AMCHAM’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee organized a webinar on ‘Neurodiversity – Demystifying Myths and Building an Inclusive Culture at the Workplace’ November 22nd over Webex. The session commenced with opening remarks by Ms. Surabhi Wahal, Regional Director – Western Region, AMCHAM followed by Mr. Shailendra Jagtap, Vice Chair – Western Region, AMCHAM and Managing Director & Country Manager, John Deere India Pvt. Ltd. who welcomed the esteemed panel of speakers and set the stage for the event.
In his special address, Mr. David J. Ranz, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai, spoke of how the U.S. American Disability Act has broken barriers to embrace and harness the unique potential of neurodivergent individuals in society and the workplace. He also highlighted the measures adopted and initiatives undertaken by the U.S. Consulate General Mumbai to build an inclusive culture. He stated that organizations will further benefit by onboarding neuro diverse talent and urged U.S. companies to engage and share best practices.
The panel discussion that followed saw eminent speakers including Mr. David J. Ranz, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai, Mr. Hiren C. Shukla, Director – Automation & Innovation / Neuro-Diverse Center of Excellence, Ernst & Young LLP, United States, Mr. Burgess Cooper, Partner – Deputy Cyber Leader | Consulting Services, Ernst & Young LLP, India, Dr. Anita Rego (MSW, MPhil, PhD) Director, Pearlss 4 Development and Mr. P. Rajasekharan, Co-Founder, v-shesh. The panel was moderated by Ms. Aashish B. Kasad, Partner | Tax & Regulatory Services | National Leader – Chemicals and Agriculture Sector | India Region Diversity & Inclusiveness Business Sponsor, Ernst & Young LLP. The discussion focused on opportunities to leverage the potential of neurodiverse professionals, challenges faced by neurodivergent people, some best practices on hiring process for neuro diverse talent, key obstacles organizations need to address, the effect of remote working due to the pandemic on neurodivergent professionals and advice for the top leadership on making neurodiversity a practical reality in organizations.
Insightful testimonials via several videos brought to fore experiences of neuro divergent hires who shared their onboarding journeys, the support and guidance received from the organizations, work experiences, COVID related challenges of remote working, the empowering recognition of their skills and talents, and last but not least, their desire to retire from these wonderful and empowering organizations. A Q&A segment followed. The event concluded with closing remarks and a vote of thanks by Ms. Zainab Patel, Director Diversity & Inclusion, KPMG in India.