Episode Archive

SCP E223 The Importance of Neurodiversity in Smart Communities, with Ashleigh Wilson

Hi #smartcommunityfriends! In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast I have a great conversation with Ashleigh Wilson, a Community Manager at Coder Academy and a Neurodiversity Advocate. We recorded this in late 2020 so you may hear us refer to 2021 a lot. In this episode we talk about Ashleigh’s background and how an interest in tech led to her studying IT and then becoming passionate about diversity and community in the tech world. Ashleigh tells us about her experience disclosing her Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis to her work and community and how this has led to her public speaking and neurodiversity advocacy work. Ashleigh explains the importance of neurodiversity in Smart Communities, and why she advocates for hybrid approaches to work and business rather than traditional silos. We talk about Ashleigh’s role at Coder Academy and how her willingness to follow curiosity and give new things a go has led to her career progression there. Ashleigh and I then discuss the importance of community and checking in with each other in this digital world we live in now, especially in the wake of the pandemic. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of online education, Coworking 3.0 and career pivots. As always we hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it. 

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Ashleigh’s background in IT and passion for diversity and community in the tech world 
  • Ashleigh’s experience disclosing her Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis to her work and community
  • How this has led to her public speaking and neurodiversity advocacy work
  • What sparked her interest in Community and Smart Community 
  • The importance of neurodiversity in general and in Smart Communities  
  • Why Ashleigh advocates for hybrid approaches to work and business rather than traditional silos
  • About Ashleigh’s role at Coder Academy
  • How a willingness to follow curiosity and give new things a go has led to her career progression there
  • The importance of community and checking in with each other personally, even though our lives are so digital now, especially in the wake of the pandemic
  • What Ashleigh did to build her skill sets while stood down during 2020’s lockdown 
  • The emerging trends of online education, Coworking 3.0 and career pivots
  • The power of asking the question ‘what makes me remarkable?’

Quotes:

“Smart community for me is about bringing the community together, it’s also about bringing new innovative ideas and being able to not have it siloed but also communicate and talk about how can we bring those ideas to life.”

“Despite what has happened in 2020 for not just me but for so many of us, businesses and individuals, it’s also about finding how can we support each other in this digital age that we now have to grow accustomed to.”

“Meetups and events and conferences that have now had to switch to virtual… it’s now become no matter where you are in the world, you can now attend these events virtually and you’re going to get so much information from some of the most extraordinary people within that space. That, to me, is really good.”

“I’m also one of those people where I will ask a lot of questions only because I’m keen. I just need to know more as to the ins and outs of it, and just asking, why is it this way? Or how can we do things differently?”

“In this day and age, there’s a lot of workplaces that are now supporting neurodiversity in their spaces, like Microsoft, IBM, SAP, BHP… It’s about finding other industries and companies that are bringing more neurodiversity into their spaces, and if not, what can we do to make a difference, especially long term?”

“The power of learning from your home or from the library or from a cafe. No matter where you are, you can learn something new. We can now bring that into fruition in our workplaces and schools and home life. So I think that’s also what 2020 has brought: those emerging [online learning] technologies that are coming to life, which is really cool.

“There’s a lot of mental health programs that are now becoming available online and I think that’s actually really good they are starting to emerge. You don’t have to [have the ability to] go to a physical doctor, you can actually use technology to steer you in the right direction for that, for the best support from there.”

Links:

Coder Academy

PluralSight Conference

Brisbane Coworking River City Labs

ShePivots 

Connect:

Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Ashleigh on LinkedIn and Twitter @ashlebug

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community 

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.

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