BY INVITATION: A conversation with Dr. Marie Delorme, recipient of The Order of Canada

The Order of Canada medal SOURCE (Canadian

I like to think I pay attention to what goes on around me online.  I'm tuned in on most social media channels, with Linked In being one of my go to's.  One of the features I like the most is when one of my network contacts is in the news.  I was thrilled to discover this wonderful nugget of accomplishment on my timeline that Dr. Marie Delorme was recognized as the recipient of The Order of Canada - see sidebar.

As I do most often, I re-posted this distinguished award on my feed and sent a personalized congratulations message to Dr. Delorme.  She responded quickly, humbly and graciously.

Marie has been called an entrepreneur, a business leader, a Metis woman, an Indigenous person, a Ph.D. doctorate, a creative leader.  Now she can add Order of Canada recipient to her impressive bio.

I asked Dr. Delorme for permission to write a blog in the form of asking a bunch of questions for her to answer.   What unraveled was a glimpse of a magnificent woman who gives more of her self than most business leaders do in a lifetime.  

Dr. Marie Delorme

Who do you want to be identified as?  (i.e. Mother, wife, daughter, sister, CEO, Indigenous woman, woman, feminist, business person, Calgarian, Canadian. 
I am an entrepreneur, mother, feminist, a Métis woman originally from Manitoba but a Calgarian for the past 32 years.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
My brother and I grew up in a farming community. A special treat was buying comic books for 10 cents at the little store a mile down the road. My brother taught me to read them before I went into grade one. I wanted to be a DC character like Superman, Supergirl, or Wonder Woman.

Besides "everything will be okay" what would you tell your 12 year old self?
The next 10 years mark a journey that will be the hardest you will navigate in your life. Know that you have the strength and endurance to see it through and wonderful adventures are coming your way. Tough times do not last, but tough people do.  

Who or what has been your greatest influence?  Event or Person? 
Throughout my life, many people have formed my journey. Some, like my grade 10 teacher, introduced a love of literature; my brother had the patience to teach me to drive as a teenager; my son gave me the unique experience of being a mother and now a business partner; an Indigenous woman elder in Winnipeg is in her 80s and is a role model for love, patience, and inner beauty; my best friend for the past 48 years has a wonderful family who gave me a sense of belonging and love in my teen years. And, of course, there are the people I have never met but who were role models and influencers. They are musicians, writers, actors, and poets. And the everyday people who accomplish great things; who may briefly make the news; but who contribute to society in meaningful ways. All of these people and many, many more have influenced me. I had the wonderful opportunity to come of age in the 60s and 70s -- a time that produced great social change -- The American Indian Movement, The Women’s Liberation Movement, The Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement all influenced my thinking and values. And, of course, the very best music ever came out of that era!

What did your 80 y/o mentor have to say about this award? 
She sent a lovely email message, that included the phrase “yabba dabba do”!!!

Do you have a Metis women role model?  Woman role model?
Mae Louise Campbell from Manitoba who embodies a healing spirit and has dedicated her life to the knowledge that when women fully assume their rightful place as leaders, the world will find healing and peace.

Have you ever seen an ancestry/DNA result from your heritage?
 I know both sides of my lineage. On my father’s side back to the 1600s and over a century back on my mother’s side. or DNA analysis would not add to that knowledge.

What is your connection to non-Ingenious persons? 
As Jane Elliott would say “there is only one race…the human race”

Before The Order of Canada, what were you most proud of?
Being the mother of an accomplished, self-actualized, strong, and compassionate man who has been my business mentor and my friend; and having the opportunity to play a small role in who he is today.

What has changed the most since you won the prestigious award? 
The wonderful connections with friend and colleagues over the past week, some whom I haven’t seen for decades! It has truly been a blessing to hear from so many special people.

Did you struggle in school or were you on the honor role?
 Although they were not formally educated, my parents always stressed the importance of education. Academic achievement was a given for my brother and me.

