#TheEmployables – Nancy’s story

Human potential is neurodiverse.

In our species, there is variety in size, color, personality and intelligence – for a reason!

It makes sense to have a large group of ‘generalist’ thinkers and a handful of ‘specialists’.  Where those specialisms go to extremes, this can be disabling.

But there’s a whole swathe of people who feel disabled mainly because the world has put up rigid barriers to success, not because they haven’t got talent.

My story of working with #The Employables

I have worked with neurodiversity since 1995, when I was a care worker in a residential home for people who were not able to live without support.  In this setting, I met many people who contributed to my personal development and offered me wisdom and connection.

As an early career Psychologist I worked with people who were long term unemployed and unable to access the job market, mainly because they had a different set of behavioral norms which came out at interview, not because they weren’t able to do the job.

I’ve worked with young men in prisons who typically have the same IQ profile as my students seeking disability support in medical school for dyslexia.

My corporate and business clients fret about the employees with ‘promise’ who hit brick walls in middle management, the need for innovative thinking and the war for talent.

The link between all these examples is the ‘fit’ between the person and their environment.  Our environments are inflexible and our people are diverse. It’s not working.  Around 15% of the human population is socially excluded and we are missing out on 15% of human potential.  In moving on from the industrial age to the systemic, information age, neurodiversity is an excellent lens through which to understand how we need to change.

In 2014 a TV researcher came to ask me if it was true that people with disabilities like ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Tourettes and Dyspraxia had talent, as featured in some business press. I replied “100%” and explained the mission of my life’s work, and my social enterprise, Genius Within.  We made a pilot for the BBC and the rest is history.  Having made 2 series with the BBC in the UK,  I am delighted to come back to my USA roots and share this joy with America.  America is ready for this message, I think we’re going to change the way things are done around here.

And for full disclosure, I am a woman with ADHD, undiagnosed until my 30’s because of assumptions about ADHD and bad behavior. My teenage years were peppered with anxiety, depression, self-harm until I learned to accommodate my own strengths and weaknesses and developed a connection with my purpose, my mission and my tribe.

My grandfather told me when I was 18 years old that I was not destined to follow the trodden path, but to go where there is no path and leave a trail (Emerson).  I’m fully aware that I stand at the intersection of gender, race, the educational achievements of my parents and that were it not for some lucky breaks, many places but for the grace of God would go I.  I hope that you enjoy the show, it is a big part of my pay back to the world, both for the individuals whose stories you will love, and for those who watch.  You are not alone, we’re on this mission.


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