Sharing the Secrets of a Successful ADHD Business Executive: An Interview with Bob Madonna and Adam Cohen

Successful ADHD business Executive

By Judy Brenis

“Attitude is a decision,” says Bob Madonna, principal and EVP of Sales and Marketing for McCoy Enterprises, and a recent speaker at ADDA’s May 16, 2012 Webinar titled, Secrets of a Successful ADHD Business Executive.

“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it… As so it is with all of us. We are in charge of our attitudes.” Charles R. Swindoll

“No matter what the setback, I’ve been able to keep being positive,” says Madonna, who has ADHD himself and credits his positive attitude for his success. Though he has had his share of struggles, failures and disappointments, no matter what, Madonna explains that rather than feeling sorry for himself, he keeps going. He feels blessed for all he has. A positive attitude, coupled with timely planning, is the secret to his success.

Madonna admits he has problems with interrupting, procrastination, not listening, daydreaming, leg-thumping, the need for constant brain stimulation and a smattering of OCD. “They (those issues) don’t go away, but you can deal with them so that they don’t get in your way,” he said. “Attitude is about focusing on what we can control, which is us – our emotions, what we say and how we say it.”

“I will not allow my life to be negatively impacted by things or people that are beyond my control. I will not take years off my life by allowing myself to become frustrated, aggravated, or upset over situations, rules, or other minutia over which I have no control. I will look to focus on what I control in a professional positive manner.” C. Swindoll

Along with Madonna’s positive attitude comes his desire to share these beliefs, hoping he can help others with ADHD realize they are not alone. He is grateful to ADDA for providing the Webinar forum where he can reach out to many more individuals than he could in person.

ADDA’s Webinars provide information, support and solutions from sources you can trust, according to ADDA’s Website. These teleclasses, which are included in the cost of ADDA membership, run for one hour, most Wednesday nights, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern. ADDA members can log in online via a link ADDA provides to chat with other participants and view slides as the presenter is scrolling through them. Attendees can also send their questions to the speaker via the Web and listen to the speaker’s answers live.

A myriad of subjects are presented in these Webinars, ranging from motivation, to procrastination, to ADHD and Dyslexia, Chaos Theory, Surviving Your Inner Critic, and hundreds of other topics.

Madonna recently received proof of the powerful impact these Webinars can have. One day, Madonna opened his mailbox to find a letter from a man named Adam Cohen, a father of four children who has suffered in silence for years, ashamed of his ADHD. “He literally changed my life,” said Cohen, who was undiagnosed until adulthood, and who “just recently started accepting the fact that I actually do have a scorching case of ADHD. I was in complete denial and in the dark for 38 years about why I do the things I do.”

Cohen shared with Madonna that a major turning point for him was when he completely accepted the fact that “medicine alone does not cure everything.” With that discovery, Cohen says, he started working with an ADHD coach, began watching his diet, cutting out the Red Bulls, and getting more sleep, “all in an effort to take a more active role in my own therapy.”

Cohen thanked Madonna for helping him realize that he can turn off his mind, stop the negative self-talk, and be able to get enough sleep to get through the day more alert and focused. Cohen says that he has beaten himself up for so long, but to hear a person with Madonna’s background open up and talk about his own struggles, as well as his accomplishments, “made it okay for me to have ADHD.”

“It’s not the end of the world. Finally, the shame around my ADHD evaporated and I felt like I had permission to stop beating myself up,” Cohen said. “It’s been in my DNA to always look in the past, but the Webinar prompted me to go deeper and realize that I do have a choice. I can choose to focus only on what I can control.”

Madonna’s Webinar helped give Cohen the confidence that he too can be successful and learn the tools and strategies to deal with his challenges related to prioritization, organization, time management, and focus.

“The negative effects of undiagnosed ADHD in my life, which had been bewildering for decades, suddenly became clear,” Cohen wrote to Madonna. “The practical and achievable advice I have searched for made your Webinar a godsend!”

Cohen says that hearing the message that it is possible to be successful despite your ADHD, especially from someone like Madonna, made all the difference. “He knows what I’m going through. I feel like I know him. It’s very powerful.”

“One of the benefits of these webinars,” Madonna pointed out, “is hearing that I’m not the only crazy person in the world. I want people to hear what I have been through and what, at 58, going on 59, I’m still struggling with, and I want to have others see all I have been able to accomplish,” Madonna says. “I truly feel I have been blessed with ADHD. I love having 10 balls in the air… the more things on my plate the better, whereas someone else would be overwhelmed. Being asked to share my story felt like a gift.”

Judy Brenis is an ADHD coach based in Santa Cruz, California. ADHD has touched her life in the form of her daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD at age five, and Judy is passionate about helping those with ADHD create successful, happy, and healthy lives. Reach her at

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