Scott McIntyre, CM, OBC, LLD (Hon.)
Past Board Chair, BC Achievement Board

As I began to reflect on how to approach this post, I revisited the Foundation’s website. It reminded me of what a government initiative can achieve, how citizens coming together can make a difference, and how far we have come since BC Achievement was set up in 2003. 

The original imperative was simple: find a way to honour British Columbians who have achieved success in their chosen fields and have given back to their communities. 

BC Achievement was established by a personal initiative of then Premier Gordon Campbell.  He not only found the money; he insisted that it be structured in such a way as to be independent of government, fully arms length from political intrusion. The Premier and three other sitting MLA’s can be named to the Board, but their role is to lend community gravitas; never to intrude on judgements. 

During the intervening years, that mandate has been fulfilled. To my knowledge, BC Achievement is unique in North America, governed by a citizen Board, its endowment secure, free from constraint, dedicated entirely to honouring citizen achievement.   

Our cornerstone is the Community Award, of which some 25 are awarded each year to people from every part of the province, nominated by their own communities. These are presented by the Lieutenant Governor in Government House in Victoria. It is a very special day for the awardees and their families: the pride in the room is palpable. 

From the beginning, honouring Indigenous communities has also been central. Whether it is the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art, the Indigenous Business Award, or the newly launched British Columbia Reconciliation Award, a joint undertaking between BC Achievement and the Lieutenant Governor, the province’s Indigenous legacy has a place of honour. 

The words ‘make us better’ once greeted newcomers to Canada. BC Achievement extends that invitation to all British Columbians. I am enormously proud of the role I have played since the beginning in helping to fulfill that mandate. 

Scott McIntyre is best-known for his role as co-founder, publisher and CEO of the pre-eminent Canadian publishing house Douglas & McIntyre. His many Board positions have included the Writer’s Trust of Canada, the BC Arts Council, the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity, the Bill Reid Foundation, the UBC School of Journalism, and the Association of Canadian Publishers. Scott is a Member of the Order of British Columbia, and a Member of the Order of Canada and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from SFU. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.  

The importance of the Young Entrepreneur
Indigenous Business Award

“Longhouse was honoured to be nominated and to receive the recognition and award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year. There is a huge amount of talent in BC right now, and to be chosen as a leader in the Indigenous Business community is humbling. This award will drive us to keep being better so that we can live up to the role model that businesses that have won before have created.” 
Keenan Beavis, 2020 Young Entrepreneur of the Year 

The Indigenous Business Award (IBA) annually celebrates excellence in Indigenous Business in British Columbia. The IBA program offers awardees and their supporters an authentic space to showcase their achievements, build bridges between BC’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous economies, while celebrating success, diversity and inclusion. 

Up to eight awardees are chosen from within one of four distinct categories: Young Entrepreneur, Business of the Year, Community-Owned Business of the Year and Business Partnership of the Year. The awardees represent a wide range of business sizes, fields and cover the geographical make-up of the province. The category that generates much excitement and inspiration every year is the Young Entrepreneur offered to a nominee 35 years of age or younger. The award is presented to a business that best exemplifies excellence in entrepreneurship including effective leadership, innovation, potential for growth, and a commitment to their community.  

Recognition is a tool that demonstrates to leaders and other entrepreneurs, the importance of young people’s role in generating economic growth in the province. The IBA program serves to inspire others by elevating models of success that will encourage them to take action and build a business that serves a need, a community or a passion. 

“When we raise each other up, everyone benefits. Business is an opportunity for everyone to provide value to the community in the way that they know best. The more we can encourage entrepreneurship, the bigger benefit to everyone in our local communities, province and country.” 
Keenan Beavis 

Longhouse Media of Langley reflects these qualities and was named the 2020 recipient of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Indigenous Business. As a media company, Longhouse provides digital solutions to clients including video production, digital advertising, web design, and Google rankings to effectively and efficiently promote their clients’ businesses. They’ve most recently been working with some publicly traded companies within the mining industry!  Check out the Award Film on Longhouse Media at bcachievement.com.

BC Achievement is grateful to New Relationship Trust which has supported the IBA program since 2010, continuing its commitment to a future that supports Indigenous entrepreneurs and capacity development. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change. 

