Showing posts with label leadership. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leadership. Show all posts

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)

MIND your business

If you have any online profiles under assumed names, pseudonyms, professional ID, identity, personal name, you are responsible for the impression that it gives.  

I certainly have many facets to my personality, as do most of us.  Therefore, I write prolifically now on different topics that I am fond of or digging for more knowledge on, wanting to express myself on.  Here, on optioneerJM, my first blog, I've dappled in social media along with my tips on sales and leadership examples.  I had someone [that is not an online person or personality, just a very good lady] read my MEANDERINGSabout blog first [ weird part is she said she found it via LINKED IN which is connected to optioneerJM].  Her words of advice seemed to indicate that I was a bit of a crackpot.  Now, she is an esteemed professional, not someone whom would be called a friend.  

That sucked.  I was a little bummed out about it to be honest.  Now, after four days off work, spending the better part of the day at Kananaskis Park, just 45 minutes from Calgary, after a hearty breakfast by 9:30am at The Chuckwagon Restaurant [ featured in "You gotta eat here" realized once we were there!].  I went with my beautiful, talented daughter whom I shall not name and whom I am ABSOLUTELY forbidden to show photos of ANYWHERE.  It's this promise that I have such a hard time keeping, but I'm doing pretty well, no slip ups accounted for [ just confirmed spies of her's that keep on eye on me on all the social networks that she has since BLOCKED me EVERYWHERE.

A Virginia G. "Brain Fart"
Virginia was the most polished, professional businesswoman I've ever worked for.  That would include my first sales manager and my former colleague who is now the CEO of a very favorite institution.  Out of all the questions ever posed to me, she was the "Barbara Walters" of my life.  She could ask a question in such a way that you could never not answer, but want to answer in a very concise, articulate way.  Because she represented the same.  She had survived this extraordinary brain decease that very few survive.  The fallout was one eye askew.  It danced when she laughed but it peered right through you when she looked at you and asked you a question.  Now that IS an art!  Some of my best teachings and guidance came from Virginia.  She WAS the art behind the deal.  She made it masterfully simple.  Being able to ask a question that was concise and got to the heart of the matter.  She had boundaries, was relatively private [ if that is possible living and ongoing renovation of a historical heritage site in Edmonton, while centralized career revolved around Vancouver ].  Yet she had the uncanny ability to ask a question that was borderline ethical while said in a caring manner.  I may describe myself as inquisitive, flexible and willing to look at a number of situations but when my homework is done, I'm steadfast in my opinion formed by dedicated research and knowledge quest.  However, when Virginia G. asked a question, it was said with an authority that couldn't be missed, communicating non-vocally, that she expected an immediate answer.  Her bullshit meter on high alert.  You knew that, so you didn't even bother to try rolling any excuses out or avoid your own blame.  Accountability with an iron fist and a feather touch.  Thank you notes were always personally penned in her beautiful, flowing, script handwriting.  When you got one, you knew you had earned it.  Out of all the people I've known in my life, Virginia G. would be the last person one would think of where the term "brain fart" originated from.  That were she.  I use it often.  

It means I don't take myself too seriously even though I sound firm and attached to my pride at times, I'm considered too personable by my immediate family.  Where my daughter asked me at one point today:  "why are you so trusting with people and start talking with strangers?"

It would seem that she got the Virginia GIFT.  Me taking the question, absorbing it and turning it around to examine all the sides.  Wanting to come up with a perfectly logical succinct response.  What a great question.  I'll have to mull it over and give it some time to ponder, reflect and figure out the reason.  It's not just a matter of not being shy.  There's something more.  

The 7 year itch

Alas, it has been seven years
 since I began blogging.  It has been a learning curve of the creative, expressive kind.  That's okay since I'm a self-described "knowledge junkie".

I've had fans and cheerleaders, supporters and mentors to which I owe a lot.  They are patient with me.  Some read faithfully.  I know because although I rarely have comments, the readership spikes show on the stats.  

346,000 page views over 7 years
doesn't seem like that many when you consider the many blogs that exceed that in a day.  I will take what I can and I appreciate every single view counted.  I like to check what posts gain the most traction and it seems that when I blog about sales or business there is the most attraction.  You can see which ones are popular because I leverage the tools that Google's Blogspot affords me:  on sales.

