I make a difference, do you?

New York and Norway


I make a difference, do you?

New York and Norway

My teaching incorporates active-learning, reflection, and community.
— Values for Teaching
How have you made a difference towards your dream in progress (DIP) today?
— A daily question.

About Mona Anita

Mona Anita K. Olsen is the creator of Yogibana (weaving Yoga + Ikebana in 12 steps) and founder of Innovation Barn AS in Borhaug, Norway. She also serves as an Associate Professor (Førsteamanuensis i Hotelledelse) at the University of Stavanger and currently teaches courses in hotel management and event planning in the Norwegian School of Hotel Management.

Previously, Olsen was an assistant professor at the School of Hotel Administration in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and the Academic Program Advisor for General Education of the VinUniversity Project. Olsen was a Faculty Fellow for Risley Residential College for the Creative and Performing Arts. As an assistant professor, she developed and taught courses focused on entrepreneurship theory and practice. Olsen led Cornell to win a grant from Norway's Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU). Olsen also wrote the grant to lead Cornell's participation in the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) Cuba, a core initiative of the Institute of International Education's Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education, which seeks to increase the number of international partnerships between higher education institutions in the U.S. and Cuba. She is the recipient of a Small Private Online Class (SPOC) grant from the Office of the Vice Provost to create HADM 4180x MAD Clouds: Making a Difference with Cloud-Based Technology in Entrepreneurial Business Planning, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies Small Grant for the course development of HADM 4133/6133: Global Conversations with Entrepreneurs, and the Luigi Einaudi Chair Innovation Grant for the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) Norway, where she serves as Cornell's representative. Olsen was an Engaged Cornell Fellow and created the Seed the Bloom Program (sowing ideas, cultivating community).

From 2013 to 2016, Olsen served in the academic directorship of the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at Cornell. Olsen led initiatives to expand and enrich the Pillsbury Institute's multifaceted work on entrepreneurship education. She engaged partners at all levels to integrate the work of the Pillsbury Institute into ongoing efforts within the Hotel School, Cornell University more broadly, and internationally, including engagement with entrepreneurs at all stages, Cornell alumni, entrepreneurs in residence, academics, and corporate affiliates.

Prior to joining the Cornell faculty, Olsen was a U.S. Fulbright Grantee to Norway, awarded by the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Olsen embraced her experience in Norway, where she focused on growing iMADdu, the educational nonprofit (501c3) she founded in 2010. iMADdu stands for "I Make A Difference, Do You?" and empowers young entrepreneurs through mentoring and participation in its Student Apprenticeship Program.

Olsen was the assistant director of the Mason Small Business Development Center at the Office of Research and Economic Development at George Mason University. She also worked as a worldwide sales analyst for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Olsen holds a Bachelor of Science with Distinction (Hotel Management) from Cornell University, a Masters (Management of Information Technology) from the University of Virginia, and a PhD (Education) from George Mason University. Olsen is a certified Sogetsu Ikebana and Yoga (C-HYI) Instructor.





SHA College of Business at Cornell Business Feed (March 2018): International Women’s Day: Faculty reflect on their careers and share their best advice.

The Norwegian American (December 2018): Learning How to Think Like an Entrepreneur

BidEd Magazine (November/December 2018): All Systems Go—Cornell University evaluates LMS options that will work best for students and faculty in the years ahead.

The Norwegian American (November 2018): The Long House at Lista: Entrepreneurial Development on Norway’s Southwest Coast

The Norwegian American (November 2018): Connecting with Ponies in Lista Travselskab

Grunderhjernen (October 2018): Besøk fra Cornell University

Cornell Chronicle (September 2018): Alum’s Gift Helps Entrepreneurship Faculty Hire Assistants

The Norwegian American (August 2018): Oppskrift for my Norwegian Heart

The Norwegian American (June 2018): Yogibana for the Schools

The Norwegian American (May 2018): Experts Share Big Ideas Ideas in Cornell Roundtable Sessions

The Norwegian American (March 2018): Going Down Under Norwegian Style

The Norwegian American (March 2018): Yoga for Tourism Opportunity in Norway

The Norwegian American (March 2018): NACC Finds a New Home and a New GM

The Norwegian American (February 2018): Building an Entrepreneurial Map

The Norwegian American (December 2017): Bootstrapped Tech Helps Startups

Cornell Chronicle (December 2017): Engaged Faculty Fellows Connect Classroom and Community

The Norwegian American (December 2017): The Tennisball Benchmark

The Norwegian American (November 2017): Borderless Entrepreneurship

The Norwegian American (October 2017): Innovation Barn Inspires with Pop-up

Cornell Chronicle (September 2017): Seven Entrepreneurship Faculty Hire Assistants

with Alumni Support

Asian Hospitality Magazine (May 2017): Higher Degrees

The Pillsbury Institute Newsletter (December 2016): Entrepreneurship is Global

Cornell Chronicle (October 2016): Gift Lets Entrepreneurship Faculty Hire Assistants

