Hometown: New Westminster, BC
Languages: English, French, Punjabi, Hindi
Occupation: Growth Consultant & Real Estate Investor
Raven Thiara is the eldest of three, born in New Westminster, British Columbia. A first generation Canadian, raised by a mother who immigrated from Punjab, India. Her traditional upbringing yielded strong family values and relationships with both her younger siblings. A deep interest in modeling contrasted with this conservative culture but taught Raven independence and perseverance as she garnered opportunities to model for a number of designers from Vancouver, Los Angeles, and India. Raven paired her modeling abilities with her philanthropic endeavors by walking runways for numerous charity organizations such as Children of the Street Society and the BC Cancer Society. The confidence gained through modeling and the dedication learned through volunteerism naturally led her into the world of pageantry.
Aside from the aforementioned interests, academics have always been of importance, becoming multilingual at a young age through French immersion encouraged Raven’s love for linguistics. Because she enjoys a challenge, Raven transitioned into the rigorous French immersion international baccalaureate program for her high school education. Through this passion for education Raven was provided early acceptance to The University of British Columbia. In university, Raven studied political science with a focus on international relations and social justice. Upon graduation, Raven continued to pursue her passion for education through her graduate research; which works to counter the fundamental claim underlying current free trade regulations that insists unrestricted international trade is conducive to equal productive growth for all participants. Instead, Raven argues that current free trade regulations have facilitated and exacerbated the commodification and trade of human bodies for the purpose of sex-trafficking by establishing trade infrastructure in politically volatile and vulnerable regions of the world. Subsequently enticing developing economies to participate in markets with unfair competition levels. Raven deduces that the consequences of these skewed trade agreements include the destruction of the sustenance economies of these developing nations while increasing the economic divide between developed and developing. Through historical and statistical analysis, her research concludes that the globalization and the liberalization of markets at such an unprecedented level has led to the increased commodification and trafficking of female bodies. Raven’s research has presented her with exciting opportunities, including an invitation to a private conference held by The Nature Conservancy; where she was provided a seat to speak on issues of international importance alongside heads of industry and leading members of Canada’s political arena. Through this experience, Raven learned the importance of using the privileges and power of the corporate world to foster social change through thoughtful altruistic endeavors.
In her professional life, Raven is a growth consultant, working with executives in a range of disciplines (from the entertainment industry to the natural resources sector) to create inclusive, productive workplaces through cultural sensitivity training and internal restructuring. Her profession has taught her to make wise investments in appreciating assets such as real estate, that have in turn provided returns used to improve the lives of her family and community (through volunteer work, fundraising and direct donations). With her diverse resume, Raven hopes to share her experiences with others, teaching the importance of financial literacy to foster a generation of wise, independent women who understand the importance of corporate responsibility and giving back to one’s community.
What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?
I have innumerable interests but the one I enjoy most as of late is traveling both domestically and internationally. I was fortunate to be able to visit more than 20 different places in the last year and hope to continue to pursue my goal of visiting all 193 UN nations in the coming years. Whether at home or away, I also have extensive interests in modelling, fashion, culinary arts, linguistics, volunteering, interior design, landscape photography and film. Apart from my hobbies, I enjoy spending what free time I have with my family and dog.
List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.)
- Runway Course: Liza Varma Grooming expert
- Polynesian Dance lessons
- Bhangra Dance lessons
- Etiquette Course: Elizabeth Etiquette
- Self-defense Class: Miss. BC Pageant
- French Immersion: Grades 6-12
- Kaplan Test Prep Course: LSAT
In what sports, if any, have you participated?
Sports were an idyllic escape in my childhood, so I participated on as many local teams as possible. I played soccer, box lacrosse, basketball, rugby, field hockey, volleyball, ran track and began swimming lessons at only three years old.
Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why?
My great aunt and her determination through terminal illness has forever changed my life. Our relationship was far from conventional and not as distant as one would assume based on the extended familial relation. She was unable to have biological children so she became the grandmother to her elder sister’s kin (my maternal grandmother). As the eldest of said grandchildren I grew incredibly close to her, enough for her to entrust me with all major medical decisions during her rapid decline- naming me her power of attorney at only 21 years old. This experience taught me compassion, emotional maturity and responsibility; while her strong will taught me never to relent in the face of adversity.
What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)?
Being the first in my family to graduate with a post-secondary degree is my proudest accomplishment for a plurality of reasons. This accomplishment is significant in itself as education is a luxury we often take for granted. But was all the more important to me because I was able to attain my degree while working a fulltime job in order to help support a family of four. I faced a number of health challenges during my undergraduate degree; but was able to organize a full course-load, work schedule and familial responsibilities with medical appointments to ensure a timely and successful graduation. By working through these challenges with a disciplined work ethic I was able to graduate with a strong GPA from one of the top 50 universities in the world.
What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you?