When you sought your education, went on your knowledge quest, what was most important for your to discover?
 A broader understanding and perspective of the world.

What was your PhD about?
It was an interdisciplinary PhD (Anthropology, Sociology, Business) focused on intercultural leadership in the context of economic development.

Do you mentor others?  In the community? Through associations via business?
Mentorship is an important part of giving back, or paying forward. The first formal mentoring role was through an Indigenous internship program in the telecommunications industry over 2 decades ago. For the past 8 years I have been engaged as a mentor in the Coady International Institute’s Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program.

What is the least likely thing for people to know about you?  Secret vice?
I thoroughly enjoy being with people, but regeneration is a solitary endeavor. I have been to many countries and often choose to travel alone. I like the adventure, the freedom, and the unique opportunity to meet people in circumstances and places that would not have otherwise manifested. The result is a litany of great stories and friendships around the world.

What is your solitary pursuit?  Reading memoirs, bios, thrillers, social media?  Hitting golf balls on the driving range? Watching TV or Movies?
Reading, riding my bicycle, catching up on some of the series that build up on my pvr.

Family, married, children, pets, community, friends?  (or all of the above) .... What keeps you balanced? 
Catching up with friends and loved ones across the country. I often try to fit in a visit over a bite to eat, tea, or a glass of wine when I am on the road. Almost 20 years ago my son bought me golf clubs and encouraged me to take lessons. Best move ever. Catching up with friends over a game of golf is one of the most rewarding, pleasant, and spiritual experiences. And if you really want to get to know someone, just spend 4 hours on the course with them, and you will learn everything you know just by observing how they deal with joy, disappointment, and stress!

What is your handicap in golf?  Have you taken lessons or relied on learning as your go?
  I can fairly consistently shoot in the low to mid 90s with the occasional game in the 80s. Of course, there is the inevitable “blow up” game where it all falls apart. It can be a humbling sport. I once read that golf is the perfect game because it can never be mastered.

Does your best game in golf mimic your best life lesson or business lesson?
 My best game was played on 3 hours sleep when my flight was delayed and I was not able to make alternate arrangements with the group. I asked one of the foursome to keep my score as I was fatigued. I shot an 81 … likely because I just wanted to get home to sleep! I have only repeated that once since. But I did get a hole in one at a tournament several years ago!

I noticed you checked your Linked In profile via mobile .... is that how you stay connected online most? (Mobility or Email or Social Media in order of usage/preference) 
I love technology. My iPad and iPhone are critical to organizing my business and personal life, and for keeping in touch with friends and colleagues. I only use social media for business linkages. I never work on planes. It is downtime. My iPad is loaded with books, movies, and tv shows specifically for passing time when travelling.

If you had to choose only one digital device, leaving all others behind, which one would it be?
 My iPhone.

What is your "go to" social media site?  

Do you think you will write a book?  If so, what will it be about? 
Doesn’t everyone have a book they want to write? Perhaps one day.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
I spend a lot of time on airplanes and am forever baffled by the lack of etiquette displayed by some travelers. Perhaps that is the book, as I have a list on my iPad of over four dozen instances I have observed. Some examples are hard to believe if they were not experienced first hand.

I'd love to read that book on travel etiquette -- what is the most toxic that make other passengers uncomfortable?
 Any kind of personal grooming, not tidying the washroom after use, trying to fit an oversized piece of luggage into the bin thus delaying boarding, playing music or a video without using earphones. The most shocking was the guy next to me in the airline lounge who stripped down to his waist and changed clothes! Yikes…so many examples

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?  ... who is your favorite musical artist?
The Rolling Stones always. And specifically, Keith Richards, the soul of the band. His memoir “Life” is a must read. He said “About myself I have no great illusions. I know what I am. I know what I’m good at and what I am not. I’m always hoping to surprise myself. But I do have a love of music and communication. That is the best I can do. And I can raise a good family too.”

What is your favorite movie?
 I don’t have a favorite, but am drawn to sci-fi and dramas. I rarely watch anything twice.