Nathan Wilson 2020 Awardee Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Nathan Wilson is a fifth generation Haisla artist, who is inspired by his family history to continue to keep a long line of carving traditions alive. “There was a time when First Nations People couldn’t practice this art form and now we’re trying to catch up. I feel that is a huge driving factor in keeping me grounded to the arts but also trying to evolve with the arts at the same time.” 

Nathan’s practice includes both painting and carving, where he creates masks, sculptures and relief carved panels for various galleries, as well as taking on private commissions with various collectors. His carvings are inspired by events and understanding the natural world. From encounters with grizzly and black bears, mountain goats and whales, to attending feasts and totem pole raising ceremonies, Nathan finds these are all important milestones in finding a deeper meaning to becoming a First Nations Artist. 

Having worked closely with mentors like Stan Bevan, Ken McNeil and Dempsey Bob, Nathan is keen to pass along his skills, traditions and passion to the next generations. As an instructor, he teaches students at the Freda Diesing School, the very same place he first refined his art skills.  

As well he and his partner Nakkita Trimble have introduced their young children to their craft, hoping to pass on their passion and traditions. “In this day and age, it gets more important than ever that we continuously pass along our knowledge. My two little girls, they’re always really interested in what I’m working on. It’s really rewarding when my three-year-old tells me that ‘it’s looking really beautiful Papa’. That’s where I want to pass my knowledge onto, to my little ones so they can be artists if they choose but they also have a good solid grounding in their culture and what their parents do.” 

Community building and creating a sense of belonging are important to Nathan. He was recently commissioned by Mount Elizabeth Secondary School to carve an eight-foot totem pole, where students could observe, participate and carve onto the pole under Nathan’s supervision at the beginning stages. He has also joined the communities of Kitamaat Village and District of Kitimat to help raise the “Palaa-Gwa-La” pole in the main entrance of another school. This was the first totem pole to be raised for either community in several decades. “I’m giving my community the identity that we’ve always had and I’m just shining it for everybody to see.” 

“I liken my journey as an artist to being in a canoe. The wake that I left behind has led me to where I am today. All the projects I’ve done, all the homework, all the study that has all brought me to receiving the BC Achievement Award, to being a teacher at the Freda Diesing School and to doing community work that I have been doing.” The journey for this Fulmer Award in First Nations Art recipient will continue for a long time and we look forward to his impact on First Nations culture, art and community. 

To learn more about Nathan check out this film at bcachievement com 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change. 

Em̓út | Being Home: An Exhibition of Northwest Coast Indigenous Art March 10 to May 1, 2021

“This exhibition is part of a process of rewriting the historic narratives of governments and institutions while expressing an Indigenous perspective and an Indigenous truth. It is also an expression of Northwest Coast Indigenous artists understanding of Em̓út – of being home.” Ray Hartley and Sheila Hall, curators. 

BC Achievement is honoured to be part of a new exhibition of Northwest Coast Indigenous Art called Em̓út | Being Home, in collaboration with the Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and in conjunction with guest curators Ray Hartley and Sheila Hall from the Aboriginal Gathering Collective.  

Starting today, visits can be scheduled to view new work and films featuring First Nations artists:  Primrose Adams, Sonny Assu, Dempsey Bob, David A. Boxley, Corey Bulpitt, Brenda Crabtree, Ben Davidson, Robert Davidson, Aggie Davis, Shawn Hunt, Lena Jumbo, Isabel Rorick, Evelyn Vanderhoop, and Xwalacktun.  

The majority of the featured artists are recipients of the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art spanning the program’s thirteen years of celebrating artistic excellence. The exhibition includes a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, wood carving, textiles, basket weaving, and sculpture. As well it gives the visitor the opportunity to view short films, produced in conjunction with the Fulmer Award recognition, which give intimate portraits of the artists at work in their homes and studios.   

Em̓út | Being Home celebrates the artistic contributions of First Nations artists whose practice represents excellence in traditional and contemporary art, and who have been recognized in their communities as mentors and teachers in their field. 

The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of artist, Ben Davidson. An exceptional artist and loved father, son, husband and friend, who passed away unexpectedly in August 2020 at age 44. 

The Exhibition runs from March 10 until May 1, from 12 – 5pm Tuesday – Saturday. Contact [email protected] to schedule your visit in keeping with COVID safety plans. 

