Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?


In the spotlight, stories on making a difference.

06.03.2012 15+ Top Blogs for Small Business Owners from Dr. Shannon
“Keeping up with the latest books on leadership in business and nonprofit management can be daunting. I wish I had the time to read all of the inspiring and useful books that come out on the market, but alas, “fun” reading always gets pushed aside in my entrepreneurial pursuits. It is almost as if I have a hard time prioritizing my reading time. However, Dr. Steve Gladis’ blog, Survival Leadership, is an absolute necessity for me to keep up with prioritizing my reading. Dr. Gladis is an executive coach and he writes executive summaries of books that are necessary for leadership survival on his blog. Not only are they written well but they are quick yet encompassing posts that allow me to test out a book and prioritize its importance on my full-read list.”

05.10.2012 Press Release: The Douglass School works with iMADdu to Encourage Entrepreneurship in At-Risk Teens
Fairfax, VA- The Douglass School of Loudoun County Public Schools is an Alternative Education School. The school teaches their students with the vision that they will graduate and contribute to the professional and compassionate community environment. In order to encourage entrepreneurship in young at-risk teens of Loudoun County, The Douglass School is working with iMADdu’s Student Apprenticeship Program. “I am very excited about working with iMADdu to help my students experience actual workplace communication and marketing techniques. The students will be researching, analyzing, and evaluating current marketing and communication practices used by iMADdu and making suggestions for improvements. This type of experience can be used on a student’s resume and can even lead to them pursuing a career in the marketing field,” said Elissa Olechnovich, Business and Marketing Education Teacher at The Douglass School. “I look forward to continuing the relationship with iMADdu for years to come!”

05.07.12 10 Big Lessons from Bad Business Advice from Dr. Shannon

“I am all for being committed to a project, a person, an initiative, or a dream. I think discipline is required to stick things out. However, sometimes sticking it out may be the one thing that holds you back. A mentor of mine told me to “stick it out” in response to a difficult situation that I was going through about two years ago. Naturally, I took the advice, and tried to stick it out. However, in the end, the result was the same–the situation did not turn around and it was time to cut and move on. This experience made me realize that every piece of advice must be taken with a grain of salt. When in a difficult situation, we have the requirement to do our best but we also need to be smart enough to cut our losses based on our own situations. This was a great lesson in knowing self.”

04.30.12 23 Best Business Advice Stories from Dr. Shannon
“When I was a sophomore in college, I worked at a country club in Maryland. While interning at this club, I had tremendous mentors. One mentor, Kirk Reese, gave me the advice to “make your mark” no matter what path you decide to take with life. Making a mark ensures that there is passion behind what you are doing; it is difficult to get excited over something that you are not passionate about. Making a mark also puts a focus on impact–ensuring that time spent on a given activity is results in an outcome that will move a project or organization forward. Regardless of what project I am working on with iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?) or life, I always go in to everything with the idea on how to make my mark. Making a mark requires discipline and focus- both crucial to entrepreneurship.”

04.23.12 15 Must-Have Tools That Simplify Business from Dr. Shannon
“Smartsheet is the one piece of software that we could not live without. From managing our goals to our schedules to being the hub of our project management and recruitment activities, Smartsheet is a huge part of our operational process. We picked Smartsheet initially as a project management tool to limit internal emails (there is a discussion feature within the project sheets). Now, since it integrates with Google Apps and is very easy to use, we look for ways to further use all of its features in our operations. As new team members come on board, we encourage them to bring new ideas to the table on how to use Smartsheet more effectively. The back-up features also enable us to back-up our work in a central location–perfect for our virtual offices.”

04.17.12 Press Release: Market Torque Mentors Digital Natives in the iMADdu Student Apprenticeship Program
Fairfax, VA–Founded by Emily Summers, Market Torque LLC is a marketing firm that advises small and emerging businesses in marketing strategy and execution. To further support the local entrepreneurship community, Market Torque has become a sponsor of iMADdu’s Student Apprenticeship Program (SAP). The SAP program offers a critical bridge for students to become entrepreneurs. According to Emily Summers, Principal of Market Torque, “I have been so fortunate to have had incredible mentors throughout my life—even now. It is wonderful to be able to share my lessons learned with a motivated student. Because the up and coming generations are such digital natives, I’m learning an equal amount from the mentorship experience about technology, how it has transformed society and the opportunities that it presents.” iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?) Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides experiences to students to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs through apprenticeship and mentorship…

04.16.12 8 Ways to Track Your Business Success from Dr. Shannon
“We try to make our quarterly goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Since we have a growing team in a variety of locations, we have found an online software called Smartsheet to help us manage our progress. Every team member has an account to SmartSheet and is able to track progress on tasks in a real-time basis. Our Board of Directors and management can also look at every project across the team to check on progress across the organization. Smartsheet enables us to communicate effectively—we use this tool to sync communications around specific topics and ask questions when we run into roadblocks. Without Smartsheet, I’m not sure we could keep up with the multitude of projects on the table. It keeps us organized and helps us communicate effectively.”

