelligence.”

She added that having an open mind is important in order to bring more talented, diverse young people into the security industry.

“Any time I’m asked about getting into security, I encourage an open mind,” she noted. Most experience is good experience, but always know your worth. The security industry has a lot to offer, and it needs people who bring a diversity of thought.

“When we look at getting more women in to the security industry, representation matters.  In my first couple of years in the industry I did the usual - visiting industry shows and taking development classes in hotel conference rooms. I was disheartened to find I was usually one of the only women in the room who wasn’t considered decor. 

“As I move forward in my career, I actively look for opportunities to reduce barriers to balance our team and seek out resources who might not otherwise consider security as a viable career.”


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