ITM Neurodiversity Webinar Raises Awareness of How to Make Events More Inclusive

15 May 2024

ITM hosted the second in a series of webinars this week to raise awareness of the needs of neurodiverse individuals when attending meetings and events, and share practical solutions for creating a more inclusive experience.

The webinar was held on Monday 13th May to coincide with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and featured a thought-provoking and insightful discussion between three of the business travel industry’s biggest champions for better understanding of neurodiversity and mental health: Matt Holman, Founder of Simpila Wellbeing, Scott Wylie, CTO at TripStax, and Tiffany Casson, Corporate Client Relationship Manager at Inntel.

Matt Holman began the session by highlighting the very real link between mental health and neurodiversity. He explained that 15% of the UK population currently have been diagnosed with a neurodiverse condition, but the potential for those individuals to also develop mental health issues is significant. Indeed 80% of people with autism have at least one mental health condition, and neurodiverse children are three times more likely to face mental health challenges.

Scott Wylie shared a candid insight into his personal neurodiversity journey and diagnosis with ADHD three years ago. Scott heads up a large global tech team of IT developers and is a big believer in employing neurodiverse individuals. This includes spearheading an initiative at TripStax to adapt recruitment processes for neurodiverse individuals, for example conducting interviews via email.

Tiffany Casson is passionate about encouraging greater inclusivity in the business travel industry, better recruitment processes, and ensuring meetings and events cater for neurodiverse individuals’ needs. At Inntel, she has played a key role in creating a DE&I action plan, including a checklist for organising inclusive meetings events, to ensure physical, sensory and cognitive accessibility so that all delegates can participate fully. The checklist is available to download here.  Tiffany is also an ambassador for the business travel industry at Neurodiversity in Business (NiB) a business-led forum functioning as an industry group for organisations to share industry good practice on ND recruitment, retention and empowerment.

The panel went on to discuss other recommendations for fostering a company culture that embraces neurodiversity. Key takeaways in terms of their advice included:

“We are only just at the beginning of building awareness in the business travel industry, but everyone can get on board, and even join forces with competitors to keep the momentum going,” said Tiffany Casson.

“We have to treat each individual as an individual; they shouldn’t be forced to conform to the perceived norm. Who defines what ‘normal’ means anyway? Everyone should be given the opportunity to be the best version of themselves,” said Scott Wylie.

“People with ADHD have a heightened sense of rejection, so it’s important to be very careful how you might tell them they haven’t been successful in a job application,” said Matt Holman.

ITM will continue to champion this conversation so stay up to date with ITMs event calendar for further announcements. Check the ITM events page for further announcements.