#WhenIGrowUp Wednesdays: Nicole McLaren

#WhenIGrowUp Wednesdays is an opportunity to feature stories of individuals whose journeys can be examples for all of us. Most often, these stories have popped up in my social media feeds, and although the randomness is amazing, there is a common thread connecting them all. Whether through a career reinvention, an unexpected opportunity, or an a-ha moment; because of boredom, or maybe circumstances, these individuals have followed their, often meandering, paths to find fulfillment through purposeful work.


I have always had a passion for finding interesting ways to engage, inspire and motivate those around me. My mixed-heritage and Indigenous roots are what drove me to do this. – Nicole McLaren, Raven Reads

Nicole Mclaren, Raven ReadsNicole McLaren, Founder of Raven Reads, graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Paleobiology/Archaeology. Since then, she has worked primarily for mining sector companies in a variety of capacities in both Saskatchewan, and for the past few years, in British Columbia. Prior to her departure for BC, McLaren served as an elected Councillor for the Town of Langham, volunteered extensively, and also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology.

Much of McLaren’s work has involved consensus building for community and economic development initiatives between Indigenous and non-Indigenous interest groups. As an Indigenous Affairs Coordinator, then Advisor, for an international mining and metals company, and as a woman with Indigenous roots, Nicole has often wondered what reconciliation means, and what role she might have in it. Within the past few years, two things happened which, when combined, led to the creation of Raven Reads.

McLaren started a book club at work. Not only was it a way for her to read more, it was an opportunity to introduce her co-workers to Indigenous writers. “Almost none of the women in her book club at work had contact with Indigenous communities, so reading about Indigenous experiences created better understanding.” (CBC Unreserved) And, secondly, quite by accident, Nicole discovered the concept of subscription boxes. Although Raven Reads wasn’t conceived as a Reconciliation project, it has slowly evolved into one.

In honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, Raven Reads aims to inspire and create safe space for dialogue by expanding our understanding and perspectives of the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people around the world, through the written word, from the past and into the present. – Raven Reads

Subscription boxes are mailed out seasonally throughout the year. Each beautifully packaged box contains one book by an Indigenous writer, along with giftware from Indigenous-owned companies. In the spirit of giving back, in 2018, Raven Reads will donate $1 from each subscription box to the First Nations Caring Society. For more information on Raven Reads, and their giving back activities, please click here.

Sources: Raven ReadsLinkedIn, CBC Unreserved

Photo via CBC Unreserved: supplied.

~ Debbie MacLeod

The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

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