It seems cool on the one hand that one of my blogs has gained a nice following.  Rewarding to see how others it resonates with.  In all cases, I write from experience to help others navigate the waters on sales and then some on social media.

In neither case do I propose that I am an expert.  For hardly can anyone acclaim expertise and shout it from the rooftop of posts, shares, retweets in order for it to become so.  Nor is my name noted on any list of experts on any one topic.  

If you look at the average person starting out on social media or blogging, it seems a daunting task to attract a few followers, never mind thousands.  I appreciate every single one.  Sincerely.  Heartfelt.

One reader or one page view is a celebration in itself.  If they return, then a happy dance should be done.  If I've helped one person think differently about sales, leadership or social media and improve results, then mission accomplished.

Depending on the perspective of who you are, you extrapolate opinion on the writer or the message.  Even if you don't have a compelling temptation to comment, if it crosses your sphere in a way that you want to share it, then that is a gift.

One of the things that I have done over the past seven years is continuously try new things, experiment, stretch my imagination or be inspired to share more.  

However, I don't have the luxury of writing or being a social media person online as a means of earning a living.  But it makes living worthwhile when what you write does help someone else gain a new perspective or try things a little differently.

I suppose on the one hand, I scaled back on writing about sales because I'm not actively working in the sales field.  Then I remind myself that social media is all about selling yourself,  every time, every click, every post.    Selling one's self is far more challenging than selling for an organization, a service, or a product.  Increased activity can smooth over gaps and improve results.  Unfortunately, I haven't always applied that theory to my own blogging.

I allowed myself to become scattered, or scatter what I write about under different umbrellas.  I've even gone so far as to create a website which hardly appeases me since it isn't the finished product I foresee nor the resource I've imagined.

Sometimes it is far more difficult to examine one's own short-comings than it is to opine about someone else.  In the world of social media, having an opinion is a common ground that is either shared or ignored.

I've supported some pretty cool ventures by those whom I've connected virtually with over the years.  I've cheered on some great initiatives by others that seem to springboard them to success.  Not because of me.  Perhaps a few ideas percolated after our interactions, or new adventures sprung from sprinkled ideas, conversations, reading.  I'm amazed and proud of some of the great things that have happened to some pretty amazing people.  Not because of me, that is for sure.  Yet by our association, I lent witness to their climb to successfully reaching a pinnacle of their own doing.

I do hope that some of it has rubbed off on me.  Learning from others who try new things or stay on track, on message, while trying different approaches.

I scaled back on writing about sales most likely because I couldn't define the road I was on or where I wanted it to take me.  I couldn't see myself being where I've sat in the audience myself before, listening to a key note address at a conference, sales celebration, or networking event.  

Ironically, I could probably do it.  After all, I spent 10 years learning the trade of public speaking, testing myself, stretching my comfort zone.  

Maybe I haven't believed in myself enough, even though on paper denoting awards and recognition, the proof has been there.  I've chalked it up to not being pretty enough, or young enough to take a step in that direction.

Maybe I've expected a golden glow of a halo to surround me in a way that would attract the right person or company who would see some gift or talent that could be maximized, nurtured or expanded.  

Certainly, many women, particularly, freeze at attracting too much attention or wonder if any attention is a good thing.   

Being a wife, mother doesn't always springboard someone to traveling around the world and creating an identity that compels others to invite you to speak, teach or train others, or even give advice to help others travel the road less traveled.  

I for one can tell you that nothing happens over night.  I can almost take a step back and objectively ponder some of the better habits I formed in order to do well in sales.

I can safely say that I got turned off creating any label to myself that glimpse what I see others projects.  I see people who never had to cold call, set up seminars and talks on cold calling.  

The definitions in sales are sometimes subjective, often ambiguous and selective by those adopting best practices or paying to hear or read what someone else professes to be the holy grail in magically being able to transform their lives by becoming a sales superstar.

From my standpoint, the ones who become the best sales keynote speakers, are the best at selling themselves, not necessarily at sales.  Sure, you have to have a story to tell that sells others to think that mere moments with them will shed light on bypassing any self-limiting dialogue with themselves to becoming so confident in the story telling and the charisma to tell a story, transcends the optics of the claims being made.