Applied Art and Design – optimism through proactive engagement

“I’ve never been one to put too much value in an award but this feels different to me as I feel a great sense of pride to be honoured with the Carter Wosk Award.” Jeff Martin, awardee

As a 2020 Awardee of the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art and Design, Jeff Martin and his studio, Jeff Martin Joinery, explore research-based design, creating furniture that is beautiful, interesting and high-quality.  His work demonstrates the unique place Carter Wosk alumni hold in the province’s creative economy and the importance of shining a light on their contributions to all that is BC. 

Jeff finds inspiration in the materials themselves: “I really love to dive into very often disparate materials and how they react together. When I first started, I had this grandiose idea that I would have my own bronze foundry and my own glass blowing studio and you kind of realize that there is no way that if I were to engage in all those things by myself, I’d become an expert in any of them. A lot of my creative process is achieved by discussion and curiosity with people who are experts with that specific material.” 

It’s this desire to research, know more, and explore, that has led Jeff to expand his experience and therefore, his impact on design. He has grown his practice to include experimental glass blowing, focusing on cork molded, mouth blown collectible glass vessels.  

Jeff has also created space to highlight other artists and designers. Last year, at the beginning of COVID, Jeff moved his studio to a large production facility. The new location serves as a showroom while making space for other designers to help promote their work.  “We started Alpenglow Projects to give designers and artists a low-cost physical gallery space to sell their work in lieu of a lack of shows or meaningful presentations. We’ve made the best out of the situation.” 

Creating pieces that have longevity while reducing their impact on the environment is a key part of Jeff’s art practice. “I think everything we do pushes toward the idea that we’re making stuff that people will hopefully own for a long time. And the goal is that they are multi-generational pieces and that they are engineerable enough and that they’re culturally significant enough that people would want to own them for more than one generation.” 

Last year, Jeff Martin Joinery took its environmental responsibility one step further by planting 300 trees (1/3 of an acre) in BC for every piece of furniture sold. As well, almost all of the lumber Jeff’s practice uses is responsibly sourced from trees which are sick or standing dead. The rest comes from Forest Stewardship Council managed forests.  

“We are trying to do more because we believe being engaged, proactive and optimistic about our world, may in fact help it.” 

You can visit Jeff Martin’s showroom at alpenglowprojects.com to purchase work of featured artists, or reach out directly at [email protected] for details.   

  BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.  

BC Achievement salutes Nicole McLaren Owner of Raven Reads Books: “Amplifying Indigenous stories to a broader audience”

Elevate Excellence: The Business 

Raven Reads is an Indigenous owned and operated subscription box service featuring Indigenous books and wholesale gift line. A recipient of a 2020 Indigenous Business Award, Raven Reads more recently was nominated for a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Business Reinvention Award 2021 and a Small Business BC Award. 

Owner and founder, Nicole McLaren, provides both an informative and enjoyable experience for her customers. “We feature adult and children’s subscription boxes where we curate books and giftware from other Indigenous authors and entrepreneurs. Every three months we send over 800 boxes to subscribers around the world.”  

Share Success: The Story 

Nicole started Raven Reads after a desire to make an impact on reconciliation in her own way. “I was working for a company where I was helping them come up with their Reconciliation Action Plan. And I wanted to do something myself for reconciliation, so I started a book club where we focused exclusively on books by Indigenous authors. And when I saw how well the books helped people understand the impact of intergenerational trauma, I thought what a great opportunity to share these books.” From there Nicole started Raven Reads designed as a safe space to learn about Indigenous cultures, history and enjoy Indigenous-made products from around the world. 

During the pandemic, Raven Reads struggled getting their goods on time and therefore getting their product to customers on time. However, they’ve turned these challenges into opportunities for growth. “As people switch to more online shopping, and they’re looking for alternatives to get their books, we’ve also taken advantage of that to add new products.” 

Inspire change: The Impact 

“The most rewarding thing with Raven Reads is knowing we are amplifying Indigenous stories to a broader audience of Canadians and North Americans. And the amazing feedback we get from people is how they did not know about our collective histories in Canada.” 

“I think Indigenous people are inherently amazing entrepreneurs and business owners. We come from generations of trade and entrepreneurism and our involvement in the establishment of Canada. We are well versed in taking adversity and taking moments of difficulty and flipping those into opportunity.” 

To learn more about Nicole’s business check out her film at bcachievement.com and have a look at the Raven Reads website

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.