In early December, Marie Delorme received some good news and some bad news.

The good news was that the Calgary entrepreneur and philanthropist was notified that she was being appointed to the Order of Canada.

The not-so-bad news was that she couldn't tell anyone until the official announcement at the end of the month, which made for a few challenging non-conversations over the holidays.

"It's difficult when you're visiting with friends, and you have some news but can't tell (anyone)," she said, in a Tuesday interview with The Homestretch.

'It means a great deal to me'

For Delorme, who has been the recipient of many awards and recognition over the years — being named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women, receiving an Alberta Centennial Medal, a Calgary Chamber of Commerce Salute to Excellence Award, a Metis Nation Entrepreneur of the Year Award among them — being appointed to the Order of Canada means a lot, not just for herself, but for her colleagues, friends and supporters.

"The Order of Canada is an extremely special award to get," she said.

"It means a great deal to me and I would expect to the Indigenous community (too) — but the reality of getting any kind of recognition is that no one gets this because they did it on their own."

Delorme is also a prominent philanthropist, supporting organizations such as the RCMP Foundation, the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board and the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking.

"The organizations that I get involved with are focused specifically on issues that I have a particular interest in: youth at risk, women's leadership — especially Indigenous women's leadership," she said.

'Through serendipity, I became an entrepreneur'

For the past 18 years, Delorme has been the CEO of The Imagination Group, a company that that sells promotional products, ceremonial tobacco and authenticates Indigenous artists' copyrights through an online registry and cataloguing database.

Running a company happened quite late in Delorme's career, after a 15-year-long corporate stint in telecommunications.

"Through serendipity, I became an entrepreneur," she said. "It's not something I would have planned."

With files from The Homestretch