This year, for the first time in VMworld/VMware Explore history Neurodiversity will be brought to the stage featuring myself, Jon Towles and Philip Monk. To say, we need your support is an understatement. My experience has shown that many companies tout diversity in the workplace. The sad reality is that sentiment isn’t always actualized. Today, I’m here to make my pitch for you to join us at Neurodiversity in the Workplace Panel: Stories of Struggles and Superpowers [VIB2876LV] hosted by Iris Polit on Wednesday August 23rd 2-2:45 PM Pacific Time from my POV.
My Background in Neurodiversity
Most people in the VMware EUC side are familiar with my outspoken nature. My ADHD is something I have embraced and spoken at great length about in recent years. Additionally, I had the pleasure of joining the Nerd Journey podcast with John White and Nick Korte to discuss my ADHD.
On top of that, I am someone who has two neurodiverse children (one with ADHD and one with Autism (we believe), which is filled with its own challenges). I continue to learn more about my neurodiversity as symptoms constantly evolve along with always wondering if I’m also autistic, but that is something I will discuss next month at Explore.
The sentiment that I realize matters most is that people with ADHD are like snowflakes, no two people are alike. This adds to the bias/lack of understanding for people like me is that normies think if they know one they know them all. My symptoms as you can read about in your article are vast:
- Extremely productive
- Multi-threaded brain
- No filter
- Constant internal dialogue
- Struggles with boredom, etc (read my blog here to learn more)
Why Attend My Neurodiversity Session at VMware Explore
So, why should you attend my session? From experience, I have had a 90+% approval rate on my sessions in my conference career at VMworld, VMware Explore, and AirWatch Connect.
With me, you will get someone incredibly organic and genuine if nothing else. This is something that is incredibly important to me. I’ve spent a ton of time over the last few years supporting other neurodiverse colleagues (many have reached out since I posted my articles ranging from people who said my blogs helped them understand their partners better to people who have felt like I do).
I plan on talking about many stigmatized topics like being held back due to who I am, how my wife (who is a Disability certified business owner of a medical writing company) and I own a company that supports many DEI initiatives overall to support people of all shapes, sizes, and talents.
Additionally, I will be giving out my special design ADHD/Neuro T-Shirts with the graphic you can see below (showcasing my daughter and myself with Autism and ADHD colors and the rainbow butterfly for ADHD):
Neurodiversity Call to Action at VMware Explore 2023
The number one reason people should attend is it’s rare that neurodiverse people get a voice in technology. It’s also widely known that similar sessions at VMware conferences have poor numbers (or at least in comparison to technology sessions). This is a CALL to ACTION for people who are neurodiverse or have friends, family, spouses, etc. who struggle from neurodiversity to come out and support us.
Most people struggle to have these open dialogues with their employers let alone hundreds of strangers. It’s easy for people to criticize, belittle, or diminish people that are different and this has caused many people to keep this to themselves. We can use as much support as possible in neurodiversity. So much is still so misunderstood. The days of managers and directors thinking his is just “something you can get over because you’re a smart person” are over. It’s time for us to not just talk about supporting diverse indicatives but ACTUALLY support diversity.
We remove the stigma by owning it and turning it into a superpower. We still have struggles just like any other person that exists in the world, but we can turn it into something powerful. We’re not just advocating ourselves but to our legacies that we leave behind.