October 1, 2023

When Maddy Singleton began her studies at Washington University, she didn’t expect to pursue an education in entrepreneurship. WashU’s Brown School and its prowess in public health attracted her to St. Louis. However, since beginning at WashU in 2020, Singleton has become an entrepreneur.
“I had no idea it was going to be something I was interested in,” the 21-year-old said.
Singleton is business development officer at Speak Information Technologies, a medical software company led by a group of Washington University students. In her role there, Singleton is currently leading a rebranding initiative for the startup. In addition to her role at Speak Information Technologies, Singleton has sought to help introduce entrepreneurship to her classmates. She founded the Skandalaris Think Tank, a WashU student group aimed at fostering innovation among students of all academic disciplines.
Why is it important to you to bring more people into the innovation and entrepreneurship space at WashU? The Olin Business School is absolutely amazing and you learn so many skills. But something that I love so much about my arts and sciences education is I’m learning constantly about problems that aren’t necessarily seen to be in the private sector of business, but they totally can be and can be helped by that. It felt really important to me to bring all these different students together. I also think bringing any kind of diversity — whether it’s background, academics, skillsets — makes for a much more interesting collaboration and workspace.
Did you always envision becoming an entrepreneur? To be frank, no I didn’t envision myself becoming an entrepreneur. I always associated entrepreneurship with business, and simply didn’t see myself entering that field. However, after spending time at WashU along with mentorship from various professors, I realized that entrepreneurship could drive positive change on the community around me. After that, I couldn’t see a world where I didn’t use an entrepreneurial lens in whatever career I enter.
What’s your proudest accomplishment? One of my proudest accomplishments is making a short documentary raising awareness for homelessness in my hometown. After spending a year researching homelessness in the area, I wanted to act on this information but had limited resources to do so. Therefore, I relied on my film production skills and passion to help my community. I was able to distribute this film in film festivals and participate in panels on social justice, further advocating for the cause.
Where do you see yourself and your career in five years? In five years, I see myself likely entering graduate school for public health. However, I would like to gain some work experience prior to continuing my education. I believe health care consulting or consulting in the public sector would be an enriching and stimulating experience. I am excited to see where the rest of my education takes me, and I am open to whatever path that might be.
What can St. Louis do to engage more young entrepreneurs like yourself? I believe there could be more networking events to share ideas at any stage, like the Skandalaris Center Idea Bounce. These events allow an idea to turn into a real business because the events connect people with the resources and support they need.
Who are your biggest mentors? One of my biggest mentors is Heather Cameron, a professor at WashU who focuses on social entrepreneurship. Dr. Cameron taught me that entrepreneurship is the strongest tool to make a positive impact on the world. Under her guidance, she challenged me to deeply learn about the community in which I hope to make an impact and the most sustainable solution possible.
Another one of my biggest mentors is Kai Skallerud, the founder of Speak IT, a medical technology startup. Kai is an inspiration to me because he uses entrepreneurship to stand up for what he believes in, a sustainable health care system that supports the mental health of the providers. Kai put a pause on his last year of medical school to follow his business idea and make an impact on the community around him and health care providers around the world based on his personal experience.
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