What is your favorite song?
 Too many to list, but a few that come to mind include: “Fields of Gold” written by Sting and performed by Eva Cassidy; Keith Richards “You Got the Silver” and “Trouble”; “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from the third act of the opera Nabucco.

With this award, what has it allowed you to do that otherwise may not have presented itself?
Ask me in a few months…it has only been a week!

Did you watch the Golden Globe Awards? 

What was your personal reaction to the solidarity among so many diverse women with a common message?
 The voices of the thousands of strong women and men are collectively inspiring change that is so long overdue. This is the catalyst for a social movement that must impact every workplace and channel the outrage into legal, behavioral, and organizational transformation.

How has this award impacted your business?  Increased inquiries, increased orders, increased requests to connect?
Ask me in the future, it has only been a week!

Many who achieve greatness turn around and forage into public life.  Would you ever consider going into public service (aka politics)?
No. Never. I have great admiration for people who run for public office. Choosing that path takes a special kind of courage. It is so important that organizations like Equal Voice are supported; they are dedicated to electing more women to every level of political office in our country.  

In today's competitive environment, what do you think is the biggest challenge? 
The world in 2018, politically and economically, is uncertain and precarious. However, voices that have been silenced for too long are being heard. Voices from the “Me Too” movement, the MMIW Inquiry, and human trafficking. These are the catalysts for a societal sea of change.

What is your biggest challenge you face for 2018?
Finding the time to do everything I want to do, to not waste a minute, and to consistently shoot in the 80s in golf!

Predictions for 2018?  
I am not that prescient or confident that I can provide sage advice based on a prediction. Rather I believe in taking informed risks, leaving room for serendipity, and a little bit of luck. My brother often uses that saying: “funny thing about luck…the harder I work, the luckier I get”   

In the next five years I would like to see … happen? 
Forty years ago, we were talking about equality, love, diversity, respect, and peace. In so many ways we have moved forward; and in so many ways we have not progressed at all. The songs of protest and the songs of love of that era are as relevant today as they were then. The solutions do not lie in anger and hatred but in redefining the smallest of day-to-day actions and the largest of political and economic actions to achieve societal solutions. 

What do you want to be remembered for?
Many years ago, when I was in my 20s and was promoted into my first management role, a woman who was retiring imparted some sage advice. She said “There are very few women in these positions and you will be watched closely. But remember that at the end of the day, and that day comes for all of us, no one will remember your accomplishments. They will only remember how you made them feel in your presence”. Words to live by.


Dr. Marie Delorme is CEO of The Imagination Group of Companies. She chairs the Chiniki Trico Board, is past chair of the RCMP Foundation Board, and serves on the River Cree Enterprises Board, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, and The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking. She is also an adviser for the Coady International Institute, the Canadian Police College, Pathways to Education, and Save the Children Canada.

Dr. Delorme is a Member of the Order of Canada. She has received the Indspire Award in Business and Commerce; and was named as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Other awards include: the University of Calgary Dr. Douglas Cardinal Award; Alberta Chamber of Commerce Business Award of Distinction; Calgary Chamber of Commerce Salute to Excellence Award, and Métis Nation Entrepreneurial Leadership Award.

Dr. Delorme holds a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Business Administration from Queen's University, and PhD from the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on inter-cultural leadership.

The Imagination Group is an Indigenous corporation comprised of four organizations. Imagination, The Aboriginal Gifting Company is a nationally recognized brand in the promotional products and gifting industry; and is also a manufacturer of ceremonial tobacco. For 17 years Imagination has provided brand management services to industry, governments, and indigenous groups. Imagination Franchising and Authentically Aboriginal are complementary organizations, the latter being a not-for-profit entity. Imagination Consulting specializes in guiding organizations to operate more efficiently and profitably; focusing on value creation and offering clients a unique understanding of the spectrum of challenges that business leaders face – from long range planning to critical day-to-day business issues. The Imagination Group engages with clients in a thorough analysis of business operations and issues and the development of plans to address gaps and implement improvements. The Imagination Group consulting practice brings over 40 years of specialized business experience to our clients.


