Ahead of Tech Show London, Techerati spoke with Georgina Shute, Delivery Lead at Equal Experts, about neurodiversity in the workplace and how business leaders can be an intersectionality ally.
Georgina will appear on a panel to discuss the importance of intersectionality at DevOps Live 2023 on 8-9 March at ExCeL London.
What is your experience of neurodiversity in the workplace?
For Georgina, having ADHD has, in fact, helped her start a charity, learn another language, and lead UK-wide programs and DevOps transformations.
The challenges, on the other hand, can be difficult to explain for Georgina. “For example, being really overwhelmed if I’m taking on too much and not reaching out for help in fear of looking stupid, or sometimes not being able to do really simple tasks like filling out a timesheet,” she said.
Georgina wishes to be in a position where her story can help people recognise the strengths in being neurodivergent.
“If you can’t see it, then you can’t be it. If we do not talk about neurodiversity and intersectionality, and the positives it can bring, then we cannot change the narrative,” said Georgina.
In the context of DevOps, some of the principles and approaches to finding creative solutions and focusing on the minutiae of a problem can be applied to achieving intersectional goals. Giving clear instructions or asking questions are simple and small, yet effective, efforts that can be made to make everyone feel acknowledged and comfortable in the workplace. But ultimately, many of the changes to enable intersectionality are stemmed in kindness for Georgina.
“Kindness is compounding. Supporting people can make a workplace much more interesting and vibrant. If an environment is more interesting, we can also improve efficiency, speed up product delivery, and deliver better things to our customers,” added Georgina.
What are the benefits of intersectionality?
By creating a supportive and safe environment where differences are embraced and people of all backgrounds are accepted, this naturally creates happier people and the potential for greater productivity.
On the benefits of intersectionality, Georgina said: “I think it widens your talent pool. I think we can make some really awesome things together by embracing differences.”
To be an ally for intersectionality and of neurodivergent people, the key is to give a platform for those that do not often have a voice, or be the voice for them when they are not in the room.
Georgina, in fact, had a situation during meeting with senior leaders to prepare for a consultancy pitch.
“The fact that I made it into the room was really scary, but also really exciting,” said Georgina.
During the meeting, Georgina was told that she was not going to be part of the pitch due to her lack of seniority at the time.
“But there was someone who spoke up for me. They said that because I would be leading the work, it would set us apart during the pitch.”
In the end, the pitch was won. “The fact that someone was a voice for me and gave me a platform was a really brave thing to do,” said Georgina.
In the future, Georgina hopes that differences are seen as a positive and not a threat, which can create a workplace that embraces neurodiversity and intersectionality.