Fellow Profile — Trishala Pillai

University: University of Waterloo

Major: Economics

Startup: Shopify Plus

City: Waterloo, ON

Hometown: Dubai

What does your startup do? At Shopify Plus, we are making enterprise e-commerce simple and better for high-volume and high-growth merchants who want to seamlessly scale to greater heights.

Describe a typical day at your startup: As an Enterprise Ecommerce Specialist within Sales, I guide prospective enterprise merchants through the entire sales process from making sure they are qualified to signing the contract, ensuring that they understand the value of Plus and how it can help drive their business forward.

What do you love about working at a startup?

To begin with, definitely the pace and directions at which things are constantly moving, it feels like you are on a rocketship. I love the people that start ups attract; they are all people who want to bring their true and complete selves to work every morning to work on something they genuinely believe in. The passion is infectious. I love the flexibility startups offer. The autonomy is liberating and incredibly refreshing from traditional business.

What’s a social issue that you are particularly passionate about?

I’ve witnessed many social issues growing up in the communities I lived in across the world, from poverty and sexism to mental health and sustainability thus I care deeply about many issues. Beyond the social issues, what I’ve grown to become really passionate about is the fact that there is a significant lack of meaningful conversation around these social issues. The conversations aren’t happening and groups within communities are working/conversing in isolation. THIS is something I want to change.

What’s your favorite book?

At the moment, I’d say The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar. I think choice is a powerful concept and one that we often neglect and take for granted.

If you could tell your third year university student self one piece of advice, it would be to….

Don’t concern yourself too much with pleasing everyone- it is impossible so choose those who matter wisely.

What is the best part of being a Venture for Canada Fellow?

The opportunity. There is an opportunity tucked into everything at Venture for Canada, you just need to find it and run with it.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career?

I want to defy all the norms that surround what it means to be in technology, sales and entrepreneurship and help people understand that business and philanthropy do not need to be seen in isolation, we can integrate both into everything we do.

Why should someone apply to Venture for Canada?

Apply for the opportunity, the network, the people and learning! What more could you ask for?

What is the most important skill you gained as a fellow?

Coming to terms with the fact that it is okay not to know everything but it is not okay to think you know everything. In other words, developing that growth mindset.

What qualities do you need to succeed in a startup?

Grit, a growth mindset and the ability to adapt to a forever-changing environment.

Describe your most memorable experience as a fellow.

Definitely Fellow Training Camp, all 5 weeks of it! It was 5 weeks of learning and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone in a city I’d never explored before.

What advice can you offer to future fellows?

You are going to be surrounded by people who are intelligent and ready to take on the world (if they aren’t doing that already!), recognize that you bring something unique to the group and leverage it. Confidence alone will take you a long way throughout the experience.