2024 Women of the Year Awards: Rising stars – Winner Auroara Leigh

Auroara Leigh, owner of Simply Sacred Solutions, is a winner of the Rising stars category of the 2024 Women of the Year Awards


Auroara Leigh
Owner, Simply Sacred Solutions

Auroara Leigh was raised on a hunting and fishing lodge on the outskirts of Fort St. James. “By the time I was seven, I had a rifle and I would hunt and drive boats and fish. It was really a special place to be,” she recalls.

But when she first moved into the adjacent town, she couldn’t understand the hardship around her: addictions, suicide, conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, violence.

What helped, she says, was a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Indigenous studies from UBCO, where she focused on health studies, psychology and cultural and medical anthropology. But there was a clear dissonance between what she learned in class and what she saw in the real world.

“There’s so much knowledge in the scholarly world, so my burning question after my undergrad—which is why I conceived Simply Sacred Solutions—was: Why is that knowledge not becoming part of solutions woven into communities? Why are people still suffering?”

After graduating in 2017, Leigh completed a master’s of education in adult learning and global change from UBC Vancouver with a focus on creating safe spaces. She built her consulting business, Simply Sacred Solutions, in tandem and officially launched it in 2019. Her first contract was consulting on forest product company Canfor’s corporate-wide leadership training on the social determinants of health and barriers for Indigenous employees.

As a wellness anthropologist, Leigh now runs a podcast through her company and offers keynote speaking as well as workshop and program design and facilitation. She has worked on trauma healing in rural communities and produced an album of psycho-educational songs called Feel It to Heal It. Revenue, she adds, has grown 300 percent since the company earned $25,000 in 2020.

“So many times, people in ­academia, they end up just being scholars to one another and they stay in dialogue to one another,” says Leigh. “But it needs to get to the ground level.”