Gratitude and Learning from “Neurodiversity Rising”
Reflecting on an Uplifting and Moving Event
NEXT STEPS FOR CONTINUED MOMENTUM
The knowledge and heart of our speakers and attendees made “Neurodiversity Rising: Eliminating Bias from Hiring” a truly remarkable event, and an ideal beginning to a new chapter for Neurodiversity in the Workplace. We hope you’ll be part of what’s next! That means more events, connections, opportunities, and impact. Everyone has a role to play.
If you weren’t able to be with us for “Neurodiversity Rising,” take heart. We’ll soon share videos of portions of the event–and here are some steps you can take right now.
Neurodivergent job seekers: Complete our online candidate intake form, and be added to our talent pipeline. We’ll let you know when our company partners have open roles that align with your skill set.
Inclusive employers: To explore how you can embrace neurodiversity as a key part of talent acquisition, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston area: To be part of the community of practice being built by our new Boston Hub, email us at email@example.com with subject line “Boston Hub.” We’ll reach out to you.
SIX OF OUR FAVORITE MOMENTS
There were so many amazing moments throughout “Neurodiversity Rising,” but here are just a few favorites noted by the Neurodiversity in the Workplace team.
“Let’s short circuit the interview.” Dr. Temple Grandin
During the Q & A portion of Dr. Grandin’s keynote address, this was her reply when asked about how to take the anxiety out of the interview process for neurodivergent people. We couldn’t agree more–it’s why we emphasize skill-based hiring! Dr. Grandin is a living example of how “showing the work” is an effective strategy for accessing opportunity.
“We must close this disability inclusion gap… and address years of inequities and inequality.” Musi Lee
Musi Lee is Vice President, Global Autism At Work, for JPMorgan Chase. She’s also the mother of an autistic child. In her brief overview of the company’s growing neurodiversity hiring efforts, Musi spoke passionately about the progress made and even more urgently about all the work left to be done to foster inclusion. We’re glad to call her a partner.
“Diverse groups and teams are better problem solvers.” Dr. Jayanti Owens
Dr. Owens pulled directly from her in-depth research on intersectionality to speak so clearly and powerfully to the benefits of diversity–that it’s good for people and for the bottom line. Sr. Assistant Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs at Brown University, she studies how the organizational contexts of schools and workplaces, and the race and gender of individuals and their evaluators, shape evaluations and lead to disparate outcomes. We learned a lot from her.
“I’m also gay. Didn’t need a diagnosis for that!” William Gilreath
The honesty and authenticity of William, as with the rest of our panel, was striking. This candid disclosure was one of many great moments from William, who found senior-level employment at VMware with support from Neurodiversity in the Workplace. He shared his experiences with intersectionality, particularly his years-long struggle to find employment as a gay autistic man, despite impressive skills. It was eye-opening, and relatable to many in attendance.
“Stay stubborn.” Finn Gardiner
We loved everything Finn had to say about how bias so easily creeps into our interactions, and how intersectionality has shaped his life in profound ways. Among other talents and pursuits, Finn is a disability advocate, and Communications Specialist at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University. As he shared his final thoughts during the conclusion of the panel discussion, he encouraged autistic job seekers to tap innate stubbornness as a strength, giving them power to persevere as he did.
“They said I wasn’t polished. I wasn’t what they were expecting in an elected official.” Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou
As the first Asian American and openly autistic woman in the New York State legislature representing District 65 (“the best district on the planet,” she claimed with a smile), Yuh-Line continues to encounter bias. We were moved by her courage, openness, and determination to defy expectation and lead in her own way.
BIG THANKS TO OUR COMMUNITY
Finally, we want to take a moment to thank our stellar speakers and panelists: Dr. Temple Grandin, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, Finn Gardiner, Dr. Jayanti Owens, and William Gilreath. They not only informed us but shared from the heart in ways that really connected. We suspect that’s why so many have been asking for a recording of the event!
We also appreciate the time our company partners took to share updates on their neurodiversity hiring programs. Adam Brown of VMware, Musi Lee of JPMorgan and Sarah Loucks of SAP all had valuable insights for those interested in starting programs of their own.
And last but not least, thank you to the hundreds of people who attended. Your engagement in the live chat discussion, support for our panel, and feedback after the event has been beyond valuable. We are grateful, and can’t wait to gather together again!