Photo: 2020 Indigenous Business Awardee, Nicole McLaren
Driven by a mission to create a safe space for dialogue while providing opportunities to learn about other cultures and history and build on reconciliation, entrepreneur Nicole McLaren is leading the way with her company Raven Reads Books.
In 2017, as CEO and founder, Nicole launched Raven Reads – a subscription box service that delivers custom, curated books and giftware written or created by Indigenous people from around the world. Three years later, Nicole, a member of Métis Nation BC, was recognized for her business excellence, receiving the Indigenous Business Award for the Business of the Year. Since then, she has grown her business, added to her staff, and expanded the reach of her subscription box company.
And this year, she has been nominated for the RBC Canadian Women of Influence awards!
Raven Reads was born from a desire to educate others about the devastating impact of residential schools on Indigenous people in Canada. Nicole’s journey began when she started a book club to focus on books by Indigenous authors and to do her own part for reconciliation. This club has grown into a successful Indigenous female-owned business with subscribers all over the world. Raven Reads started as the quintessential reconciliation toolkit and it has evolved into a platform for amplifying Indigenous authors and entrepreneurs.
The Raven Reads subscription box delivers books and giftware created by Indigenous authors and entrepreneurs, elevating other Indigenous-run businesses along with her own. According to Nicole, Raven Reads has “invested over $300,000 into other Indigenous businesses and authors across Canada and the USA.”
In 2021, Nicole served on the selection committee for the inaugural British Columbia Reconciliation Award, reviewing submissions from around the province. She and her fellow jurors had the daunting task of selecting nine recipients from the many individuals and organizations working towards reconciliation.
“I frequently ask myself what does reconciliation mean and what role can I play in this? I know that reconciliation means different things to different people. To many, it’s about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in this country. For that to happen, there must be awareness of our collective past along with action that will change behaviour.”
To learn more about Nicole McLaren and Raven Reads Books, visit bcachievement.com.
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