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The Beginning

The conception of the I Make a Difference Onion Model and Programme occurred in 2000. The process that leads to the creation of the I Make a Difference programme started well before that (About Melinda Cates).

Melinda Cates knew she was to design a personal development programme. She had spent many years working with the pain and the conditioning of situations from her past, finding her way to heal the impacts and to find the true Melinda.

The I Make a Difference programme was the coming together of the personal development work she had and continues to do with herself. Also the development of her own unique way of self-facilitating her own process and facilitating and training others.

Melinda wanted to create a programme that would

  • provide people with a framework that was simple, truth based and addressed conditioning from peoples past
  • provide practical tools that would enable people to work with their processing emotionally, mentally, physically and energy wise
  • support individuals to be empowered and resourced to facilitate their own healing and growth process
  • facilitate people in what they do know and to discover the answers they have within them


Melinda spent eight months going over her life, the emotions, the thoughts and the tools she had developed to assist her to make a difference to herself. The patterns of the process unfolded, as she explored the differences and similarities between emotions. She identified the surface protective expressions of emotions, the internal processing of emotions and the impacts they have on the mind, body and energy.

She saw the patterns, the links, the connections and what she sees as our natural way of human processing, come together and unfold. From this came the I Make a Difference Onion Model, the basis of the programme.

The first I Make a Difference programme was run in 2001 in New Zealand. This was with a multicultural group of University Students who belonged to AEISIC. 

The first public programmes were delivered in Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga in New Zealand.

In the early days of the programme, it only ran for three and a half days.

Melinda was committed to having groups of ten to twelve people attending the programme at once. This was so that they could be supported to gain the greatest value from the process and their processing.

The Department of Corrections embraced the programme for the management of emotions for the inmates. 

The programme then was delivered in Corporates in Australia, specifically to individuals, supervisors and managers who were committed to developing their ability to facilitate their own personal leadership.  

In 2006 Melinda moved her business to Australia. The I Make a Difference programme became a key aspect of some of the most significant pre-employment, work readiness programmes in Australia.

These programmes were run for long-term unemployed, disengaged youth and individuals who had experienced workplace injuries.

Employers knew they could support the individuals that were unemployed, in learning the skills for the job. What they were not resourced to do was assist the individuals to manage the conditioning from their past.

 The emotional and mental processing that held these individuals back from believing in themselves, knowing they were worthy of employment, letting go their fear of rejection, and changing their need to sabotage and abandon employment. Building emotional and mental resilience became the key to sustainability.

The changes seen in the individuals resulted in Melinda being asked by a representative of the Australian Federal Government to license the I Make a Difference programme to the service providers who supported individuals in seeking employment.

As guardian of the programme, Melinda chose not to license it. Why, because the programmes integrity and truth were critical to its success and quality control of this was a significant ask. The key was also who facilitated it, and where they were at in their own personal growth.

By now with the growth in Melinda and the growth in the IMAD process,  meant the I Make a Difference programme became five to seven days in length. Depending on  timing, the group and their process. 

The IMAD programme was delivered publicly in Australia and became part of the recruitment process for Melinda’s business, as it was the foundation of the business culture.

The programme continued to be delivered to many people in Australia over the years from 2006 to 2015. For Aboriginals, unemployed individuals, disengaged youth, the general public, individuals with workplace injuries, youth in detention centres and Melinda’s employees.

For many years Melinda has intended to write the I Make a Difference book. Now with starts and stops Melinda is close to publishing the first of the I Make a Difference collection of books.

Melinda has been committed to ensuring that the books still follow the I Make a Difference structure, whilst providing a different process to the programme, so that each time an individual is involved in any of the I Make a Difference processes, they gain the value they deserve.