I Make a Difference Participant Feedback


I worked in the steel industry for many years and during that time I attended many personal development programs. I found that most programs are an education process, which attempt to improve knowledge of how people think and react in various situations. Usually these courses have various models of human behaviour and attempt to categorise people one way or another. The intent is then that you both know your own category, or the categories of others, and are expected to intellectually use this information to achieve better results.

But the IMAD program is different and for me the first time that everything else has made sense.

The reason for this is that the first part of the GMAD program (IMAD) is about understanding yourself. It isn’t about categorising you, it is about understanding that everyone’s life journey has been different and that these things build the person that you are today. And that despite the differences we all have basically the same emotional responses but that our history has made certain things have more or less impact and therefore have changed us in different ways.

The course does this in a way that personalised it for me and made it real. It was not just about learning theory, it was a journey of discovery where the reason for my own behaviour was uncovered. And it was done in a supportive, understanding, and non-judgemental environment.

For the first time I was able to understand my emotional response to various situations. This created a strength and confidence that I had not experienced before. Circumstances that had previously stressed me are now much easier to deal with. I rarely go a day without reflecting on what I learnt at IMAD and continually using that to improve myself.



The I Make a Difference program was a critical stage in my life. Prior to the programme I felt as if I was floating through life with no sense of direction, purpose or awareness. I was depressed and self-sabotaging.

The program was an opportunity to spend time learning about myself. I began to understand the reason why I behaved the way I had been and the impacts that this had on myself and others. This awareness provided me with choices which I didn’t feel that I had! I could choose to dwell on what I had lost and mistakes I had made, or I could acknowledge these, work through them with the tools that were provided and make choices for different outcomes in the future. I switched from being reactive to being responsive, taking responsibility for my life and choices.

This programme was not only about the emotions that we express but also acknowledging the underlying issues. The drivers of behaviour and approaches. It is a choice what you choose to address and at your pace.

I use the tools from the programme years after attending and I am grateful to my core for this as this has supported me to fully appreciate my life and journey. It has enabled me to work with others and support them in their journey and knowing how to not carry their burdens or energy.

I have seen others attend and complete this programme and it has been an honour each time. To see a person make the conscious choice to commit to themselves and the affect that it has on them and others is amazing. A sense of peace and acceptance in each person and to feel like you are truly speaking and listening to them, not a surface conversation.

I have explored other programmes but always come back to IMAD. This programme is not a surface skimmer – it has depth and realness as it came from Melinda’s journey.



I attended IMAD as part of my application for a role at GMAD. Taking part in IMAD was an edifying and inspiring experience personally and professionally. The program helped me to take stock of my experiences, assess my strengths and challenges, clarify my goals and troubleshoot road blocks to success. Melinda Cates’ facilitation was brilliant; – incisive, intelligent and yet deeply caring and supportive; all necessary ingredients to effect positive change.

The GMAD and IMAD models were inspiring because they reinforced to me the power of personal development within a range of business models and particularly recruitment and HR.

I went on to continue my career in the Arts as a Vocal Consultant, with stints in Community Development project work, Event Management and Retail Fashion.

IMAD gave me the confidence to always keep personal development at the heart of my projects and work which has enabled me to make a difference in all my endeavours; personally, professionally, culturally and commercially



The IMAD experience allowed me to see the situations in my life that had an emotional and mental impact on my confidence and self-esteem.  I was empowered by the dedication and leadership of the program to facilitate my personal development and to never lose sight of who I am and where I have come from.  IMAD really understood the people they were working with.

Feedback from an array of participants of the I Make a Difference Programme

“It is a personal development program that allows you the space and time to look in and discover/connect with the person you want to be/ have been/ really are. It provides you with the tools to make change in your life once you have highlighted your areas for development or growth. It is done in an environment that is safe and respectful, with people who are accepting and truthful.”

“Since I participated in the I Make a Difference programme I believe it has had an amazing impact on my life. I am a better person, my marriage is so strong and my relationship with my children is fantastic.”

“I have been able to let people who I care about get close to me and be able to talk to them.”

“For the first time I have discussed with people close to me, some of the feelings, sensitivities, and needs that I have. I have acknowledged to myself that I can enjoy life more by sharing more of me with others instead of being closed off. I feel less influenced by external events in terms of my reactions to things, events and adversities.” – Male participant

“This is the best knowledge that any father can instil in his child”

“An extremely warm and caring environment to explore who you are and come to terms with the crap you have been through in your life, and learn how to integrate it into who you are today.” 

