Spotlight Session: Support and Encouraging Neurodiversity image
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Wednesday 15th June 2022

Spotlight Session: Support and Encouraging Neurodiversity

2:30pm - 3:30pm

Perhaps more than any other sector, the creative industries relies on unique perspectives to solve problems, develop new products and services and surface new ways of working- but just how accessible an environment is it for neurodivergent creatives, how can the sector better promote cognitive diversity- and how do more traditional assessments of ability add barriers? This panel session brings together speakers with a depth of knowledge and experience to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by people with neurodivergent features, whether we are doing enough to allow everyone to work to their potential, offer perspectives on better recruitment and discuss support for those who fall into this category already in employment across the sector.


    Dr Nancy Doyle

    Dr Nancy Doyle is a Chartered Psychologist, in organisational and occupational psychology and the founder and owner of Genius Within CIC, a social enterprise dedicated to facilitating neurodiversity inclusion through consultancy, talent assessment, workshops and coaching for businesses. Dr Doyle’s ambition is a future where all neurominorities are able to maximise their potential and work to their strengths.

    She also co-created and featured in both series of the award-winning BBC Two series Employable Me, where she supported a group of extraordinary job seekers to unlock their own unique talents and abilities in order to secure employment. Syndicated in 2019 in the USA as The Employables, Dr Doyle continued to deliver the trademark positive assessments and Employable Genius group coaching with some extraordinary individuals as they search for work. The show has been incredibly successful illustrating that neurodiversity should not be a barrier to employment.

    Dr Doyle is also the Co-Director of first UK centre for Neurodiversity research with Birkbeck, University of London having completed her Doctoral Research at City University of London. She advises NGOs, international and national civil servants and political groups on how to improve disability inclusion. In 2019 she was recognised by the British Psychological Society with an award for her contribution to Policy Impact in Occupational Psychology.


    Chris Bonnello
    Autistic Advocate, Award-winning Writer & Teacher

    Chris Bonnello is an autistic advocate, award-winning writer and international speaker, also a novelist and a teacher in an autism-specific special school (formerly a primary school teacher). In 2015 he launched Autistic Not Weird to share his insights from both a personal and professional perspective, a venture which has seen him attract 155,000 Facebook followers and over 3 million page hits on his website (, as well as speaking engagements as far away as India and Sydney Opera House. He is the author of the novel series “Underdogs”, a series of dystopia books with heroes from a special school, and “What We Love Most About Life”, an uplifting book designed to help autistic young people feel less alone. He was a nominee for the 2017 National Diversity Awards (Positive Role Model for Disability), two-time winner at the Autism Hero Awards (Top Journalist 2017, Online Social Community 2018) and won the National Autistic Society Professionals Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Individual on the Autism Spectrum in 2019.

    Whitney IIes
    CEO, Project 507

    Whitney holds multiple professional roles and has over 20 years of experience as a front-line practitioner working with young people and communities affected by violence. Her experience expands across the community and criminal justice system, having worked in several prison estates with high-risk individuals.

    She has trained in forensic psychodynamic and organisational psychotherapy at the Tavistock and Portman Clinic and Association for Psychodynamic Practice and Counselling in Organisational Settings. Her specialist focus is on violence and trauma using a psychoanalytic framework, which influences her work as both a practitioner and trainer. In 2019, Whitney completed an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development at SOAS. She is currently studying for an MSc in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health at King’s College London, as well as a Diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition at the College of Naturopathic Medicine.

    Sarah Durkin
    Senior HR Manager at HIE

    Sarah is an HR professional with a wealth of experience. She is currently Senior HR Manager with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, but has previously held HR Roles in Police Scotland, and in the oil and gas sector. She has also worked as a business change consultant, partnering with small and medium sized businesses to support their operational strategies during periods of growth and restructure focussing on organisational design and change, talent development, workforce planning, organisational development and design, compensation and reward, resourcing strategy.

    Steve Hill
    Commercial Director, Auticon UK

    Steve Hill is Commercial Director at auticon UK, a unique, multi-national IT consultancy and social enterprise, which exclusively employs autistic adults as IT consultants. Steve has started and sold several businesses as well as having had senior roles in large tech companies including IBM, Samsung and most recently the technology division of McLaren F1.


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