I've seen someone whom I recruited into Toastmasters become a well spoken conveyor of sales wisdom.  A sticky name or created catch-phrase claimed as a new, amazing way to catapult past so many others if they just follow their path.  That person is able to sell themselves, put action to vision that so many others cannot.

I've seen someone else who really was placed in a plum assignment in sales, not by pure sales stamina or savvy, but by shear personality, cuteness, booming laughter, or a number of many characteristics we were attracted to on the elementary recess playground or the cool high school crowd.  Not necessarily, were they that then, they clearly climbed from the chaos of learning to the maturity of believing in themselves.

I've had some pretty amazing supporters and mentors in my 30 some years of working.  I can name drop some recognized people with skillful talent.  I've ridden on their coat tails or participated on the sidelines to cheer them on.

Sadly, most people find a lot of different sponsors, supporters as they climb the ladder.  More often, they then shed the ones from the bottom rung.  Being one of the left behinds is sometimes hurtful, unless you're the one who put the distance there yourself, whether by actions or decision.

Belief in one's self is a hard thing to do.  Most people take a lot of knocks.  The very best have more than most, can dust themselves off, learn from it, and move on to the next step.

One step forward, two steps back
is not always a bad thing.  The distance in the step forward can usually amount to a greater achievement than the two steps back.

We learn from our mistakes
or our mistakes burn us.  Out.  Pulling one's self out of the ashes of disappointment is no easy feat.  

Humility and humbleness
do not go hand in hand with confidence in a society based on the thermometer of wealth or acclaim.  People tend to want to hitch a ride on the rising star.  They are quick to jump ship as they smell pending failure.   Others prefer to disassociate themselves with anyone that may hold them back or slow them down.

Often perceived success
outweighs value.   Value is determined by philosophy and beliefs, often aligned by economic fruits.  

What can you do for me
seems to be more important than what can I do for you.  If you can give your time, your support, your skills, does not protect you from falling to the wayside to others that can provide value by means of boosting an ego or forking over money.

There are a number of things I've learned from these seven years on social media and writing about sales that carry the identical message:  you can't cut corners, there are no shortcuts, and quality takes time.

In sales as in life
you usually have to depend on your own stamina, ability to stay motivated, focused, and inspire yourself with the right messages.  

Nobody else will dust you off
or kick you in the pants to keep you moving forward.  Who you surround yourself with communicates a lot about how you see yourself as a person.  

These days I see myself lucky to have some fairly amazing people around me.  Some are family, some are friends, while others are almost strangers if it weren't a connection in a virtual world.

Perseverance, belief, continuing on
is only something you, yourself, can do.  Others can help with their support, their words, their cheer.  People have a tendency to evacuate when they see a storm on the horizon.  No less when you stop believing in yourself.

People like to cheer on winners
and stay clear of defeatist attitudes.  Sometimes low morals, low morality, unfolds and doesn't seem to inhibit the message or discredit the messenger.  

Accountability resides in your own head space
with reminders close by on which road you travel.  I've chosen to mostly travel with integrity, honesty and consistency.

That is why I was able to sell and achieve results.  Not by snazzy language or schemes to move around the basics.  Yes, I still see lots of that going on, outside of my control.  I have to be thankful that at least I have learned enough to identify such trespasses.  It isn't for me to identify or cry out when corners are cut or untruths help others to go farther.

I should at least have the wisdom to know that those who get by on lies or dishonesty, eventually get caught on to or caught up with.  It is a short and quick path.  Not usually long serving or life long.

I will continue to write and continue to experiment.  I will endeavor to be honest and to help others without any credit on my contribution.  That becomes frustrating and usually unrealized.    Regardless, I will continue to be proud of the ones I've helped along the way, and ignore whether I'm thanked or not.  That is part of growing and growing up.  Being accountable for one's own actions over preference to being recognized as a positive conduit that others have learned from.  

Eventually, the right results will speak for themselves.  As in sales, I did find out.  By working hard and keeping a mirror close for my own self-examination, rather than allowing others to diffuse my abilities in order to make themselves be better known, better recognized or considered more successful.  

I have to believe in what I am capable of and not allow what others may have done to me, deviously or innocently, to try to knock me down.

Some bounce back stronger than others.  Others are knocked a few more times than most.  Maintaining a fine balance of optimism, convictions, ethics is a far steeper path to follow.  Yet it can be far more rewarding.

