Neurodivergent Women and Leadership

Tammy-Dowley Blackman Group is committed to advancing leadership centered around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Belonging (DEIAB), through TDB Group Strategic Advisory, a management consulting firm specializing in organizational and leadership development for the corporate, government, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors, Looking Forward Lab, offering innovative workforce and professional development solutions for Gen Z, and our newest brand, Cooper + Lowe, a B2B incubator for women interested in transitioning to entrepreneurship and thought leadership platforms.

Tammy Dowley-Blackman, Founder and CEO, notes that, “Female entrepreneurs represent the fastest growing category of entrepreneurship worldwide, Black women’s entrepreneurship has doubled over the past decade, and women account for 42% of all US businesses. Women-owned businesses generate more than 1.9 trillion dollars annually. It’s spectacular. But currently, there is very little cultural support for female entrepreneurs. It’s important to celebrate and promote successful women founders and the role models they can become.” This includes neurodivergent women. 

Understanding Neurodiversty 

According to Harvard Medical School, “Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one ‘right’ way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits. The word neurodiversity refers to the diversity of all people, but it is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as other neurological or developmental conditions such as ADHD or learning disabilities.” 

Forbes, discussing Richard Branson’s ADHD diagnosis in 2019, stated that, “Neurodiversity has become a popular topic in business, with diversity and inclusion teams now truly understanding the benefits of cognitive difference and seeking out recruits for talent management.” According to Forbes, between 15-20% of the population is neurodiverse. In addition, people with ASD, ADHD, and/or dyslexia have shown to be more creative, thorough, focused, and capable of thinking outside the box than their neurotypical peers. 

Neurodivergent Women Make Great Leaders — Why Don’t We Have More of Them?

On June 7, 2023, She Knows published an article titled, “Neurodivergent Women Make Great Leaders — Why Don’t We Have More of Them?” Stating that “the top CEOs and billionaire moguls are often men,” the author, Jocelyn Solis-Moreira, addressed gender bias, stereotyping, and the misunderstanding of neurodivergence, as well as delayed or misdiagnosis due to the medical gaslighting of women as contributing factors. “Research shows women are more likely than men to be undiagnosed or diagnosed later in life with a neurodivergent condition,” according to Solis-Moreira, which can “set girls back in school, and later in the workforce.” In addition, Solis-Moreira noted that, “When women are open about their neurodivergence, they are treated in different (negative) ways for the same behavior as neurodivergent men.” 

On July 24, 2023, The Hill added to the conversation, in an opinion piece by Shanaz Hemmati. Hemmati argued that, “The gender disparity in entrepreneurship is an ongoing issue, and this new layer of bias adds further complexity and challenge. Neurodiverse female entrepreneurs face the disadvantage of being overlooked due to unfounded perceptions about their abilities.” Combining “the challenges of gender biases and neurological differences,” neurodivergent women “encounter greater obstacles than their male counterparts.” 

Overcoming The Neurodivergence Double Standard 

On May 12, 2023, Fortune’s Paige McGlauflin reported that, while neurodivergence can be “a career maker for men like Elon Musk and Kanye West, women aren’t afforded the same privilege.” “That isn’t to say women are entirely absent from these lists,” according to McGlauflin. “For instance, real estate mogul and Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran has attributed her multimillionaire status to her dyslexia. But men largely occupy the spotlight.”

Barbara Corcoran began her New York real estate business with a $1000 loan. Today, her company is worth $5 billion. In her role as a “Shark” (and executive producer) on the Emmy-award winning reality show, Shark Tank, she is helping others to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. As an advocate for women in business and DEIAB, Tammy-Dowley Blackman Group applauds inspiring neurodivergent women like Corcoran and other neurodiverse female founders that are overcoming gender and neurological biases, and shattering glass ceilings

Cooper + Lowe Orange E-Box™ Course

The Orange E-Box™ is a course through Cooper + Lowe, designed at the request of women interested in entrepreneurship and leadership roles that utilize and showcase their unique skills. In creating the Orange E-Box™, we are facilitating a B2B marketplace for women entrepreneurs and thought leaders to connect, partner, and support one another. This cohort model provides six learning and planning sessions (of approximately two hours each), access to ready-to-use templates, 15+ learning module videos, guest speakers, dedicated executive coaching, the opportunity to create a tailored Orange E-Box™ action plan, and a certificate of completion.

Cooper + Lowe is building an ecosystem that puts women leaders’ success at the center by helping them to create a customized entrepreneurial experience. We invite you to join us on this journey and feel the success that is waiting for you! Click here or contact us today to get started.

Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC is a certified National Supplier Development CouncilMinority Business Enterprise (MBE), Small Business Administration (SBA) Woman OwnedSmall Business (WOSB), and Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council (WBENC) woman-owned company. The company is comprised of a suite of brands, including TDB Group Strategic Advisory, a management consulting firm; Looking Forward Lab, a learning and development company focused on Gen Z, which partners with corporations and higher education systems to offer a full-service learning engagement model that delivers workforce development solutions; and Cooper + Lowe, an incubator for women interested in transitioning to entrepreneurship and thought leadership using the tools of a company that has successfully scaled.

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