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Heather Reisman: A Timeline of Reinvention



Her name is easily recognizable by the Canadian public from her popular “Heather’s Picks.” To the business world, Heather Reisman, Chair and CEO of Indigo Books, is not just the face of the company’s reading shortlists—she’s revolutionized the country’s bookselling industry. Heather has worked diligently and strategically, constantly evolving her entrepreneurial career—and her business—to ensure success. We’ve mapped out 45 years of her most impressive milestones.


1970: leaves her starter career as a social worker to learn the ropes as a management consultant.

1979: launches her first entrepreneurial venture, as co-founder of Paradigm Consulting, a pioneering strategy & change management firm.

1982: marries Gerry Schwartz and moves from Montreal to Toronto.

1995: tests out a new market as founder of Now! Foods, selling gourmet soups to grocery stores.

1996: sees an opportunity in the Canadian bookselling market, and becomes founder of Indigo.

1997: Indigo opens its first store in Burlington, Ontario.

2001: takes over her incumbent competitor, Chapters.

2006: receives her first Honorary Doctorate from Ryerson University.

2009: founds Kobo as a startup division inside Indigo (later to be spun out into a global contender in eReading).

2010: introduces the Kobo to Indigo stores across Canada.

2011: sells Kobo to Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten for $315 million, netting Indigo a $165 million gain on their investment.

2012: appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada.

2013: receives another Honorary Degree—her fourth—from St. Francis Xavier University.

2014: co-executive produces the documentary “Fed-Up”, focusing on the role that the processed food industry is playing in the worldwide obesity crisis.

May 2015: becomes the first woman to be inducted into the Canadian business hall of fame.

December 2015: takes the stage at our Women of Influence Luncheon event, “Selling Joy and the Strategy of Reinvention” in Toronto.


A version of this appears in print in our Fall 2015 Women of Influence Magazine, Page 19.