Your VIBE attracts your TRIBE in sales and social media

“Class is an aura of confidence that is being sure without being cocky. Class has nothing to do with money. Class never runs scared. It is self-discipline and self-knowledge. It's the sure-footedness that comes with having proved you can meet life. ” 
~ Ann Landers

However it may seem strange that I rarely have comments on my blogs, I am often invited to answer questions on QUORA (link below). 

 Sometimes I think about my answer, while other times I just let my mind go free and respond instinctively to what comes immediately to mind as in this case when I was invited to answer this question. 

Ironically, as well.  I spend the least time on InstaGRAM than anywhere else and yet it is the topic I seem to have grabbed the attention of some who value my opinion.  Thank you.  Happy to help.  Here goes:

Why do my Instagram followers keep dropping?

Hmmm, very curious question. My first immediate reaction was a question: “what could this person be posting if they are seeing their followers drop?” Without question, social media can sometimes seem fickle when it is really not. This question bodes a suggestion to examine what you are posting …. if you are only sharing your last meal, and you didn’t cook it or it’s half eaten, unappetizing-looking or just plain “gross”. Other considerations may be that others may find that you have constant posts that are self-serving or promotional :: aka “spam”. People tend to gravitate towards sincerity, ingenuity, originality, beauty and inspiration. That is only my opinion. However, I do believe strongly that your following is a reflection of what you are sending out.

Don’t despair. Being fickle can also mean you can reinvent yourself easily. I would advise you to decide what you want to be known for or identified with and setting out to do just that. Or, if you have a specific interest that is not career, family, friends or social oriented, this is a great way of gravitating towards that interest, sharing it, finding sources or resources on that topic and then share it … you can check for #hashtag popularity or observe what seemingly popular people are posting. If that seems to capture your interest, it could be good advice to follow them and observe them from a distance and see if you can pick up any great habits or even share that person’s content as a means to cast your own web to gather people who share the same vibe.

Caution: what may seem funny at 2 o’clock in the morning with your work buddies or friends may be more embarrassing at 2 o’clock the next afternoon. At your desk, avoiding eye contact with colleagues or worse if its a boss. Your online presence becomes your reputation. What doesn’t matter at 20, can be a nightmare at 40. So act your age if you must, but at least apply manners and a mom rule: if you can’t do it in front of your mother, or you risk being scolded by her, then it isn’t going to be appropriate for a wide, global audience. AND just because your mom likes the better parts of you, her opinion may be skewed …. be wary that others will like your stickmen as much as she does.

Be optimistic. There is a lot of great quotes, beautiful images, fantastic photography that are in style any time, any season. Be classy, be polite, be bold.

A cheater's paradise?

