Magazine

Meet Andrea Stairs

In honour of International Women's Day, Grayes will be dedicating the month of March to celebrating women. We will be posting a series of interviews featuring inspiring Grayes women driving change.

Tell us about your career journey.

With an undergrad in medieval history, a younger Andrea would have never expected to end up with a career in tech. After completing my JD/MBA, I felt the next natural step was entry into the finance world – specifically an associate in mergers and acquisitions. After a few years, I realized that world wasn’t for me and switched paths, jumping into the fast-paced realm of retail, where I led strategy for one of Canada’s largest fashion retailers. While I thought I had landed my dream job, I quickly understood the importance of workplace culture – I learned early that when my values align with an organization’s, I can be so much more effective and valuable. My next move – eBay Canada – was truly the perfect fit. Early on, I found myself spending time on the work itself rather than trying to navigate how to position it. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way, and one of the reasons I was so grateful when I found I “clicked” with eBay. Today, I lead eBay for both Canada and Latin America, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have found a role that continues to challenge me, despite my path being completely different to what I initially mapped out.

Tell us about your personal style and how it has evolved over your career.

My personal style has evolved quite a bit throughout my career. When I started at eBay 14 years ago, I brought with me my professional style from my previous jobs where I was in a corporate setting and earnestly trying to dress a certain way to be taken more seriously as a junior associate. Think classic navy- blue suits -- a look that didn’t really translate to a fun, innovative fast-paced tech company like eBay. I quickly found myself recalibrating my work style that fit more with my new setting and represented my brand, while still feeling comfortable and authentic to myself. The men had it easier as there was already a uniform for them in the tech: A button down shirt and jeans – perhaps the occasional blazer. But for women, there was really no dress code or uniform, so navigating through that and finding what worked best for me took a few missteps. Today, I like to be comfortable and fit into my relatively casual office environment – on most days you will find me in a classic blazer, a statement necklace, jeans and fun pair of heels.

What's the best style advice you've ever received? What's the most important piece of style advice you would offer young businesswomen?

The best career advice I’ve ever received is that no one is in charge of your career but you, and I think this advice also rings true when it comes to your professional fashion style– you are in charge of the way you look and feel so dress in what makes you feel and perform your best.

What items of clothing or ‘looks’ make you feel the most powerful and like your most authentic self?

I love my vintage Cartier Tank watch – an eBay splurge I gifted myself after being promoted to head of marketing for Canada. It’s a nice reminder of the career journey I’ve embarked on and what I can accomplish when I set my mind to it.

What do you love most about the Grayes brand?

Versatility is something I always look for when shopping for new pieces. About 5 years into my role at eBay, I took on a more public-facing leadership role working with media and engaging in government relations. This meant that, in addition to my regular day-to-day meetings and interactions at the office, on any given day I could also be in front of cameras or meeting with ministers or members of parliament. I had to diversify my wardrobe in a way that would make me feel confident and professional while still being on-brand. This is where the importance of versatility comes in. Every day looks different for me -- I could be on a plane in the morning, on Parliament Hill that afternoon and at a friend’s house for dinner that evening, so a piece that can effortlessly transition from professional to casual or day to night is essential for someone like me who is constantly on the-go and in different settings and situations.

What is your philosophy when it comes to your wardrobe, and particularly your work wardrobe?

Comfort is key! Whether you feel your best in a dress and six-inch heels or a pair of jeans, a vintage tee and a blazer, how you feel in what you put on each day plays a big role in the confidence and attitude you bring to work which impacts overall performance. I truly believe that feeling your best contributes to tangible success.

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