When Microsoft approached me this summer about collaborating for Microsoft Ignite, I was obviously pretty stoked. 🤯 Their Diversity in Tech team was just as passionate about neurodiversity as I was, so I knew right away, it was a collaboration that would feed my soul. ✨
After some back and forth chats with their team, we went from brainstorming over potential posters to affirmation cards, and finally, their team decided to go with one of my existing mental health themed products that I created to benefit mental health programs in Central Florida.
Months later, their event at the Orange County Convention Center is here, and 400 of my Neurodiversity is Neat pins will be given to attendees. Wow. 🧠💪 Thanks to this partnership, I was able to donate $400 to the Mental Health Association of Central Florida. 💕
As if that wasn't enough, I was invited to speak as part of a panel on intersectionality and diversity in tech and about my experience as someone diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I was joined by some amazing humans in tech who live everyday with diagnoses like anxiety, ADHD, depression, dyslexia. I'm hoping there will be a replay of this session so I can share it with all of you!
I'm especially thankful to the young woman in the audience who came all the way to Orlando from Algeria, and bravely shared with the room her own mental health journey. That takes guts, and she's got them, along with a brightness and joie de vivre that was contagious. I couldn't help but bee line my way to her and give her a hug after getting off the stage 💕
Three years ago after walking out of South Seminole Hospital - bleary-eyed, medicated, and coping with thoughts of suicide - I would not have imagined I would be anywhere close to where I am today. I truly mean this 👏 - a mental health diagnosis is not defeat. It is just the beginning.