Balancing Tradition and Innovation in Hotel Ezra Cornell: Incorporating Technology Initiatives Into Event Planning and Management


Mona Anita K. Olsen & Charity Karanja

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  • Author Bio

    Mona Anita K. Olsen is an assistant professor at the School of Hotel Administration in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. Olsen is an Engaged Faculty Fellow at Engaged Cornell for her work on social entrepreneurship and the Founder of Innovation Barn.

    As an assistant professor, she developed and currently teaches courses focused on entrepreneurship theory and practice. Olsen led Cornell to win a grant with NHH (Norwegian School of Economics) 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/HADM 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.

    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. She also worked as a worldwide sales analyst for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

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