Policing employees' performance is one thing that most companies do well. However, being the corporate watchdog is quite a different conundrum. At what point do company code of ethics cross over into personal behavior at work. In some areas it is natural for organizations to provide guidelines for its employees behaviors at work, while quite a hotbed of varying opinions when it comes to what employees do on their own time.
I broached the subject when posting earlier on TheOptioneerJM on how whistle blowers are treated within organizations. 
What bothered me to the core is how an organization reacts to a whistle blower says a ton about their culture. Meaning, you can have policies, guidelines, codes of ethics and beyond, but they become meaningless when managers or employees take it a step too far.
In my example, with anonymity caveats all over the place, it appeared that an employee who blew the whistle on one manager's harassing behavior, to only end up being pegged a "trouble maker" by immediate management. Or being subject of bullying by colleagues, promoted, endorsed, supported, investigated, documented with a black mark on personal profile within a company and doomed career opportunities.
A safe haven?
I caught a short segment on Dr. OZ with Megyn Kelly earlier in the week and it resounded with me because of the train of thought I exuded by helping this individual get the story out. My indignity at the person's poor treatment by their company was what got my keys clicking and clacking.
To Megyn's question to anyone paying attention: is your company providing a safe haven for its employees?  When it comes to any form of harassment, it becomes a great deal more complicated when every form of bullying or social expression requires an encyclopedia or book og guidelines. But the question is direct and clear: how do you treat your employees? This is a loud commentary on how safe is your work environment for its employees?
Ethics and codes
I haven't been party to formulating a corporate code of conduct or ethical guide, I should add. However, I've certainly signed off many times in my career.  I opinionate and conclude that even the best intentions go haywire.
Beliefs and values
Most organizations are intricate in detail on how employees conduct themselves on site, off hours and online seem to be muddled. Yet the core responsibility, in my opinion, lies with a company providing a safe environment to which they owe employees who work for them.
The subject matters are varied and how companies react are the most telling by whether poor treatment, controversial subjects become viral social commentaries, opinions and sharing.
Fine lines merge
What happens when employees' behavior crosses between what they do while at work and what they do with their own private lives? It is becoming a challenge I'm sure, to determine when an employee's corporate responsibility stops and starts now that it has become easier to express oneself through social means, blogging and posting. What a mess?
Affairs, cheating, harassment
What is the difference? Companies do protect their employees to a great extent on sexual harassment. However, there are other areas that cross personal values and beliefs that seem to be grey. 
In the workplace, having a mean boss has been around for years. Think Scrooge's treatment of his dedicated long-term employee, Bob Cratchit. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
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Bob Cratchit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim as depicted in the 1870s by Fred Barnard
First appearanceA Christmas Carol 1843Created by Charles Dickens
Robert "Bob" Cratchit is a fictional character in the Charles Dickens novella A Christmas Carol. The abused, underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge, Cratchit has come to symbolize poor working conditions, especially long working hours.[1]
According to a comment by his wife, Cratchit works for 15 shillings a week at a rate of three pence ("thruppence") an hour for 60 hours per week. Until the decimalization of the British Pound in 1971, one shilling was twelve pence. Thus, fifteen shillings is 180 pence. It would take 60 hours to earn 180 at a rate of three pence per hour.[2] In terms of 2015 purchasing power, this would be approximately £63.00[3] or about $94 US per week.
Imagine the outcry if Cratchit were to find an empathetic media outlet to tell his story today: without a doubt, to me anyhow, it would create a storm of viral fuel, diagnosed, discussed, dissected and opinionated for sure. (Remember public outcry over an employee's challenge to her company CEO's treatment of her? On MEDIUM).
Yet, the bullying part of Scrooge's treatment of Cratchit is more accepted than most of us would be willing to admit.
Perhaps there IS a fine line between harassment and bullying after all. Remove "sexual" it becomes more normalized and less controversial today. Why is that? 
Work affairs and cheating 
Is an area that is vague and a cesspool that most companies stay far removed from. It is tempting to try to police employees conduct outside the work place and many do so with guidelines, policies and disciplinary measures when it comes to those who struggle with addiction, blast their boss or company in their private time through self-expression on social media.
That may be because the company's intent is to protect its reputation, brand and shareholder value, which can deteriorate the financial health of the organization.  Or most would demonstrate that they find it a risk.
But what about the company's responsibility for providing a safe working environment for its employees?  Definitely, there are growing best practices on Emergency Response, and even rehearsals in real time on a terrorist threat. That is a physical example of providing a safe workplace. But what about emotional well being?
Emotional safety
Most allow staff to honor their religious beliefs in most places, by allowing the wearing of turbans or hijab as demonstrative of their faith. That is, unless it is a police department or situation where policies adapt to interpretation of safety. 
For instance, in Canada, there have been stories where RCMP were originally prevented from wearing a turban instead of the traditional uniform that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are identified by. Another instance, was when then Prime Minister of Canada became embroiled in controversy when he tried to mandate that women remove their hijab during Canadian citizenship swearing in ceremonies.
For every seed of controversy remains a grain of belief in these scenarios.
So how many religions, ethical guidelines, or values say it is okay to cheat on your spouse? We know there are bigamy societies that allow it (reference this week's story on young Canadian girls being migrated to the US to become young brides).
Yet, if you ask most reasonable people, who hold themselves accountable for their own behavior, place the blame on their own shoulders if they were to lapse to poor judgement, that agree that cheating on your spouse is simply not okay.
Unless you've been the victim of such affairs, it is difficult to relate to the destruction that it can cause. Yet on the balance beam of right and wrong, it leans far over to the wrong. Very few people would agree that it is permissible and allowed under the sanctimony of marriage vows. And that is not a religious statement. It is a value statement.
Both my now husband and myself were subjects of spouses who cheated on us with someone they work with. We both would agree how emotionally destructive that it was to all involved.  In both situations, it was handled differently by the employers where the matter happened.
Gender is not specific here. It is caused and can happen to either gender of spouse: husband or wife. Yet the downward spiral that it causes does spill over to the work environment, destroys families, splits apart children who, if given the choice, would not have to be forced to make a choice between either parent. 
It can cause a tailspin of gossip and distract a great many people. Yet it is something that few companies want to approach: should cheaters at work get an automatic pass? But what about creating a safe, value-based, environment for work?
I suppose it won't be forced into discussion until a strong journalist, with quality beliefs and convictions that the behavior is wrong, writes or talks about it on the media. 
Granted, we are not stuck in the 50s where home means mom stays at home to make the bacon while dad goes to work to bring home the bacon. The roles have blurred and merged. 
I just don't believe that allowing an atmosphere of cheating should be continued. Like Megyn said so well: it is your company's responsibility to provide you with an encouraging atmosphere (bully and harassment free) and value driven culture (where cheating is added to the behavior that is not condoned or ignored).  But, most of all, safe.
What do you think? 
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ABOUT THE HIJAB (Source: Arabs in America)

