A conversation with Influence Mentoring founder, Colby Delorme


Colby Delorme, one of the founders of Influence Mentoring, sat down for a Q&A about his life story. 

Tell us about your story and its deep roots in mentorship

Everything I’ve built has been rooted in creativity. I love to build, to inspire, to mentor. That is at the foundation of Influence Mentoring. 

Was there a key turning point in your career?

It was like the day we found out Santa wasn’t real. While I’m governed by fairness, I had just now realized it didn’t matter if you treated people fairly or you delivered on your word; that didn’t necessarily mean that you were going to be treated fairly or compensated for fulfilling your part. I had not been paid for a project on purpose. 

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 18 years old. The first seven or eight years were really fueled by my passion for creating and building. It was a physical exercise of creating something and it wasn’t until later in life that I realized those skills I had honed were transferable. I could take what I had learned and apply that creativity to anything. 

But I ran into a tough stretch. I lost money because I hadn’t prepared myself properly for potential issues. I ran into customers who didn’t pay their bills. I lost my credit. I lacked experience and the business acumen needed and I fell into a depression. 

A few months later, I started dragging myself out of the feeling of failure that had enveloped me. I started working out in the mornings and in the afternoons, I helped Dr. Marie Delorme (my mother) with her company, Imagination Cards. I started to get an understanding that maybe I could do something different. 

This was my turning point. 

Who was your first mentor?

My mother had been mentoring me in life and how to be a good person. But it was her brother — Uncle Archie — who was the one who showed me how to do many things. The closest to a father figure for me, he would answer any question I had. I worked with him when I was 14 years old; he taught me electrical work and construction and would go on to support me in developing many skills through the years. 

Together, Archie and my mother were truly the living embodiment of a Métis person. They were really active participants in my life, showing me our way of being. As Métis people, we are considered the forgotten people. The people who lived in the margins, literally and figuratively. We have always been a people that has to bridge two worlds, find unique solutions to problems, and create opportunity where there was none. I am forever grateful for my history and teachings.

What’s your favourite part of Influence Mentoring?

That we’re working for the Indigenous community; that we are serving them. Think about it in the same lens as raising children. I often hear from parents: “I’m privileged to be your parent.” We are incredibly blessed and privileged to serve the Indigenous community through mentorship. It’s a powerful tool we can offer to help and serve the community. 

It’s simple, but I feel privileged to be trusted enough to serve in this way.

What do you consider a successful mentorship relationship?

When two individuals have such a trusting, surreal experience where they’re almost shocked to be able to see themselves in one another. A good mentorship relationship has a deep level of trust. 

Think about the feeling of having coffee with someone you don’t know well, sharing what you’re feeling and asking for guidance. And to be the individual offering the guidance, knowing the only way to offer it authentically is to be brutally honest about your own experiences, values and morals. The only way to reach a bond, at a high level, is through sharing stories of experience. There’s a vulnerability on both sides that is special and when it’s right, it’s like fireworks. 

I want Protégés and Mentors to leave a session feeling supercharged. 

How can companies better engage with Indigenous communities and integrate that conversation into office cultures?

In society, we often talk about needing our elders to explain to us what’s happened in the past, and then catapult off their wisdom and knowledge for the future. That conversation is important, but we need to also talk to the younger generation to understand where their needs and desires are and have a dynamic set of voices at the table. There are very few scenarios in western ideology or corporate culture where we’re creating structures for all these voices to be heard. We don’t gravitate to youthful voices in office settings, and boards are built around senior-level executives. 

When you bring different cultures and voices together at the table, we are forced to learn about each other. You might disagree with a certain approach, but you’ll gain a better understanding of where they are coming from. You’ll learn from each other and adopt certain practices. If we can demystify preconceived notions and perceptions of a particular group, you realize that you do, in fact, fit in or maybe those individuals will fit in with you. 

Indigenous culture and traditions are built around a holistic nature; the same approach is needed to create true DEI environments. It’s all-around understanding, removing judgment and engaging in culture. By enveloping this approach into the corporate culture, we will create stronger businesses and a stronger, more inclusive community. 

Influence Mentoring is currently accepting applications for Protégés and Mentors. Reach out for more information or visit influencementoring.com.


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