To celebrate Dr. Delorme's accomplishment, donations may be extended to her charities of choice:



(photo credit-Phillip Chin)

Coasting out of 2017 to POP on to the scene with the greatest vibe for 2018: TIP:"Get a charge out of numbers" .... at any capacity: whether you are an entrepreneur, CEO, domestic goddess (aka me) sales pro or artist

Numbers are the new rock stars
By Jeannette Marshall
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I don't know about you, but 2017 has been an exhausting, emotionally especially, year.  That doesn't necessarily mean it is bad because I am a "half cup full" kinda person.  I am getting more attuned that I have conflict:  I either I am really outgoing, enthusiastic and personable or MOODY.  Those are two very different characteristics or moods.

I've held back a lot in so many ways.  Yet, for a very few, they may consider me an annoyance and nuisance.  I've exuded quality for the most part:  combating all the negativity we face, both online and off.  The main language in the art of communicating online is not only as some of the following:

  • Brand
  • Name Value (i.e. Brad Pitt or George Clooney or Gates vs. Job, as in Apple)
  • Is it a synonym with something else or is it one name only ?
  • Numbers (Followers vs. click)
  • Reputation Building, Reputation Maintenance, or Community awareness
  • NonProfit benefit organizations usually like United Way, Not-for-Profit services
  • Brand ambassadorship:  by the masses, percentages in public opinion, promotional, advertorial, paid brand ambassadors, contest or events
  • Behind the scenes IRL (in real life) there are deal makers, process shakers, innovators, disruptive (spell check can't even find "desrupter"), financiers, investors, shareholders, employees, vendors, clients, executives, agencies, charities
  • There is a lot going on:  you can start off with the intent to JUST check your email:  sitting there is a notification from one of your groups (aka subscriptions and social profiles) that takes you on a tidal wave of information, more clicks
  • Aesthetic value:  images, art, photography, selfies all dominate the visual spectrum bombarding one's computer screen.  The underbelly well amerced in creating outlet for the evil side of civilization.
  • Decoding our preferences.  More and more we are clicking on things that seem less and less apparently that it was slid in front of you by the forces of mighty data chunkers (another form of numbers enthusiasts that cover innovation, technology, applications, mobility, developmental, product managers and project managers).

If predictions for 2018 would be crystal clear  content being pushed out to us on so many aspects of our lives, we're so used to it, it doesn't affront only a small minority that make a conscious choice of not going on a computer, or if they do, only as a tool, utility mechanism for us to perform a task far more rapidly and conveniently that saves HUGE amount of times, from a few examples:

  • IofT = Internet of Things
  • required learning
  • thinking up
  • responding
  • comments
  • social media
  • communication
  • telecommunications
  • cellular/mobility/mobile
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Articulate Internet * (created by me as a new noun or name for designing targeted internet traffic campaigns based on desired or required behaviors, education, morals, values, economic station, citizenship, religion, gender, bias, stereotypes, percentages)

We're in such a hurry, we are quick to abbreviate or create synonyms with mere acronyms (meaning for example IBM is really International Business Machines while Apple is exactly that, nothing shortened or cutesy-upped).

We can all band together and rejoice, with the joint applause by everyone, the words CLOUD and DATA relegate to the back seat as everyone's preoccupation is on the what is considered a threat or the next disrupters.

is going to be the brand descriptive identifying, of which only a very few attain membership to.  They too, will be the next big Rock Stars by the end of 2018.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas
and a prosperous, healthy and loving year for 2018,


Jeannette Marshall

Habit, ritual or superstition: what belongs in a sales attitude?

