Driven

How General Manager of eBay Canada & Latin America Andrea Stairs Became a Stylish Tech Powerhouse

When meeting with government officials or the media, General Manager of eBay Canada & Latin America Andrea Stairs says initially she looked like a junior accountant in her navy blue suit, a look that certainly didn’t fit her company’s brand. “I had to figure out what to wear to be appropriate for the setting but also to represent the brand. The guys had it so easy because they'd wear a mismatched blazer and jeans, maybe with a tie,” explained Andrea. “There was a uniform already for men in tech but there wasn't a uniform for women in tech. Trying to figure that out took a lot of missteps.”

At eBay, Andrea cultivates relationships with individual consumers and established brands and retailers. She also oversees all of eBay’s Canadian partnerships and manages business development, marketing, public, and government relations. Andrea sits on a number of executive and advisory boards including Export Development Canada, Canada’s National Ballet School, The InformationTechnology Association of Canada (ITAC), and Ontario’s Panel for Economic Growth & Prosperity. 

As an undergraduate student, Andrea studied medieval history, a much different discipline than her career in tech. Later, Andrea joined eBay where she anticipated she'd stay for only 6 months. Thirteen years later, she's still there and now she runs Canada and Latin America for the company. Four years into her career with eBay, Andrea took on a public-facing leadership role working with media and government relations. “I had to go meet ministers and advocate on behalf of eBay," said Andrea. "You're in a room. You feel completely unqualified to be there and yet it's your job.”

Andrea has figured out how to dress well and diversify her wardrobe so she feels comfortable and powerful but also represents her brand. That’s how she gravitated towards her favourite Grayes piece. “I’m wearing The Blazer Dress. I like to be comfortable and fit into my relatively casual office environment, but I also need to be presentable from the waist up in case I need to do a media interview. This solves both problems, which is awesome.”

Part of the fun of working at eBay, Andrea says, is watching new trends spring up. As soon as a fad starts, the platform gets inundated with hot items – in that way eBay is a kind of social barometer.  Andrea also sees timeless items like the Birkin bag on eBay. “Every cool trend that comes across, we see it in our numbers. Fashion in particular. Editors and designers say ‘I shop eBay to be able to access little known fashion designers in Japan or this amazing kind of furniture or decorative art. [...]amongst the billion or so items that are on the platform.” These specific pieces often only exist on eBay for a limited amount of time.

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