Alex Dali, the President of G31000 Global Institute for Risk Management, an international organization dedicated to
cashing in on promoting the ISO 31000 risk management standard through training seminars and personal certifications, has apparently failed to assess the risks associated with catfishing.
G31000 offers $2,700 a pop training classes on risk management, resulting in an unaccredited certification for attendees if they pass an exam. The personnel certifications given by G31000 are not accredited to ISO 17024, and appear not to comply with that international standard on certification of personnel.
While none of that is particularly nefarious, I nevertheless discovered that “Madeleine Leblanc” — who has posted G31000 related promotions and comments on LinkedIn and claims to be an Administrator at G31000 — may not actually exist, and instead may be a “sockpuppet” created by Mr. Dali for the purposes of inflating the appearance and influence of G31000.
The LinkedIn profile for Ms Leblanc (link may be down by time of publication, so use the photo at right) indicates she works for JLP Events, a company which could not be verified in France, and having previously worked for Atlascope, a risk management firm also coincidentally listed as a previous employer of Mr. Dali.
The first hint that something was “off” with the Madeleine LeBlanc account was when I began to be challenged by Mr. Dali on the G31000 LinkedIn forum, after asking for proof that risk management efforts had the effect that he, and other supporters, were claiming. Such claims included that risk managers could have prevented Deep Water Horizon, that risk managers — including G31000 supporter Peter Blokland — were responsible for advances in aviation safety, and that risk managers — including ISO 31000 top author Kevin Knight — could have prevented the international financial collapses.
Unable to provide any proof, the G31000 supporters and members instead resorted to their usual tack, of attacking the critic. Then, moderator Alex Dali began warning me that my posts were off-topic, asking me to cut and paste them into other conversations, and finally accusing me of intentionally “spreading false and misleading information.” He did not extend the warning to any of the G31000 supporters, like those launching insults or making outrageous claims that risk management could pretty much solve any problem in human existence.
The smoking gun came when I received a LinkedIn message signed by Alex, but coming from the “Madeleine LeBlanc” account:
I was unable to accommodate his request within an hour or two, so Mr. Dali instead put me into moderation, forcing all my posts to undergo personal approval by him. I quit the group at that point, writing my reasons to his Alex Dali account.
Nevertheless, a day later, Madeleine Leblanc posted in an ISO 9001 group about the email exchange, revealing “her” knowledge of my email to Mr. Dali, with similar poor spelling often attributed to his French-as-a-first-language.
That was enough to warrant a reverse image search, which yielded some interesting results. The photo used for the Madeleine Leblanc account is from two stock photo companies – iStockphoto and Stockphoto4u, and which has been predominantly used by cosmetic websites to highlight proper eyebrow shape.
This photo appears here, from a post on About.com:
Here is “Ms. Leblanc” again, for the Denova Webspa website:
And another for Osmosis Skincare:
There is an alternate, if unlikely and elaborate, explanation. Ms. Leblanc could have been a long-time colleague of Mr. Dali, from his days in Atlascope, and set up an account with a fake photo in order to protect her appearance. Mr. Dali then accessed the account without permission, since I later received an email from her (him?) saying, “Alex should not reply using my account, only to check urgent emails.”
Or, even more unlikely, the real Ms. Leblanc’s eyebrows are so perfect, every cosmetic website is paying her for the usage of her photo.
Me? I’m going with the sockpuppet theory, since that fits in with Mr. Dali’s proven penchant for spam, exaggerated claims, aggressive salesmanship, and general lack of internet etiquette. (Consider this: the G31000 LinkedIn profile alleges that the organization has “10,001+ employees.” Sure they do.)
The next question is: why is our industry so plagued with crazies?
About Christopher Paris
Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.