The following question was answered on Quora, that I considered worthy of posting on a sales-oriented blog:

Hi Harsh - thanks for your invitation to answer this question.
Firstly, I can say that I may have cracked my knuckles once or twice, but not enough to consider it a habit, never mind a superstition.
I can’t say that I have any, really. BUT what I can share with you is that there are certainly some effective habits or rituals I undertake before attending a client’s to confirm a renewal or new project or a new client signing or commitment to move the business relationship forward. [ That reminds me of a closing statement I learned to ask to check for satisfaction, willingness to move forward: “have I addressed all of your questions, or is there anything else that would prevent us from moving forward by signing this document today? ]
I would say there are a few quick tips I can share:
  • Be prepared: know who you are seeing, do your research by understanding what they sell, what they offer, who they offer it to, who they compete against and who they buy from and why. Write a list of a few good question on the notepad you will be taking along to the meeting (don’t be tempted to take notes on a device, mobile, tablet, or laptop: people are accustomed to seeing others take notes; more find it rude when you appear distracted simply by thumbing or clicking on keys to write the notes).
  • Record of the meeting would hopefully have already been entered in your Outlook or Calendar with reminder set days hence to prepare, look up any information gaps;
  • To form good habits with data (aka information and customer intelligence), record the pending meeting on this client’s file BEFORE or immediately after scheduling the call. That would be a CRM system - or customer relationship bible. Including any valid notes, including any proposals linked to the CRM client file, record any emails leading up to the event. The intention here is to grow your sales … right?
  • Have the right attitude: be convinced yourself some identifiable flags that hinted that this customer may have a timely need for your product or service. Based on your familiarity with the client (aka monitoring and following your top 10 and its brand on as many avenues as possible: whether social media, traditional media or trade publications, online and printed forms the least favorable choice.
  • I power through my power point presentation and have a proposal or contract prepared to take with me when I go in: customers or prospects are impressed by your preparation. They imagine: if he/she puts this much effort into winning my business, I would imagine even a half -attempt to keeping it, would still be better than I currently have or this problem or issue that needs solving.
  • React swiftly to inquiries. As both a sales professional and a buyer, I can recall so many times being the first to respond in a polished, professional manner does put you in the place of the one to beat.
  • Do what you promise. Most people who buy don’t trust sales people. Change their perception on that (to the delight of all other sales types I’m sure) and show them that you don’t offer anything without the firm possibility that you can deliver (without compromising your team’s ability to produce/back up those commitments). You will lead in sales in the ability for others to trust you. They will begin to ask you questions on what seems to be unrelated issues that can evolve into unknown opportunities.
  • Call ahead to leave a message to state that you are on your way and will be there within 30 minutes (because you know from where you are to where they are, parking and reception calling to say that you’re here, and they will note that you are on time, no more than 10 minutes early). Review your notes and have an idea of what you are going to say, show and ask during the meeting. Decide a few symptoms you may want to look for that indicates a willingness to move forward even if there is no commitment or signature.
  • Don’t waste your time chasing the impossible. Don’t give up too early either. Least of all, don’t give up too easily. You can’t know that the person you were meeting with has been plagued with the very issue your product or service will solve. If you have good investigative skills, you may know about it more than they do because you have been following them (their company … please not them personally, they may think you are stalking then … unless it is mutually agreed to i.e. exchange Facebook).
  • Be hesitant with trying to be a buddy too soon: a golf game invitation when they have strict purchasing policies which disallows golf games, or may just charity tournaments. In fact, taking them as a guest to a charity golf tournament IS the best way to get a customer or prospect on the golf links. Be respectful of anyone else who may attend that does not golf. Don’t leap to invite them as a friend on Facebook, it is more appropriate to do so on Linked In so that you can do more recognizance on the individual’s background, community involvements, for rapport building conversations. Again, if you reach out to them and connect on LINKED IN, don’t try to sell them anything in those small messages. If you do, you can expect to be delegated to annoying.
  • When I know I’ve done most of what I’ve just listed and I’m on my way to my meeting, I will often put in a rock classic song or channel on my car radio so that I get that boost and charge from the energy absorbed, ready to bring it on because you know you did your homework and you prepared.