Autism: Strengths in the Workplace

Carly Jones MBE speaking to the Howden team

Carly Jones MBE speaks to Howden Group

The Disability Respect group are always looking at providing events that not only have relevance to our colleagues’ lives but that are also engaging and even fun. There is a fine line to presenting what can be a very personal subject matter in a way that can cause laughter as well as tears . . . Step in Carly Jones MBE.

Autism is a subject that has been in the headlines in the last couple of years, for example. with Melanie Sykes confirming her late diagnosis. Obtaining an early Diagnosis of autism can be very difficult, especially for girls, who do not tend to follow the social expectations of what autism looks like in a child. This means that it is not uncommon for a diagnosis to be given later in life or, in a lot of cases, not at all.

Our previous chair listened to Carly on a podcast and shared with the group. We knew instantly this was someone who we needed to speak at our office (we would highly suggest listening to the Guardian podcast as a starting point) and so were delighted when Carly accepted our offer of a lunch & learn at 1CP.

With over 30 people attending in person and the virtual attendees more than doubling that, the turnout was amazing (especially for a sunny Thursday lunchtime where most pubs will spilling out onto the streets at the time of the event).

Carly is a leading advocate in autism and has done everything from addressing the United Nations to gracing the Leftfield stage at Glastonbury Festival.  

Carly took us though her own journey of living with undiagnosed autism up until the age of 32 as well as the experience of raising 2 autistic daughters. The room hung on every single one of Carly’s words for the session and it was amazing to see how people opened up to her in the Q&A afterwards. Some had children with autism, sisters with a late diagnosis and an email received after the session stated how validated they felt as an autistic person and colleague of ours.

Rebecca Ince Chief Operating Officer of DUAL UK & Europe kindly sponsored the event and was one of many that stayed to speak to Carly after the event and the excellent lunch put on by Boki.

Screen shot of a powerpoint presentation featuring Carly Jones MBE speakiing at the Glastonbury Festival