Which industry do you work in and what do you love and/or loathe about it?
Blurred spans both management and comms consultancy and we work specifically in the area of ESGP which stands for Environmental, Social, Governance and Purpose. I LOVE the fact that our job is to make businesses better – in terms of better DEI, environmental performance etc – and then to tell everyone about it, from the capital markets to policymakers, employees, consumers and beyond. However… my background – and our industry ‘home’ - is comms, or as some would classify it, PR. I’ve always hated the perception that this industry is either about spin or is vacuous (I will never forget watching a royal wedding and hearing Jeremy Paxman describe Sophie Wessex as coming from the ‘vacuous world of PR’. Not always the case (though of course it sometimes is). But at Blurred we’re far from superficial. We work with many of the world’s biggest companies and what we do can have a material impact on the world. Our own purpose is ‘depth in an industry characterised by the superficial’
Have did you get into your job/industry?
When I left uni I was a tour guide at Madame Tussauds. I volunteered my time for free in the PR department on my days off to get some experience and off the back of that, I got my first role as an account assistant at an agency. I never revealed my neurodiversity but it very quickly revealed itself! Luckily my bosses saw beyond my shortcomings and I very quickly rose in the organisation.
Have you always wanted to work in your industry?
Yes. Even though I didn’t really understand what it was – or how it would evolve to what I do today – I loved the idea of using words, images etc to persuade people on points. Essentially the creative alternative to what a barrister does in a courtroom. And – honestly speaking – I did also like at the time some of the glamour associated with it.
Does it feel like a good 'fit' for you as a neurodivergent woman?
Totally. In a book by Fernette and Brock Eide, they say that dyslexics are “especially good at putting together big pictures, or seeing larger context, or imagining how processes will play out over time”. They say dyslexics have the ability to “view something from multiple perspectives” and that they can “see connections that other people haven't seen before”. They also say that “these individuals excel in fields where telling and understanding stories are important” and finally they state the ability to “reason well in dynamic settings when the facts are incomplete or changing”.
This is completely true of me, and completely true of what’s required in comms in 2022.
Any anecdotes that you feel might be insightful?
In the height of lockdown, I was struggling – I kept hearing voices on repeat in my head. I called the Dr thinking they’d just up my sleep meds (I also have a sleep condition that also compounds my neurodiversity). Quickly I was referred to a consultant physiatrist and diagnosed with ‘pseudo hallucinations’ - a direct effect of my brain's wiring combined with the lockdown. I was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, usually used to treat schizophrenia or bipolar. I didn’t like this idea so they said I should try mindfulness. I rolled my eyes but reluctantly agreed even though everything about who I am rebelled at the idea.
I enrolled in an eight-week course – two hours a week - and found it very tough. However, I felt I bonded with the concept of a body scan; a 30-minute exercise where you start with your toe and slowly work your way around your entire body. Something strange happened. I kept getting stuck on my left boob. I went to the docs and knew it sounded ridiculous, but they listened and referred me. In under three weeks, I’d had surgery and had come out the other side. Had I not been neurodiverse I would never have found my way to mindfulness and without that it would have been months till any physical manifestations of anything wrong would have appeared. Just thought I’d share!