Which industry do you work in and what do you love and/or loathe about it?
I LOVE the industry I work in. Mainly because my co-founder and I carved out our own new spot in it! Facilitation is more widely known and popular now, particularly since its value is now recognised more clearly, now that we're in an era of online (and hybrid) meetings, workshops, events etc. But when we started out 3-years ago a 'Facilitation Agency' - a company solely dedicated to hosting more engaging and productive and collaborative meetings/workshops - wasn't a thing. Since then we've led projects for the UN, Greenpeace, Spotify, the UAE Government - and I feel lucky every day to do what I do.
I spend my days amongst varied groups of people, from different walks of life expertise, all over the world. It's dynamic, every day is different - perfect for my ADD brain - it keeps me on my toes. I'm certain my neurodiverse superpowers are a big part of the reason we've done so well. High performing under pressure, boundless energy, lateral thinking, heightened emotional EQ. One thing I struggle with and do loath (which I'm sadly sure isn't unique to my industry) is how often we slam up against the patriarchy. As young, energetic, playful female founders we're often underestimated and marginalised. As we're often working with senior (too often all male) teams and boards - my compassion, my 'bouncy' attitude or refusal to be aggressively dominant is mistaken for weakness, or I can be typecast.
Happily, for every instance of this - there are countless other clients, participants on the other end of the spectrum who embrace diversity, authenticity and our inclusive 'un-put-in-a-box-able' approach.
Any anecdotes that you feel might be insightful?
At the start of any workshop, before I start writing on a flipchart I explain that I'm dyslexic and that they can enjoy the unusual spellings that will soon appear on the board. It always gets a laugh, releases the 'be perfect' pressure from my shoulders - but the most amazing unexpected benefit we've seen is - it immediately brings permission to be vulnerable into the room. You see participants noticeably relax and show up more authentically from that point on. That's a powerful gift for any collaborative room, and I'm grateful for it and proud to be a role model showing up as my full neurodiverse self.
What advice would you give to another Neurodivergent woman navigating their way through life?
Learn about your diagnosis & all about yourself. Experiment with coping mechanisms - understanding my ADD needed 'systems' changed my life. Share it proudly; to find & empower others (help more women get diagnosed) swap notes, find comradery. Challenge stigmas & status quo - embrace your superpower.