Jantien Sneyd: Always Curious

Jantien Sneyd, Support Advisor at Shopify

What was high school like for you? Were there any experiences there that led you to the career you’ve chosen?

High school was an interesting experience, to say the least. I grew up in a small town, and I was really interested in theatre and the arts in general. There was not much opportunity through programming at my school or in the area to participate in the dramatic arts, so I got involved and became a founding member of a youth theatre organization.

While I don’t work in the world of theatre anymore, having carved out that space for myself and many others really provided a  space to explore ideas, be creative and collaborate. It definitely contributed in my overall mindset and how I approach new opportunities to this day.

What was a pivotal point in deciding your career choice?

I’ve career hopped a bunch to get where I am, but every experience has been very valuable. I have my BFA in Theatre Production.  I stage-managed for a bit after I graduated and decided it wasn’t for me.  I brought my people skills from stage management to retail management. While I was working in retail I became fascinated by the customer’s in-store experience vs online experience and the relationship between the two. That’s when I decided to go back to school and study marketing and really dig into the e-commerce side of business operations and technology.

Did the E-Commerce program at NSCC inspire you to want to work with Shopify?

100%! One of our assignments in my second year was to create a Shopify store, and I was feeling really intimated by it. I’m not a developer so I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. When I finally sat down and did the assignment my mind was blown. I had built a functional store in less than a day, and all I could see was the potential this would bring to smaller, local businesses online ( which was very topical at the time).  From that point forward I was determined to work for Shopify. I even used the store I built in class on my job application!

Did you have a mentor during your career or education that had a significant impact?

Many. It’s hard to narrow it down to one person. At NSCC I was endlessly inspired by my peers and received so much encouragement from faculty to challenge myself and get comfortable trying new things. Going back to school at 26 was intimidating, and I had two instructors in particular who pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to take a few classes I wouldn’t have chosen on my own. That encouraging environment was super impactful!

Do you have any advice you could share with young women entering careers in STEM?

Stay curious! Connect with your peers, ask questions and start the conversation. You can learn so much from other people, and they can learn just as much from you. We all have unique perspectives, and sharing your curiosity with others can lead to some really cool ideas and opportunities! There’s lots to discover out there!

If you could highlight one thing about your job; your favourite aspect, what would it be?

Helping merchants discover new ways to help them grow their business or improve operations. While support advisors are there to help with general issues as well, we are always looking for ways to help merchants improve their online stores. Whether it’s an app or an automation that can save them time, or a small change on their store to improve the customer journey to checkout, we have their backs! I also love how each advisor brings a unique perspective to provide something actionable, and impactful.

If you could give your 15-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

You don’t need to have it all figured out right away! Follow your interests, and you will land where you are supposed to be. I spent so much time as a teenager trying to figure out what I wanted to do “when I grow up”, and truthfully I still don’t know. If you have an interest in a specific subject or program, go for it, and do it at your own pace.