Fame and Fortune: Finkelstein cracks U.S. publication’s Forty Under 40 list

Harley Finkelstein
Harley Finkelstein

One of the most prominent figures in Ottawa business has been named to Fortune’s 2021 Forty Under 40 list.

Shopify president Harley Finkelstein joins a high-powered group of honourees that also includes tennis star Naomi Osaka, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan, actress and singer Olivia Rodrigo, Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew.

Fortune notes that Finkelstein has been “instrumental in commercializing the company’s e-commerce tools and shaping its strategy” while adding that Shopify is one of the few tech firms that could be capable of challenging Amazon as the undisputed leader in the space.

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On Wednesday, Finkelstein tweeted that he was “honored” to make Fortune’s list “alongside so many game-changing entrepreneurs.”

The 37-year-old was named Shopify’s president last September after serving as the company’s chief operating officer since 2016. 

As Shopify’s second-in-command behind co-founder and CEO Tobi Lütke, he has often served as the face of the Ottawa company while being a driving force behind its expansion into areas such as order fulfilment and payment processing – “key moves allowing Shopify to stay ahead of the pack,” as Fortune said.

A graduate of the University of Ottawa’s law school, Finkelstein was one of Shopify’s first clients when he was selling T-shirts to make extra money as an aspiring lawyer. He joined the company as chief platform officer in 2010, spearheading its Shopify Partner program and overseeing the creation of its Shopify Plus program for larger enterprise clients.

Finkelstein has become well-known for community contributions such as a half-million-dollar donation in 2018 toward a new facility for Jewish students and young professionals in Ottawa. He also served as a member of the CBC’s board of directors from 2017-20.

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