2022 Honorees

Aoife Dowling

Agency and Tech Partnerships Lead, EMEA

“I’m mission-driven, and really need a vision I can connect to.”


Tell us about where you work and what you do there.

I spend my days at Shopify, leading Agency & Tech Partnerships for the EMEA. On paper, my job is to grow revenue through partner channels and expand into new markets. Our teams and partners make the magic happen. I see my role as creating an environment that supports making both of them successful.

How would you describe yourself?

Grateful, realistic, extroverted introvert, and a lover of wine. I’m mission-driven and really need a vision I can connect to. That’s why I love working at Shopify. We don’t want to do things like everybody else. The culture breeds so much creativity and nurtures out of the box thinking, particularly in the business of building partnerships.

What is your leadership style?

As leaders, it’s our job to inspire and empower our people to become high-performing teams, who will build, develop and deploy. To do this, we need to create an environment for individuals to contribute, so they know they are valued, and feel proud of their work. It’s vital for everyone to know how they fit in and contribute to the mission. Giving people the power of decision-making and asking them to take responsibility, means they are building their own future, and the future of the business. I’ve seen this bring about exceptional and unexpected outputs.

What do you think has been your biggest professional success so far

Learning to embrace failure! That did not come naturally to me. I realized I will bounce, not shatter. Change is the only constant if you want growth. Over the highs and lows of my career, I’ve realized that it’s when I fall that I’ve learnt the most. So now I seek out change and discomfort. Recognizing my mistakes, and moving on quickly. That changed the game for me.

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What goals do you have for 2022?

Ensuring my team is strong and high-performing, and hopefully will so they can accomplish the best work of their careers at Shopify.

I choose a word every year, and my word for 2022 is harmony — finding not balance between work and other interests, but a more harmonious meeting of all the things that are important to me. Recharging well, and taking more breaks is high on my list too.

What do you think is the next big trend in eCommerce?

Flexibility and customer choice are critical — retail is everywhere, and brands need to meet their consumers where they are. Every buying journey is multifaceted — it can start and end on any channel. The era of low-cost online and social advertising is over. Changes to internet privacy laws and third-party cookies are pushing customer acquisition costs higher and higher. Brands of all sizes need to foster long-term relationships with their customers — not just renting their relationships, but owning them — so they can succeed over the next decade.

Name an eCommerce brand you admire and why.

A UK fashion brand called Lucy & Yak — the founders built the business while living in a van called Yak. Their products are ethically made and the company values really shine through. And they make the most amazing dungarees!

What do you geek out over?

I watch way too many sci-fi TV shows… I love X-Files and have been rewatching it all over the last few years. Vintage furniture restoration went from hobby to habit over the last few years — we now have a household ban on adopting more pieces to bring back to life!