A Gen Z, a millennial and a Gen X walk into… a conversation about neurodiversity. We asked three of our GOLD79 team, from different generations and different levels within the business what their experiences around neurodiversity are and their thoughts on creating an inclusive working environment.


What does neurodiversity mean to you?


Eve, Multimedia creative, Gen Z:

I identify as neurodiverse, especially because I don’t just have an ADHD diagnosis, but I also have a dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia, diagnosis. I think the term is important because it emphasises how nuanced our brains can be. It’s not about deficit, it’s about difference.

Not to downplay the difficulties, but I can excel where some neurotypicals might struggle: I can think on my feet, I’m very creative, I’m a dynamic person, I find it easy to make friends, I’m great in a crisis, and I can pull inspiration from a lot of different sources.


Seeta Wrightson, Director of Digital Marketing, Millennial:

Neurodiversity has been something I’ve had a growing awareness of over the past few years. Some of those closest to me were diagnosed with autism and ADHD in 2021 and it started making me look a little closer at myself. I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2023 and it brought into sharp focus a lot of the challenges I had faced throughout my life. I’ve done a lot of research and felt a certain comfort from knowing it’s not just me, but also that some of my struggles have been around trying to fit my square peg brain into the round hole of neurotypical standards.

I’m coming to accept who I am, and to work with it instead of berating myself for being “less than”. Because I’m not. I’m just me.


Rhona Templer, Group Managing Director, Gen X:

To be honest, the term ‘ND’ wasn’t on my radar until recently. Of course, I have encountered many people who are on the spectrum, I was even married to a man who I’m sure is – but I’d not been aware that they had a ‘thing’. It’s just how they are and I accept people at face-value.

I have a brilliant friend with two boys who are autistic and a couple of others whose children were diagnosed with ADHD early on and I guess my understanding of it grew from there. But I didn’t really think beyond that. I didn’t initially think whether any of my team might be neuro-divergent and how we’d need to adapt working practices to accommodate.

To begin with, when the media started to highlight it and we looked at it more closely at the agency, I must confess to being slightly sceptical. As I’ve always been one to work all hours, never tire, and go the extra mile, I’ve always expected others to do the same – and you can imagine the eternal disappointment when they don’t! Thanks to Seeta and Eve joining our team and being so open about their experiences and needs, my understanding of it now is so much better. I see advantages of having ND members of the team and the skills and talents they provide, while then recognising how we have to adapt to help them deliver great work.



How do you think our understanding of neurodiversity has evolved over time?



I’ve never really experienced true discrimination because of my neurodiversity. The fact that I was dyslexic, was accepted at school; I was given a personal tutor, I was taken out of French lessons to catch up on my Maths and English, and then I had French tutoring after school.

However, when I first got my diagnosis in year one, I remember my primary school teacher telling me to apologise to the class for taking a longer time with spelling tests. As someone with serious short-term memory problems, I couldn’t recall the words we’d just been shown and had to memorise.

The truth is I am incredibly lucky. In the past, so many neurodiverse people struggled, thought they were stupid, and were either very late diagnosed, or not diagnosed, or had a diagnosis that was ignored and often were belittled. Nowadays more teachers are trained, more people know about disabilities, and people are more understanding. We still need more education, especially in the corporate world. There’s a fair amount of support for students with these disabilities but for some, it feels like it disappears when entering the working world so be great if there were more neurodiverse initiatives within the workplace.



I grew up with the message that ADHD was another term for badly-behaved. I didn’t actually believe it existed until it started getting more attention in the media and a lot of characteristics rang true. But I don’t know that if I’d recognised it earlier than in my 30s I would have had the support I needed, because it didn’t feel like it was there at school or uni – and certainly not in the first steps I took in my career.

I had some really bad experiences with burnout because I realised I had to work much harder to achieve and progress than many of my colleagues, and I put it down to me being incompetent. It’s exhausting having a brain which is firing at a million miles an hour. I didn’t have the knowledge in place to recognise that I might not be able to work in the same way as others. There’s definitely more awareness around this now.

When I spoke to my team at GOLD79 after my diagnosis they were and have continued to be extremely supportive. I’ve also worked really closely with Rhona to help put in place a framework for Neurodiversity which means we’re set up to support whoever may need it, to be able to do their best work in their best way.



When I was at school, those who were ND (I can say with hindsight), didn’t flourish. They were the ‘naughty’ kids, excluded from class for being disruptive. They were the ‘weird’ ones whose social interaction didn’t conform to the norm and made us feel uncomfortable. I think dyslexia had just about been recognised, but that just meant that my best friend (who was diagnosed) had the pleasure of sitting next to me in class and copying what I wrote.