Cornell Daily Sun (June 2016): Cornell Launches New Online Learning Program

The Pillsbury Institute Newsletter (May 2016): From the DIrector

Strengths Coaches’ Playbook (April 2016): Planting Entrepreneurial Seeds at Cornell University

Norway Connects Blog (April 2016): Take a Ride and Explore Norway on a Budget

eShip Magazine (2016): Entrepreneurial Profile Assessment

BizEd (December 2015): Building a Mentor Platform to Boost Alumni Engagement

Hospitality Net (December 2015): Norwegian Grant Elevates Cornell's International Entrepreneurial Efforts

The Pillsbury Institute Newsletter (December 2015): Entrepreneurship is Everywhere

AMCham Norway (December 2015): Expanding the Global Conversation on Entrepreneurship at Cornell University with Norway

Cornell Chronicle (October 2015): Zalaznick awards support course expansion, TAs

Hospitality Magazine (Autumn 2015): Hotels of the Future by Elly Earls

eship Magazine (2015): Expanded Opportunities for Entrepreneurs at the Pillsbury Institute

Hotelie Magazine (Summer 2015): Mona Anita Olsen Expands Entrepreneurship

Hospitality Net (July 2015): Utility and Disruption: Technology for Entrepreneurs in Hospitality, Highlights from the 2015 Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable

Hospitality Net (May 2015):  From Concept to Impact: Beginning with the End in Mind

The Pillsbury Institute Newsletter (May 2015): From the Director

Cornell Daily Sun (April 2015): Hotel School to Offer New Concentration in Entrepreneurship

Internationalist (Spring 2015): The Power of a Nishimachi Network: Making a Difference in Conversations with Entrepreneurs at Cornell University

TNooz (March 2015): How Cornell students helped Leading Hotels of the World boost revenue

Cornell Chronicle (March 2015): Alumni entrepreneurs, investors to return for 'Celebration'

eship Magazine (2014): Pillsbury Institute Focuses on Education, Experience, and Engagement

The Pillsbury Institute Newsletter (December 2014): Leveraging Education to Create Opportunity

Cornell SHA Blog (October 2014): Hotelie Network + Entrepreneur Mentors = Success for MBA Students

Cornell SHA Blog (September 2014): New course teaches students to keep up with technology  

Hospitality.Net (July 2014): Cornell’s Pillsbury Institute Wins Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship Fellows Program Grant

The Pillsbury Institute Newsletter (May 2014): From the Director

Newsdesk GMU (May 2013): New PhD Aims to Create Opportunity, Success

HotMommas Case Study (2013): The Norwegian Heart: Making the chalkboard table a modern-day lunchbox

News of Norway (Summer/Fall 2013): Wanted: A Job in Norway

Premier Club Services Blog CMAA (2013): Encouraging Culipreneurship: Culinary Entrepreneurship

Premier Club Services Blog CMAA (2013): I can refresh my professional image strategy

Connect2Mason (August 2012): Mason student travels to Norway on Fulbright scholarship

Newsdesk GMU (April 2012): Students, Alumnus Awarded Fulbright Grants 

News at Mason (February 2012): Mason Small Business Development Center Offers Students Opportunities for Success

Kindle (April 2011): The Manager/Leader Coach

The Washington Post (September 2011): The Corporate Classroom

Northern Virginia Magazine (September 2011): Seeding Success, GMU’s Entrepreneur Mentors

Washington Business Journal (March 2011): GMU, Firm Launch Legal Clinic for Businesses

George Mason University News (June 2011): Center that Helps Entrepreneurs Gets Helping Hand of Its Own

At Your Service Premier Club Services Newsletter (September 2010): Back of the House…Understanding the Volunteer Process and Making It Work in a Private Club Setting


WHCU Radio (November 2016):

Cornell Entrepreneur Network (November 2016):

Pillsbury Institute 10 Year Celebration Video (November 2016):

Gallup Called to Coach EP10 (April 2016):

Cornell University (Fall 2015): Cornell-China Program Entrepreneurship

CBS Morning Show (May 2015): Hotels Make Hi-Tech Part of Hi-Class

Vimeo Account:

Pillsbury Institute Year in Review (2015):

Pillsbury Institute Year in Review (2014):

iTunesU (2013): HADM 3135/6135 Conversations with Entrepreneurs: Podcast Series

W2 Communications (2012): Five Minutes with Mona Anita Olsen on our Entrepreneurial Community

Women Talk Business with Bettina Lawton (2012)

iTunesU (2012): MEC in the MEC: Podcast for Mason Small Business Development Center (SBDC)