Women > Veiling > What is the Hijab and Why do Women Wear it?

Hijab is referred to by various names, some of the most common of which are a veil or a headscarf. Most Muslims who wear the covering call it a hijab (حجاب), an Arabic word meaning “cover.” However, there are various forms of hijab that are referred to by different names. While hijab is commonly associated with women, Muslim men also sometimes wear a head covering as a means of showing modesty. Additionally, Christian and Jewish women in some traditions wear a headscarf as a cultural practice or commitment to modesty or piety.
Find out more about the History of the Hijab.

What are the various kind of hijab?

Image by Kalashe
Hijab ( حجاب): The first type of hijab that is most commonly worn by women in the West is a square scarf that covers the head and neck, but leaves the face clear. This form of hijab is most commonly referred to as hijab.
Shayla: The shayla is a long, rectangular scarf that is wrapped loosely around the head and tucked or pinned at the shoulders. Like the hijab and al-amira, this form of hijab covers the head but often leaves the neck and face clear.
Khimar ( خمار): The khimar is a long, cape-like scarf that is wrapped around the head and hangs to the middle of the back. This type of hijab covers the head, neck, and shoulders, but leaves the face clear.
Chador ( تشادر): The chador is a long cloak that covers a woman’s entire body. Like the khimar, the chador wraps around the head, but instead of hanging just to the middle of back, the chador drapes to a woman’s feet.
Niqāb ( نقاب): The niqab is a face-covering that covers the mouth and nose, but leaves the eyes clear. It is worn with an accompanying khimar or other form of head scarf.
Burqa ( برقع ): The burqa covers the entire face and body, leaving a small mesh screen through which the woman can see through.

Why do women wear hijab?

Muslim women choose to wear the hijab or other coverings for a variety of reasons. Some women wear the hijab because they believe that God has instructed women to wear it as a means of fulfilling His commandment for modesty. For these women, wearing hijab is a personal choice that is made after puberty and is intended to reflect one’s personal devotion to God. In many cases, the wearing of a headscarf is often accompanied by the wearing of loose-fitting, non-revealing clothing, also referred to as hijab.
While some Muslim women do not perceive the hijab to be obligatory to their faith, other Muslim women wear the hijab as a means of visibly expressing their Muslim identity (Haddad, et al, 2006). In the United States, particularly since 9/11, the hijab is perceived to be synonymous with Islam. Some Muslim women choose to appropriate this stereotype and wear the hijab to declare their Islamic identity and provide witness of their faith. Unfortunately this association has also occasionally resulted in the violent assaults of Muslim women wearing hijab.
While most Muslim women wear the hijab for religious reasons, there are other Arab or Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab as an expression of their cultural identity. By wearing the hijab, Muslim women hope to communicate their political and social alliance with their country of origin and challenge the prejudice of Western discourses towards the Arabic-speaking world (Zayzafoon, 2005). In many cases, the wearing of the hijab is also used to challenge Western feminist discourses which present hijab-wearing women as oppressed or silenced.
PLEASE NOTE: The writer of this article is neither naming nor alluding to the guilt of any particular organization, company or corporation. It is solely an opinion and discussion launched by writing.  It is not an endorsement of any traits or expression of acceptance about the subject reflected upon herein.