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40 under 40: Stephanie Whalen, VP of marketing and communications, Paladin Technologies

40 under 40: Stephanie Whalen, VP of marketing and communications, Paladin Technologies

40 under 40: Stephanie Whalen, VP of marketing and communications, Paladin Technologies

YARMOUTH, Maine—Stephanie Whalen, 32, is the VP of marketing and communications at Paladin Technologies, a systems integrator that designs and deploys sophisticated integrated systems technology and infrastructure, based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 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 40WHALEN: I have been working in marketing & communications for over 10 years, and every day I become more excited about the industry, trends, opportunities, and possibilities to learn.

As vice president, marketing & communications at Paladin Technologies, I oversee our pursuits team, internal and external communications, digital strategy, brand engagement, media relations, and national marketing initiatives. While I enjoy all aspects of my job, the highlight of my role is communicating our story and culture with our teams, clients, and external markets. I am passionate about culture within an organization, as I have learned it is what holds a successful company together. The way in which Paladin has believed in myself and my team's function as we've grown has really supported a unique differentiator in the industry.

When I started with Paladin, I was on a small team of three. As we grew both organically and through M&A, I was trusted to support our change management process through branding, and alignment on go to market efforts in each region. I now have a team of 12 across North America and I am so grateful for them. We would not be able to make the impact we do if we didn't focus on building relationships with our own colleagues and with one another. I am really proud of what we've been able to build and what we've been empowered to achieve. Our ability to collaborate with sales, and the business at large, supports the overall client experience to ensure consistency from bid to service.  

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

WHALEN: Like a lot of security industry folks, I sort of fell into this space. Certainly when I graduated university, security was not on my radar as a “trendy” industry to apply my skills. However, I obtained a one-year contract at Paladin as social media brand ambassador and nearly eight years later, it was the best leap of faith I've ever made.

As I grew, I became more embedded in the industry at large and I further recognized the depths and impact our work does. Although I am not a technical expert by trade, our design team and technicians are the ones who inspire me most. They have always made time for me to ask “stupid” questions and help me understand our installation techniques and product offerings at a deeper level. This has allowed me to feel more confident in speaking industry language and to grow my reach.

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

WHALEN: It feels really special. Paladin, and the people I've worked with during my tenure, have been the pillars in my life who have held me accountable, pushed me to grow, and empowered me to become the person I am today. It really has been the most significant chapter of my life and to have some external recognition of that is pretty freaking cool.

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

WHALEN: Opportunity. The security industry is one that is not so mainstream to a marketing & communications professional. However, the more you learn about the facets of our industry, the more you become intrigued and recognize the significance of what we do for clients. I recall in my earlier years at Paladin considering a pivot into project management, or even operations. I was just very curious about all aspects of our business and the job opportunities that exist. I believe if you strive to work hard and put the time in, the sky really is the limit on where you can grow.

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

WHALEN: I think our industry needs to get out to high schools. We are not recognized like other trades, yet our industry is massive. I think the security industry is one of those secret, but not secret industries that needs to be spoken about more frequently. Young talent may be hyper-focused on the trendy spaces like tech, digital influencers, and remote work. However, the security space can offer just that - job security. This is something I personally believe that young people need to value more, instead of chasing down a fast shiny opportunity, focus on longevity of your career. The slow and steady will always win the race.




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