04.02.12 Productivity: 9 Tips on When & What to Outsource from Dr. Shannon
“When resources at my company get stretched due to competing priorities and projects, we often get to a main question, educate or delegate. Typically, we attempt to learn as many things as we can when trying to grow and maintain the operations of our nonprofit. However, sometimes we make must make decisions to delegate to providers instead of educating in-house. When we get to a point where the education of a new task is taking over double the effort it would take for someone outside our company (with a pre-existing skill set) to accomplish, we look for ways to outsource the work. We outsource anything that is non-client or student focused–this usually means letting the operational tech gurus take over some of our work.”

02.27.12 Challenges to Becoming a Leader Worth Following from Dr. Shannon
“When any entrepreneurial venture or project takes off, there is a wonderful energy that exists. As any organization grows, priorities become more and more important and balance can often be difficult. As I personally grow as a leader, this balance becomes harder and harder for me when thinking about maintaining my “sparkle factor”—the ability to engage with others with a charismatic charm and passion—no matter what the topic at hand. Balancing sparkle with the efficiency of tasks is really challenging. I think it has a lot to do with discipline, but I recognize that also has to do with attitude and avoiding burnout. In order to become a leader worth following, I need to make sure I have my “sparkle factor” incorporated into everything that I work on with the team.”

02.20.12 Best Business Role Models for Leadership from Dr. Shannon
“Dr. Steve Gladis came into my life about three years ago due to a common linkage to UVA. His work specializes in executive coaching, leadership development, and public speaking. I’ve interacted with Dr. Gladis on my initial committee for my PhD, entrepreneurship projects, philanthropy work, coaching, and training; in all aspects, he has a constant focus that encourages others (including myself). Dr. Gladis makes a difference and is a business role model to me because he not only practices what he preaches, but he is always challenging me to lead more effectively, try out new strategies for leadership, and reach for bigger goals. The result, a whole lot of learning (sometimes from failure) but most importantly, true accountability to get up again after failure and thrive, instead of survive.”

02.13.2012 Most Important Qualities in a Leader from Dr. Shannon
“In working towards my PhD at George Mason University, I met a very talented colleague named Delia Racines who shares my passion for self-study and qualitative research. We have spent a lot of time both inside and outside the classroom looking at ways to research how to fully understand and effectively define “the sparkle factor.”

02.03.2012 Imagex Helps iMADdu’s Mission to Inspire Future Entrepreneurs from
Reston, VA- Founded in 1988, Imagex Inc. is a woman-owned small business solutions provider serving the financial, commercial, educational, and government markets. They focus on document imaging, data content, workflow, and the latest software tools to help businesses increase productivity, reduce costs and inefficiencies, and optimize business processes. In order to encourage potential entrepreneurs, Imagex supports iMADdu’s Student Apprenticeship Program…

01.23.2012 16 Powerful Business Mantras for 2012 from Dr. Shannon
“I walked away from my qualitative self-study methods class in 2011 with the idea that you have to embrace the tornado. This applies not only to researching new spaces but to operations of an organization. “Embrace the tornado” is our mantra for 2012…”

01.16.2012 16 Ways to Orchestrate a Happy New Year from Dr. Shannon
“I’ve always embraced the immense impact that the beach (particularly in Montauk, New York and Borhaug, Norway) have on my ability to obtain clarity in goals, direction, and passion. The ocean tides change, keeping some of the old and creating a new path for the water on the beach. The single best way to orchestrate a Happy New Year will be for us to have a “2012 Beach Launch”…”

12.27.2011 iMADdu (George Mason University) from
“Mona Anita Olsen is a multi-tasker. She is a PhD student at George Mason University’s Graduate School of Education and a member of the research faculty. In between her office hours and her grueling final year of course studies, Olsen wanted to do more. And this time, she wanted to help others make an impact in the next generation of entrepreneurs…”

12.26.2011 24 Inspiring Business Quotes from 2011 from Dr. Shannon
““It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau’s quote was a guiding force for iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?) operations in 2011. A canvas with this quote hangs in the office—a hanging reminder for us to refine our vision with each operational step that we take as a growing nonprofit…”

12.21.2011 Managing a Startup with One Business Tool from Jodi Sorensen’s Blog on
iMADdu (I Make a Difference, Do You?) is a fast-growing nonprofit organization that helps college students gain real-world experiences through apprenticeships and mentorship. Started by Mona Anita Olsen during her PhD program at George Mason University, the business’s goal is to better prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs…”

