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#NeurodiversityCelebrationWeek – Thoughts on being a CEO with ADHD

My name is Amanda and I am the CEO and a dance teacher for Move Momentum, and in June 2022 I was diagnosed with ADHD. So as part of #NeurodiversityCelebrationWeek, I thought I would share some thoughts.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. It aims to transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported by providing schools, universities, and organisations with the opportunity to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual.

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When I received my diagnosis, the psychiatrist said something that has stuck with me.

“It sounds like you’ve unknowingly created a career that suits your ADHD.” 

and honestly, I believe that was true.

For full disclosure, having ADHD hasn’t made things easy and has frequently made things more challenging in a work environment; missing meetings and deadlines, saying yes to too many things and ending up burnt out, forgetting about important tasks, and the list goes on.

However, I also believe that having ADHD has not been a negative thing in my job. I believe many positive outcomes for Move Momentum can be attributed to my neurodivergence.

On that note and given that it is #NeurodiversityCelebrationWeek, I would list some of the ways in which I believe being neurodivergent has helped me to be good at my job as a CEO of a small charity.

  1. Being accepting, flexible and understanding of different ways of working.
    I understand that everyone works differently and have facilitated a working environment where my team can work flexibly and find ways of working that suit their preferred working style. I am constantly trying to listen, learn and improve how we work together to support my team to be able to do their job in the most effective way for them.
  2. Being creative and able to problem-solve.
    People with ADHD are often considered to be particularly adept at being creative and problem-solving, and for me, these are both attributes that I strongly relate to. These attributes have helped me to come up with ideas for new projects, address challenges along the way and be open to considering various solutions.
  3. Being an empathetic and understanding leader.
    With the best will in the world, I understand that life challenges can arise, mistakes can happen or sometimes things just don’t go to plan. (We are all human!) However, with ADHD that happens a lot more often, but that also means that when it happens to others I am able to be more understanding and empathise with the person, focussing on giving support, managing the situation and then helping them to navigate an appropriate response.



“Working for Move Momentum has taught me a lot about my neurodivergence, mostly that it is ok to make mistakes and it’s not the end of the world! It’s about how you approach and deal with those things. They’ve also taught me how to utilise the strengths I do have and use them to the best of my ability.”

  1. Learning new things and constantly developing and growing.
    Unfortunately, that cliche that people with ADHD get bored easily, is all too true most of the time (for me at least). But the flip side of that is that I’m always looking for new things to learn, new projects to develop and ways to grow and I’ve developed lots of skills along the way which have helped me to get better at my job. Additionally, running a small charity often requires wearing lots of “different hats”, so that suits my ADHD brain well.
  2. Resilience!!
    Finally, I believe that having ADHD has helped make me more resilient. I think that this is likely because of the need to constantly navigate and deal with all the challenges that come with it and having to find ways to manage them has helped me to become a more resilient person.

I’m sure there are probably so many other ways in which being neurodivergent has had a positive effect on my successes within my role and on Move Momentum as a charity, but unsurprisingly, I’m now bored of writing so I will leave it there. 😉

Lastly, a big shout out to Yvette at Purple Leadership Coaching who coaches leaders of organisations with disabilities and neurodivergence, focussing on increasing the representation of leaders with disabilities in senior positions. The coaching I received with Yvette has massively helped me grow and develop as a leader and many of the positive changes I’ve implemented in my organisation have been as a result of this coaching.

Being neurodivergent despite all its’ challenges is not a negative thing and divergence is something that should be celebrated. We are all different and we can all bring unique skills and qualities to the world in whatever environment that is in, be that in the workplace, in relationships or our communities. So let’s cultivate a society where we embrace and celebrate those differences and work together to create a better world for everyone.

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