Her company initiatives around disability are neurodivergent-run and neurodivergent-led, notes Nat Lyckowski, global neurodiversity advancement leader, IBM. “We really embrace ‘nothing about us, without us.’”
WorkingNation sat down with Lyckowski at the 2023 Disability:IN Conference in Orlando.
She says a new initiative that encourages executives to self-disclose disabilities is very important to the workforce. “Having that executive support is so important in that self-identity campaign. It builds that sense of trust. It builds that sense of empathy across the board. We know one in 20 individuals that you meet are neurodivergent – whether that’s in your home community, the office, your client, we need to go through and embrace all identities.”
Lyckowski says, “If we are openly saying neurodiversity, it can make somebody feel more comfortable. We have been focused on training and I think we’re just at about 13,000 IBMers to complete our neurodiversity acceptance training. All IBMers have to take so much training per year so it’s a great way to fulfill that requirement.”
“We’re really starting to move the needle on acceptance and that’s what we need,” says Lyckowski. “Our three ‘A’s’ of our program are awareness – which is a great place to start but if you stay there, that’s passive. The next step up is acceptance. The final stage would be advancement where neurodivergents are being given career development opportunities and making sure that they have a great career.”
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