12.19.2011 18 Business Champions for Entrepreneurs from Dr. Shannon
“Dr. Steve Gladis is an iMADduain. His impact goes beyond being one of our best supporters, he is frank, direct, and provides multiple perspectives on situations that we bring to him to review. Dr. Gladis is a guiding light to us when we need to make a strategic decision and first in line to white-wall brainstorm with us. Whether leading the group Young Business Leaders in Fairfax, VA or providing time-saving, valuable reviews on lots of interesting books through his blog (, Dr. Gladis is always pushing us to learn, teach, grow, and give back. He has encouraged us to follow this quote by Maya Angelou, “When you learn, teach; when you get, give.” The focus on others keeps our eyes on making a difference…”

12.12.2011 27 Entrepreneurs Business Christmas Wishes from Dr. Shannon
“I’ve learned a lot about myself while finishing my PhD coursework at The Graduate School of Education at George Mason University. Most importantly, I’ve more clearly recognized my passion for learning through mentors and experience. My single business wish for iMADdu is that we continue to have a solid growth and quality as we grow our shells of influence collection (a collection of shells, driftwood, and stones that are signed by people who create impact in our lives)…”

11.11.2011 Internship Site Spotlight: iMADdu from The Intern Connection Newsletter from The Washington Center
“iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?) is a nonprofit based in Fairfax, Virginia that empowers the next generation of entrepreneurs by providing hands-on experiences through apprenticeships that impact the local small business and nonprofit communities. iMADdu bridges the gap between the academic and the practical at the university level…”

10.31.2011 45+ Best Assets Women Bring to Business from Dr. Shannon
“Businesses and nonprofits do not operate in a vacuum. At any given moment, there are competing demands often requiring multi-tasking skills. Multi-tasking skills are just one of many strong qualities that women bring to the table in both business and at home…”

8.15.2011 57 Creative Ways to Enjoy “ME Time” from Dr. Shannon
“I started the “Shells of Influence” when living in Montauk, New York after college. I found that beach walks provided me with clarity of thought and creativity. I needed to find a way to keep that influence in my life no matter where my travels took me. I started to have visitors sign seashells and write out their purpose or motivation in life on a shell each year when they came to visit. 7 years later, I still have these shells in shadow boxes in my house and now they are also in my office in a wooden bowl. Everyone comes to my office also signs a shell–noting his or her words to live by. When I get my “me” time, I often go through the shells, remembering the lessons learned from others and reminding myself of the dreams and clarity I noted on my beach walks in 2004 and each year since…”

08.08.2011 How 64 Entrepreneurs Have Taken Leaps of Faith from Dr. Shannon
“I thought I would be able to plan out the launch of my company when I fully finished my PhD program. All of my efforts were focused on that day when school would be “done.” But just like every other non-academic lesson in life, opportunities come when planning something else. When opportunities presented themselves last year, I took the leap and started a business while still in my PhD program. Ambitious–definitely. Crazy–maybe. Adventure–absolutely…”

07.25.2011 40 Ideas to Inspire Next Gen Entrepreneurs from Dr. Shannon
“I have always believed in making a difference. I subscribe to making it a “MAD (Make A Difference) Day” every day. There is often a disconnect between the concept of entrepreneurship taught in the classroom and the practical application needed to fully enable students to become entrepreneurs…”

06.27.2011 Press Release: TalaTek is continuing to support iMADdu’s Student Apprenticeship Program
Fairfax, VA – Founded by Baan Alsinawi, TalaTek LLC is a woman-owned business providing specialized services in Enterprise Risk Management. TalaTek focuses on innovation within the security and regulatory compliance sector. In order to encourage young entrepreneurs to follow their ambitions of innovation, TalaTek is continuing to support iMADdu’s Student Apprenticeship Program…

04.17.2011 Press Release: FIT3 and iMADdu Encourage Balance in the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs in the DC Area
Fairfax, VA–A one of a kind concept superstore, FIT3 is a retail destination where fitness, health, and wellness come together. In an effort to encourage budding entrepreneurs in the DC area, FIT3 is sponsoring The Student Apprenticeship Program at the Fairfax non-profit iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?). “I think it is great that iMADdu creates the opportunity for businesses to get the benefit of bright and talented apprentices while the apprentices get the benefit of career enhancing experience, mentorship, and challenge,” says Hal Smith, CEO of FIT3…