One of the most interesting things about me is my extensive history of travel. Visiting more than 20 different locations in the last year, over thousands of miles, across continents, has refreshed my overall outlook on life. From the atolls of the Maldives to the deserts in Doha and Dubai there is no parallel experience than the respectful introduction to new countries and cultures. This distant travel bolstered my interest in my home continent and prompted more local travel. In North America, I learned indigenous fishing practices on the Islands of British Columbia, the conventions behind conservation hunting on the vast lands of Montana, while being fortunate enough to be introduced to New York’s historical Broadway scene through the coveted shows Book of Mormon and Hamilton. From these experiences, I learned how diverse and unique each place is and to leave behind more than we take away.
What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal?
As an ambitious young woman, I have a litany of professional goals driven by my entrepreneurial spirit. My career ambitions mirror my response to where I hope to be in ten years; to be a driven executive who believes in sharing their success. In order to accomplish my goals, I believe it takes a multi-faceted approach. Therefore, personally, I hope to ascertain a level of confidence that enables me to remain at ease in even the most trying situations. Professionally, I plan to use that confidence to take risks as a strong leader and grow my business into a larger corporation that practices environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Through these accountable business practices, I would like to demonstrate the ways in which capital can be channeled efficiently to make philanthropy the guiding principal for success not simply the possibility.
These aforementioned career ambitions are reflected in my pageant platform as I hope to encourage women of all ages to take risks in business, increase their financial literacy while providing themselves with the opportunity to give back this success in their own communities. Breaking ceilings in the workplace and exceeding expectations takes confidence and a consistent work ethic that can be fostered through mentorship and guided encouragement. Because sometimes you just need to hear that the possibilities are endless from another woman going in the direction you’re headed.
What would be your “dream job” in life?
My dream job would be my current job, taken to a larger scale. Ideally, I would like to be a serial entrepreneur with a series of self-sustaining businesses that continue to permit me to travel freely, volunteer consistently, while allowing me to share my lifestyle with my family. Furthermore, being able to pursue international modeling alongside these business ventures would be the well-rounded dream.
Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.
As a product of an arranged marriage my childhood was as tumultuous as the archaic union. I was raised in the small city of New Westminster by a mother who worked consistently hard to ensure every opportunity for her three children while navigating an exceptionally difficult marriage to a stranger. My siblings and I attended French immersion schools while playing on numerous sports teams; a way for many immigrants to feel a sense of community through their Canadian born children while they work tirelessly to afford this assimilated lifestyle. Thus, as education was of paramount importance to my mother, I made it of paramount importance for myself and I set the bar high; learning the significance of dedication and the power of being an educated woman.
List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had.
One of the most unusual yet interesting jobs I have had was working in a factory that specialized in the production of “Jamaican Patties” the summer before starting university. This job was unusual as I worked completely alone in an industrial kitchen, performing physically demanding tasks in high temperatures without any training or breaks. Yet I have never been more proud of myself for committing to a job and seeing it through regardless of the testing circumstances.
List any volunteering you have done.
- School District No.40 Carnivals and sports days
- Century House Senior Support
- Fundraising for The Heart & Stroke Foundation
- Cops for Cancer
- Free The Children
- The Covenant House
- Children of the Street Society
- Aunt Leah’s Place
- Vancouver Food Bank
- Walk for Juvenile Diabetes
- Miracle Weekend Telethons- Telus
- Ronald McDonald House
- Telus Days of Giving
- The Nature Conservancy
- Independent installation of water-well: Timbavati Reserve local community
What is your most unusual talent?
The most unusual talent I have is creating skincare products in my kitchen; a combination of my passion for cooking and beauty. It’s unusual for a litany of reasons but most specifically for the liberties taken in ingredient selection. I’ve successfully found the ratio of turmeric powder to baby diaper rash cream one needs to eradicate a fussy blemish.
Where is the most interesting place you have been to?
The Timbavati Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit, South Africa. This trip marked a truly memorable experience that I am grateful to have observed at such a young age. I was fortunate to participate in guided game rides on a six- day safari. Through this experience, I met individuals from each continent working in a variety of disciplines. However, it was the relationship that I built with our tracker, Himet, a local from the community adjacent to the reserve lands we were staying on, that I truly gained perspective on just how privileged I am. His community was without running water and the family home he worked so conscientiously to build had yet to gain a roof with storm season approaching. Through quick decision making, my friend and I provided the home with a roof, the community with a sustainable water source and the school with supplies. This is what I mean when I say please leave more behind than what you take with you when travelling to another’s home.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years?
I hope to be leading a successful, socially conscious, international growth consulting agency. Through my business endeavors I hope to gain the necessary experience to be able to further diversify my personal investment portfolio. In turn, I’m hopeful these investments will enable me to add to my assets in hopes of managing a real estate empire. With the passive income provided through this rental property model I hope to establish a philanthropic foundation in my family name.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?
I would like to thank the Miss Universe Canada Pageant for this incredible opportunity, my family, friends and sponsors for their constant support and God for guiding me on this exciting journey.