Governing Body Spotlight

Member of the Toronto CISO Community

Les Stevens

Senior Director, Cyber Security and Divisional CISO

Capital One Financial

A high-energy, strategic leader, Leslie focuses on growth and innovation with a strong focus on partnership. His talent acquisition and growth techniques have ensured thought leadership permeates throughout his team; coupled with exceptional culture development, he has managed to unlock the potential of some of the best security professionals in Canada. As a security professional, the learning is never complete. This is exemplified by his 2020 Masters Degree in Security Management and Intelligence; the journey is never finished when you are on the cutting edge of security.

Learn more about leaders in the Toronto CISO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

After studying computer sciences in the late 90s, I moved through several roles before helping found the Canadian Bankers Association Centralized Intelligence Unit. From there, I spent time with IBM in a security/intelligence technical consulting role. All of these roles included a heavy focus on information security and data protection, which led to my current role.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

You can teach anyone to do a job if they have enough basic knowledge, but you can't teach someone to be a good team player/person. Surround yourself with good people that are either in a state of learning or refinement, and you will succeed.... Then, take care of those people.

With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CISO leader going in the next 1-2 years?

No major change at this point. The role is largely built for disruption.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role?

Seek balance in life and also in the job. It is easy to slip into a draconian stance when you know you are right, but right isn't always the right stance in business. Find the middle ground early, and you will suffer less.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I was born in Liverpool, England, but have no accent to show for it.
  2. I use puns relentlessly.
  3. I still play video games....albeit not as good as I used to be.

What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta?

There is value in the chance to network, which is the easy, tangible answer; the true value is in being pushed to network. Evanta does so much to bring the community together, even when we are too busy to think about networking. It is the people that force us to be better that actually make us better, and I believe Evanta makes our community better with each event that they schedule.



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