03.29.2011 Press Release: iMADdu and Steve Gladis Leadership Provide Opportunities to Empower Student Entrepreneurs
Fairfax, VA–Founded by Dr. Steve Gladis, author and former University of Virginia professor, Steve Gladis Leadership inspires leaders to grow by offering executive coaching, leadership development, and motivational speaking.  In order to encourage young entrepreneurs, Steve Gladis Leadership has become an Apprenticeship Sponsor at iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?). “I’m interested in preparing the next generation of business leaders, and iMADdu does just that by providing young entrepreneurs with a real life, hands-on experience with business,” says Dr. Steve Gladis…

01.03.2011 Press Release: TalaTek Supports iMADdu’s Student Apprenticeship Program For Young Entrepreneurs.
Fairfax, VA – An emerging player in the information security sector, TalaTek LLC is a woman-owned business providing specialized services in Enterprise Risk Management. TalaTek focuses on innovation within the Security and regulatory compliance sector. In order to encourage young entrepreneurs to follow their ambitions of innovation, TalaTek is supporting the local non-profit iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?)….

11.27.2010 Post from Rebecca Watkins Photography
“At the beginning of this month, I worked with iMADdu to help sponsor the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour at George Mason University. EET is about helping young entrepreneurs understand how to start their own business and giving them some of the tools to become successful. iMADdu=I make a difference, do you? Mona Olsen, the founder, created…”

11.14.2010 Post from Tanya Simpson
“I’ve been a fan of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (EET) for the past 8 months, and I was definitely excited about its recent tour stop at George Mason University.  For those unfamiliar, EET brings America’s top young entrepreneurs to colleges, universities, business development centers, and other organizations to share their experiences and empower participants to pursue business creation as a viable career strategy…”

11.09.2010 Post from Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour
“On Thursday, November 4, the Extreme Entrepreneurship Team descended upon the DC area to partner with an AWESOME organization: iMADdu to put on an AWESOME event at George Mason University. Rick Corcoran, senior adviser of the U.S. Chamber’s Campaign for Free Enterprise, opened up the conference by encouraging students to appreciate the incredible opportunity in the United States to create new products, new businesses and new jobs…”

11.5.2010 ‘U.S. Chamber and George Mason University Team Up to Highlight the Value of Free Enterprise’ in The Financial.
“The U.S. Chamber’s Campaign for Free Enterprise partnered with the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour in its latest stop on November 4 at George Mason University to inspire and educate students about how to create their own jobs in the midst of a difficult economic climate….”

11.2.2010 Post from
“So your eyes are burning from a grueling internship search that has your task bar permanently emblazoned into your retinas. Blink a little, stretch your legs, and get up. No, not now. After you’re done reading this. The point is you gotta get out more. Building your web presence and applying to jobs and internships is clearly important, but a lot of the best opportunities to build your career come through networking…

11.1.2010 Press Release: Social Media Business Launch Challenge Kicked Off by iMADdu
Fairfax, VA–iMADdu’s Social Media Business Launch Challenge (SMBLC) will award the young entrepreneur who submits the most compelling video the opportunity to launch a social media company while being mentored by Willow Tree Media, Inc….

10.29.2010 Press Release: Steve Kraner, a Herndon-based sales consultant, supports iMADdu at the upcoming Extreme Entrepreneur Event
Fairfax, VA– As the owner of a local Sandler Training® Franchise, Steve Kraner has worked with 1,000’s of  high tech CEO’s around the world. He is leveraging his expertise to give-back to the local entrepreneurial community by working with the iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?) organization…

10.25.2010 Post from America Free Enterprise
“As we noted in this post on Friday, more and more college students are starting their own businesses and/or interning in start ups. But how can they develop the skills that will help them succeed in their pursuits? Enter iMADdu (pronounced “eye-mah-do”), which stands for “I make a difference, do you?”…”

10.22.2010 ’22 Lessons on Starting a Business in College’ on teenbusinessforum
“The entrepreneurial mindset is an equation. Big picture + Execution = the Entrepreneurial Mindset to succeed in a venture. You can have the ideas, but if you can’t execute on them, the idea can’t grow. If you have the execution but not the big picture, you can easily lose focus on the future of your business…”

10.18.2010 ‘Extreme Entrepreneurship’ in The Mason Gazette
“The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour at George Mason University will be held on Thursday, Nov. 4, from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Johnson Center Dewberry Hall. The event is sponsored by the National Chamber Foundation, the Campaign for Free Enterprise and iMADdu (I Make a Difference, Do You?)…”

7.19.2010 ‘HTHTN Event’ in The Mason Gazette
“Jody Keenan, director, and Marc Willson, retail industry consultant, both of the Virginia Small Business Development Center Network, at the inaugural High-Tech, High Touch Networking event on July 1…”

Logo Usage:

Please use this logo for any press related options.

For press inquiries, contact press(at)

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter