Tiger Magazine - Fall 2021

Page 74

TECH

Savvy Alex Clark ’06 talks good policy, giving back—and how she's helping bring opportunity to a new generation of entrepreneurs.

If you spent a good part of the past year seeking small business gems on social, listening for the comforting sound of the delivery truck, or contemplating the items in your virtual cart, you’re in good company. With consumers bereft of their bricks-and-mortar gotos, online shopping hit an all-time high during the pandemic—and it looks like it’s here to stay. For alumna Alex Clark ’06, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Canada’s eCommerce powerhouse Shopify, the ability to support retailers beyond your local mall is exactly the kind of diversification the system needs. “More voices, more power in the hands of the many and not the few—we’ve rediscovered the online version of Main Street and it’s exhilarating,” she explains as we spoke earlier this summer. “If the government can use the momentum we’ve seen through this pandemic around supporting entrepreneurship, we could have a much more diverse, interesting and stable economy moving forward.” It seems Alex has always been keen to bring fresh talent to the table—and that means fighting for good policies; finding innovative ways to expand reach; and providing opportunity to those who, historically, were often overlooked. “Looking back, I was able to leverage my education, my network and even life experiences to get me 72

flourishing

through the door,” she shares. “It’s an advantage to have one of those, let alone all three, so I’ve always believed in finding ways to allow more people to participate that otherwise couldn’t.” It’s a community mindset she comes by honestly. Her grandfather, Old Ridleian Ian Reid ’44, and grandmother, Margot, instilled its importance in their family; both received the Order of Canada in recognition of their community service. Alex is part of a long line of Ridleians: her grandfather Ian; uncles Tim ’78 and Ross Reid ’71; aunt Sarah Cameron ’84; and sister Jillian Clark ’03 all attended Ridley. When she was 16, Alex decided to turn her focus from competitive tennis and considered where to spend one final, adventurous year—and having listened to plenty of Ridley stories around the dinner table, Alex knew the school would check the right boxes. She enrolled for the 2005-06 academic year. And from the moment she arrived on campus, she made the most of it, serving as captain of the First Girls Rugby team, House captain of Gooderham West (she’s held on proudly to her House ring), and assistant captain of the then newly formed JV Girls Hockey team, which she helped create. “It was a bunch of us that had never played hockey—most of us had never learned how to stop on skates. The boards absorbed a lot of our momentum!” she


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