60 Seconds With

“What I love about Rent the Runway is that it truly disrupts the trillion dollar fashion sector,” — 60 Seconds With Dorothy Creaven of Rent The Runway

By Business & Finance
27 June 2023

Dorothy Creaven is VP, Managing Director and site lead at Rent the Runway Galway, an e-commerce platform that allows users to rent, subscribe or buy designer apparel. Creaven is an Electronic Engineering graduate from NUI Galway, and has over 20 years’ experience in enterprise software, tech startups, management and leadership for SMEs and multinationals alike.

What was your first job?

My first job straight after university was with a music technology company called Cuan Studios. There I started my software career as a Digital Signal Processing (DSP) software engineer, developing audio plugins for professional music publishing software like ProTools and Cubase. It was a startup which had a gorgeous recording studio within the building, and had some great artists come in to record. I loved my time there and worked with some great people. We had a lot of fun too.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

I studied Electronic Engineering at the University of Galway (formerly National University of Ireland Galway), and my favourite subject was DSP — it all made sense to me, understanding how real-world signals like music or voice waves are digitised, and then manipulated through mathematical algorithms like filters, changing the original sound and output.

I found it fascinating however ultimately, I decided not to pursue a career in software engineering. I was more interested in business strategy, operations, and leadership, so I moved around in my career to get the most experience I could in these areas. I’ve worked in multiple startups as well as global multinational companies, so I’m lucky to have learned a lot along the way.

In my current role with Rent the Runway, I lead an office of about 70 incredible staff, mostly software engineering teams, and we also have additional functions in Galway including Office Operations, People, and Internal Audit.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

I’m not sure if it’s my greatest achievement exactly, but I do remember back in 2014 a particular moment! It was during the time when I was running my own tech startup, and we managed to convince a huge player in the industry to sign a game-changing three year deal in Berlin back in 2014. The exhilaration we felt was off the charts — still brings a smile to my face today.

Career-wise, would you do anything differently?

I would get a mentor and sponsor much earlier in my career. The difference between a mentor and a sponsor is that while you can learn a lot from a mentor, a sponsor is someone who actively advocates for you, especially when you’re not in the room. And you can have multiple sponsors in any given period. In recent years, I’ve definitely felt the value of some great sponsors for which I am very thankful.

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Personally, my definition of success changes over time, but currently, success for me is when you are feeling like you’re delivering your absolute best work, and helping others to deliver theirs.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

When it comes to implementing a solid morning exercise habit, my tip is to leave your running gear or workout gear the night before, and put it on as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. It’s a non-negotiable for me.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

When it comes to my staff, I feel it’s important to understand what motivates them — what are their goals and values, and then do your best to help them get there. Be sure to show genuine appreciation and gratitude for their efforts, and have a bit of fun along the way. 

Personally, I like to set personal goals as well as professional goals. Most recently, I completed my very first adventure race and it took months of training to get ready for it. I loved creating that physical goal and then achieving it some time later — many celebrations were had!

How do you handle adversity?

There’s no getting away from it: sometimes life throws you the most unwelcome curveballs. Realising that you sometimes have little option but to move through an experience is important, and realising what’s in your own control versus what’s outside your own control. That’s when you just need to take a deep breath and do your best to be patient, instead of trying to get it out of the way, like I normally try to do! Sometimes it’s easier said than done, however. In that case, I think it’s really important to know when to be kind to yourself, and have some good people around you who can listen and make you laugh.

How do you relax?

I love to travel, and I would literally go almost anywhere.  At any given opportunity, I’m usually exploring a new city or country with my husband, James. I equally love to spend time with family and friends, and have a really good laugh. When I actually manage to sit down away from any kind of digital device, I love to read a physical book and hang out with our cat, Elvis.

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

What I love about Rent the Runway is that it truly disrupts the trillion dollar fashion sector by offering women a more sustainable and innovative way to experience fashion trends and have an ever-evolving wardrobe. The work I do with my amazing co-workers in our European headquarters in Galway has a direct impact on the success of this business. Given that I’m passionate about sustainability in fashion, and pairing that with my love for technology, my aspirations are pretty much to keep doing more of what we are already doing!


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