Solmaz Shahalizadeh, vice-president of data science and engineering and head of commerce intelligence, Shopify

Solmaz Shahalizadeh
Editor's Note

Each year, OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade honour 40 of the region’s top young entrepreneurs, business executives and civic leaders and recognize them for their professional achievements, expertise and community service.
Click here to see the full list of the 2021 recipients and click here to watch the special broadcast honouring the year’s recipients.

Business: E-commerce

Born: Iran

Biggest business achievement: Grew the Shopify data team from a handful of people to hundreds. The Shopify data team has implemented and scaled the company’s machine learning portfolio from one product to hundreds, empowering ambitious entrepreneurs with powerful tools typically reserved for enterprise-level businesses.

Biggest obstacle overcome: As a woman leader in tech, who is also an immigrant, I’ve had to overcome a lot of barriers to entry and growth, working hard to create space for myself and others.

Biggest influences: Too many to name, but top of the list would be my parents for instilling the value of hard work and believing in me from day one.

Biggest lesson learned during COVID-19: The power of communities coming together. From Shopify's millions of merchants thriving during a pandemic to the scientific community creating vaccines in less than 12 months, we are all more powerful when we come together.

First job: Math tutor

Advice I’d give the younger me: Believe in your capabilities and focus your energy on what matters the most. True impact always wins the long game.

Favourite pastime: Hiking, swimming and reading.