Our CEO: ‘Dyslexia’s my secret weapon’
Being a woman in tech, living in a foreign land and launching your own business are all hard enough… but what if you’ve got dyslexia too? It’s a condition that comes with its own challenges and stigmas, but Cloud9 Insight’s CEO Carlene Jackson has harnessed this apparent hurdle; in fact, in a recent interview with Image’s Amanda Cassidy, she spoke about how having dyslexia in the workplace comes with its advantages.
“Life is about all about overcoming challenges and, if you are dyslexic, you’re used to that. You don’t always succeed on the first attempt, so you learn perseverance.”
From dreams of running a catering company to ambitions as an air traffic controller, Carlene speaks openly about her career and experiences beyond dyslexia, but also sheds valuable light on how some roles just aren’t set up for certain elements of neurodiversity. Dyslexia in the workplace, for many employees can feel alienating, and presents an unwelcome array of extra challenges.
“Before setting up my own business, I moved into the IT sector and did very well in sales. The tech sector is obviously male-dominated, and this puts off a lot of women. I think that’s a terrible shame and that’s something I’d like to address. There are a lot of opportunities missed.”
In her own words:
“Like many with my condition, I wasn’t diagnosed until much later in life, when I was an adult. I always knew I was different at school but put it down to being a summer baby, as I was born in July. I did wonder, though, why I could never remember my spellings and times tables like others in the class.
Many people think dyslexia is all about word blindness or being unable to read. But I can read and write pretty well. I passed all of my exams before leaving school – including maths and English. Dyslexia affects how the brain processes information — we tend to need more time. So, for me, things like remembering names and faces take a huge amount of effort and is something that I really struggle with.”
What’s your secret weapon at work? How would you cater to dyslexia in the workplace?