“A chance to delve into what’s been the ’cause’ to where I have got to as a person – a programme which requires someone to have the will, want and courage to live life to the fullest. It is not a programme that someone would take part in – who was still in denial about their life and not on a track to thinking about what they really would like it to be like”

“This program is a path to unlocking qualities we have denied ourselves. The facilitators are the guides to get us onto the path but the journey is for each of us to continue along the path to rediscover what we have lost and regain our power”

 “I now understand a lot of the true emotions behind the memories and flashes of memories from my childhood and teen years. I understand what they are and how they worked to help me to cope, until now. I feel safer to allow myself to FEEL and be heard now.”

“It has helped give me the tools to work through my own personal problems to help let them go, this I believe will now help me to open up to the real me inside.”

“The benefits that I have gained are to be truthful to myself and to trust myself and most of all believe in myself. There is NO LIMITATIONS TO what I can do with my true belief of my inner jewel.”

“Great processing tools. A great gift of finding my great assets and this I can give my children a gift of more valuable than money could ever buy.”

“Its life changing made me realize that is so much easier if you understand what’s going on within you, and whatever happens I know I am going to be Ok! Because now I can manage my emotions in a healthy way.”

“I have learnt to take time to process things before “flying off the handle” and learnt to view things in an entirely different way. It’s awesome.”

“My selfworth has increased. I am now looking forward to the future instead of dreading it. I have the tools to work through things. It was at times confronting, but I was able to work though it.”

“Thank you for believing in me when I had lost the belief in myself.”

“This programme enables you to find the deep side of you that has been an underlying issue, enabling you to express and feel your emotions.  Making you more aware you are important. Takes a lot of weight off your shoulders that has been there for a long time, enabling you to be and feel free”

“This has been a healing for me, opening my eyes to what I can do, ridding me of a lot of pain (not physical) mental, a cleansing of my soul.”

“It’s valuable in its ability to bring to the surface issues that plague us, sometimes unknowingly and the tools to deal with them appropriately.”

“IMAD was a road to discovering who I am, who I want to be and where I came from and helped me be a better person.”

“Extremely uplifting, powerful, life saving, something that should be taught as a life skill in high school to enrich the lives of tomorrows society to stop burdens on health system, employment, government policies etc. Being taught how to respect yourself and value yourself first, flows on to everything else going on around us.”

“This program is a path to unlocking qualities we have denied ourselves. The facilitators are the guides to get us onto the path but the journey is for each of us to continue along the path to rediscover what we have lost and regain our power”

“I now understand a lot of the true emotions behind the memories and flashes of memories from my childhood and teen years. I understand what they are and how they worked to help me to cope, until now. I feel safer to allow myself to FEEL and be heard now.”

“The benefits are unlimited. I am like a new better, vastly improved me with a great inner peace. I can go to bed at night without a doubt in my mind. The value is priceless – like sentimental objects in our life, you could be offered millions for it but no money can compare to the value of the benefits of the programme.”

“The program is a great way to deal with all the suppressed and even forgotten parts of yourself. To understand all the layers involved in holding on to emotions. To gain the tools I have wanted and desired for so many years.”

“The program has had a huge impact in the way I see myself and others. I have been able to reconnect with my inner self and take back what I have freely given away (personal power). Life Empowering.”

“Having been given the tools to regain what has been lost and also shown how to use these tools in any situation has given incredible insight. No longer blind to myself.”

I am learning to stop and assess situations in which I’m feeling emotion to determine why I am feeling that emotion and how it is impacting me and the relationships (work and personal) in my life. It has been valuable for me to understand that I take onboard other people’s issues. In my need to be liked/accepted by everyone I often end up dealing with their issues instead of my own. One of the benefits for me is seeing that everyone has issues in their life that make them insecure or unhappy. Often I feel that I am the only one. I have also learned that there are always people who will help me and listen to me I just have to ask. This is going to be challenging for me as I am very independent and used to working things out on my own. I very much look forward to becoming more self-aware and less self deprecating.”

“For me personally I would describe the program as confronting and empowering. I chose to think about issues and events in my life that I have been avoiding for a long time. This was confronting for me because I am so used to portraying that everything in my life is fine and that I have everything under control and that things don’t affect me. I must admit I was a little unprepared for the emotions that I would feel throughout the five days which swung wildly from very eager to be there to resenting that I was thinking about things I didn’t want to think about. Aside from being personally confronting I found the program empowering as it allowed me to identify incidents in my life that have shaped me into the person I am and how I can work through some of these issues to help myself and therefore the way I relate and interact with people in my life. It has made me consciously aware of the thoughts and feelings I’m having and why I am having them and also the impact it has on others. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to attend this program and while I can certainly identify that I have a lot further to go, at least I am taking a proactive step in the right direction. “

“If everybody did this programme the world would be a better place.”

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