Women’s History Month: Celebrating Neurodiversity and Intersectionality

March 19th, 2024

By Manda Perkins, Director, Golin Corporate Digital

I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder in my late teens, but OCD is my life-long reality. As early as eight years old, I’ve experienced intrusive thoughts that are distressing, irrational, and often terrifying. My brain has developed various rituals, or compulsions, to cope.

OCD is more than being neat or particular about things—it’s a complex mental health condition that impacts my personal relationships and my work. I’m fortunate to receive the care I need and have many years of skill building and therapy to live a fulfilled life.

Living with OCD shapes the way I think and interact with the world. For example, I’m prone to seek out patterns, whether that’s in numbers, speech or even social interactions. I sometimes struggle in settings where I have to process many verbal and nonverbal cues simultaneously and can overcompensate by saying too much or too little in response.

People with OCD, autism, ADHD, dyslexia and other diagnoses are often considered neurodivergent, meaning our brains interpret and process information differently than what’s considered the norm. In fact, this applies to an estimated 10-20% of the global population.

We can’t truly celebrate Women’s History Month without highlighting the multifaceted identities of women. And recognizing neurodiversity acknowledges the complexity of women’s experiences and the intersections that weave the rich tapestry of our history. Like every person reading this, my identity exists at intersections of race, gender identity and expression, heritage, sexual orientation, neurodivergence, etc. These components — including OCD — shape who I am and how I show up in relationships and at work.

I’ve seen great strides in our industry to recognize neurodiversity and create more inclusive workplaces. There’s never been more discussion around various components of neuroinclusion, like flexible working to accommodate sensory sensitivities and evolved performance management with a strengths-based approach. Golin is a leader in this area; supporting neurodiversity is a central theme for DEI programming this year, and we continue to have these important conversations. I’m particularly proud to be a member of Golin’s newest employee resource group, THRIVE, made up of 40+ supportive and compassionate peers committed to empowering disabled talent.

In nine years navigating corporate America, not just being myself at work but feeling I can celebrate what makes me who I am is relatively new. I don’t have it entirely figured out yet. But for those with similar experiences, know you are not alone. I celebrate you.

Golin Global’s 2024 DEI priority is Taking Action: Advancing Mental Wellbeing and Neurodiversity.