Canadian Security Magazine

Top 10 Under 40: Mathew Zielinski, Vice-president, operations, Paladin Security

By Canadian Security Staff   

News top 10 under 40

What do you enjoy most about security?

What I find most exciting about security is the constant stream of diverse challenges and problems that come to the forefront daily. In this industry, no two days are the same. I thrive in this type of environment that constantly keeps me engaged, sharpens my problem-solving skills, and pushes me to think critically, all while building strong stakeholder relationships. The security landscape is constantly evolving, which forces those within the industry to adapt to stay ahead of the curve. To aid in learning and information-sharing opportunities, I’ve personally had technology companies come in and present to my team to help break down any knowledge barriers, spur creative thinking and increase comfort levels with new tools, software and technologies. This has led me to feel deeply fulfilled by contributing to the professionalization of the industry.

Is there one piece of advice you have received that has helped you engage with your security role more effectively?

One piece of advice that has impacted how I engage with my security role is to always be proactive rather than reactive. In an industry where the stakes can be high and situations can escalate rapidly, being proactive is key to staying ahead of potential threats and mitigate risks before they escalate into crises. I strive to lead with a proactive mindset and a commitment to continuous improvement in security practices and protocols through prioritizing ongoing training exercises, education and strategic planning which instills trust and confidence in me and my team members when responding to security incidents and industry-related challenges.


What do you do outside of your job that helps you manage stress or gain perspective on your work?

Outside of my job in the security industry, one of my greatest passions is immersing myself in outdoor activities, particularly running in nature. The meditative quality of running allows me to gain perspective on my work, providing clarity of thought and often sparking creative solutions to challenges I may be facing. Running up and down mountains, particularly in all weather conditions, has allowed me to build mental grit, resilience and toughness! It’s an essential part of my self-care routine, helping me manage stress, maintain mental well-being, and it allows me to return to work with renewed energy and perspective.

Do you have any advice for budding security professionals who are interested in launching a career?

For security professionals looking to launch a career in the field, it is important that you build a strong foundation by gaining experience via security roles that provide valuable insights into the practical aspects of security operations. The security industry is quickly evolving with new technology. I recommend finding opportunities to hone your skills in this area and learn more about new advances that will shape tomorrow’s security programs. Supplementing your on-the-job experience with relevant training, education and certifications will also go a long way in helping you develop your skills. I attribute a large portion of my success to mentors who have opened doors for me. Finding a mentor who can guide you along the way is important. One of my personal mottos is to pay it forward and I intend to prioritize opening doors for the next generation of talented professionals in our industry.

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