So in today’s society, we are so much better at recognising the symptoms and finding solutions but it’s really early days. There’s lots more progress to make and I feel like the awareness and understanding is only just starting. My generation 50+ have probably got the biggest adjustment to make. We are Thatcher’s children as my father likes to remind me, so the ethos was work every hour to better yourself and then work even longer. There was no allowance for weakness. You didn’t bring ‘your whole self’ anywhere. Personal life and professional life were firmly in different buckets. So if you were easily distracted by noise around you or experienced brain-fog, that was your problem – you just got the job done somehow.

Now, at GOLD79, we’ve introduced a policy to make it clear how we offer support. We have a questionnaire for all of the team upon joining the business to ask them how they prefer to be briefed, receive feedback and if they wish to divulge any neurodiverse challenges then they are welcome to do so. We’re providing training so that the wider team understand what it’s like for someone who lives with ADHD or autism for example and we’re making small changes the working environment and agency life to support everyone.


What are some common misconceptions about neurodiversity you’d like to address?



I’d love to dispel the myth that “That children outgrow ADHD”. You don’t. In fact, to me it feels like it got worse as I became an adult, because I had less structure, and no one to regulate me. As an adult I need to worry about:

  • doing my laundry
  • keeping the house clean
  • turning up to work on time
  • making sure I eat lunch, and making sure I eat dinner
  • staying fit
  • brushing my teeth

All of this takes conscious effort.

Another myth is “people with ADHD can’t ever focus – it’s an attention deficit disorder”, I have trouble focusing on things that are boring and don’t provide me with dopamine. But if I’m interested in something – the world fades away, nothing interests me more, I don’t get hungry or thirsty, and nothing can distract me from that task. If you break my focus I may not be able to get that level of concentration back. My hyperfocus could be such a useful thing but I can’t control when it happens.



For ADHD in particular, I feel like people don’t always take it seriously. And I hate when people say it’s a super-power. Sometimes it provides an amazing burst of creativity and focus, sometimes I’m in an anxiety ridden, overwhelmed, tearful slump where my brain is a noisy and chaotic place.

I think people do assume it’s a condition all about hyperactivity. That’s so far from the truth. It’s sensory overwhelm, it’s burnout and exhaustion, it’s uncontrollable bursts of energy and all this can contribute to mental health issues as well. I’m in a place where I have much more awareness of my needs and how I can combat a lot of this. It means the world to me to have been able to help guide frameworks we’ll implement across the company to help others as well.



A common misperception is that we can all work the same way. We work in a very fast-paced and challenging industry where you have to be incredibly good at everything from people management, to finance, to creative thinking – and that’s all before your first cup of coffee in the morning. As such, there have been some pretty spectacular people over the years who have achieved amazing things. And there is an expectation that everyone can achieve what’s required if they just apply themselves.

Back in 90s businesses may have flourished and not recognised or supported ND employees. Good for them, but just think, if they’d recognised and harnessed that talent better, how much more could they have achieved?


What steps can organisations take to create a more inclusive environment for neurodiverse people?



Ask neurodiverse people what their needs are and think about adaptations you may need to make, to ways of working, or even the office environment. Do some of your own research, read about how neurodiverse challenges can manifest themselves. Do people require quiet rooms? Do they require darkrooms? Do they need noise cancelling headphones? Do they need a way to indicate that they shouldn’t be disturbed?

When I applied for jobs straight from uni, there was a question that said: “Do you have any disabilities that you’d like to disclose to us?” and I clicked “No” because in 2020 all the discourse I’d read online had said: “Don’t let them know  you’re neurodiverse when you’re applying for a job, you won’t get hired”. I hope that we get to talk about our neuro-inclusive policies so much that no one ever feels unsure about ticking that box ever again.

In work, you can encourage people to talk about it, share their experiences. Some people don’t even think their experiences are valid enough for them to seek diagnosis until someone else says “Oh I had these symptoms, and this is how I got a referral, and I went and got a diagnosis”.



Communication and education are key. Foster a culture where people feel ok to talk about the challenges they face and aren’t stigmatised for it. Accept individual differences and don’t expect that everyone can or will be able to work the same way.

Have allies and advocates within your business to speak up on behalf of those who may not feel as comfortable with being vocal about challenges. Training is a must if you want everyone to have their best chance at success and prep your leadership team to identify additional support needs in their teams. Be consistent – this is why having frameworks in place gives you a set of standards to adhere to that are clear to all.



Firstly create a policy outlining your support and actions that you’re going to do.

Feeding into this, you need someone with knowledge. We are lucky enough to have people within our agency who can advise and help shape this and are keen to do so. Otherwise, you need an external expert to help guide you.

Awareness and understanding is essential across the team, so training with senior leaders initially should be accompanied by additional sessions with the wider team.

  • Listen to what your team have to say
  • Be patient and encouraging
  • Make adjustments happen
  • Provide a continual programme of support / awareness raising – this is not a one-hit wonder