Shawn Fry founded the Neurodiversity Foundation in 2016, then partnered with Alex Pearson to promote a "Strengths First" mentality, advance research, testing and awareness in autism in women. Since both experienced late diagnosis of Autism, each bring a unique perspective of straddling the lines between NT and ND, male and female, youth and experience and have successfully filled in so many gaps in the current understanding of ASD. Despite finding what others would define as success in the corporate world, both felt their abilities and talents weren't truly understood by others in traditional workplace and social environments. Together they seek to change the narrative around neurodivergent capability through cultivating an environment where we can all be relentlessly authentic.
Shawn Fry, Founder and Chief Science Officer.
Shawn, became a successful executive and entrepreneur after being diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 42. He found success in his professional career only after he was afforded the opportunity as an executive in the healthcare industry to exercise a great deal of autonomy in his role. Shawn’s propensity for detail, hard questions and divergent solutions produced millions in both new revenue opportunity and cost savings for his employer. His innovative approach to the complexity of healthcare data laid the foundation for his entrepreneurial company, Prevalent Health where he left corporate America behind, hired nearly 150 employees and created his own "neurodiverse workplace culture". Shawn found that by cultivating an environment dependent upon open, honest dialogue, clear communication and vulnerability, the workplace culture was more supportive and accommodating to everyone's needs. People were happier, more productive and turnover rates were 0% after nearly 15 years. Shawn sold his company to private equity in 2019 and has dedicated the rest of his life to embracing neurodiversity and the powers it unlocks through thought leadership, personal security and self-esteem in one’s uniqueness. Shawn founded the Neurodiversity Foundation in 2016 in hopes of removing barriers and changing the narrative around neurodivergence in all professional fields and social environments. Shawn aims to drastically improve quality of life for neurodivergent individuals through the Neurodiversity Foundation’s goals to facilitate self-efficacy, acceptance, connection, and strengthen our communities and workforce
Alex Pearson, Chief Experience Officer.
Alex, is a groundbreaking leader in research on autism in females. Being proudly autistic, she has acquired a massive social media following with videos reaching millions of views empowering more women to embrace their uniqueness at a time when women are overlooked. Alex’s history is similar to many who go through early life recognizing she exhibited some of the traits, yet seeking to understand her own human experience while procuring her Master’s Degree in I/O psychology. While transitioning in her role at Potentia Workforce, specializing in creating opportunity for the neurodiverse , she was faced with experts and a boss on the spectrum who encouraged her to seek her own diagnosis. Upon completion of her academic study and driven by her innate curiosity she has accepted that her relentless tangential thoughts often associated with anxiety are truly “Autistic Superpowers” giving her acute analytical capability and the ability to assimilate disparate data into meaningful fact patterns that impact perspective and performance on human and informational capital.
Utilizing her “masking” strategy early in life had served Alex well in terms of optics (i.e., performing well to expectations in school, at work and in relationships) she found a great deal of emptiness resulted from an inability to be authentic in her day to day life. Since learning she is autistic, Alex feels empowered by and proud of her true self, and has dedicated the remainder of her career to aiding other neurodivergent individuals in (1) loving themselves, and (2) finding meaningful employment and developing meaning social connections that are authentic in nature. Alex has her Bachelors in Psychology with a minor in Statistics along with a Masters of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, exploring topics like: reducing bias in selection/promotion systems, promoting inclusivity and diversity at work, leadership strategy and effectiveness, increasing job satisfaction and employee engagement along with finding work-life balance.
Sandi Drucker Wright, Head of External Affairs.
Sandi Drucker Wright has over twenty years of experience collaborating with companies, nonprofits, and individuals on social impact and business development strategies.
In addition to her work at the Neurodiversity Foundation, Sandi is the Founder of Bespoke Impact Advisors, a social impact advisory firm. She is also the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School, where she has been part of the senior leadership team for more than a decade. At Columbia, Sandi built and managed the highly successful Nonprofit Board Leadership Program. This experiential learning program trains MBA students to play significant roles as members of nonprofit boards upon graduation. Sandi also works closely with alumni and students interested in engaging with the New York City nonprofit community.
Sandi’s experience is personal when it comes to neurodiversity, as she has a nephew on the autism spectrum and is the proud mother of a neurodiverse daughter, who knows that her different way of thinking makes her the superstar that she is.
Sandi currently serves as Treasurer of the Suzanne Wright Foundation, board member of Horizons at Sacred Heart University, and is an active alumni of Colgate University, where she serves on the Colgate Women’s Leadership Council. She was formerly Secretary of the Board of the International Radio and Television Society Foundation.
In addition to her philanthropic and nonprofit work, Sandi’s private-sector experience includes executive-level marketing and business development positions in media, retail, and e-commerce, leading research at News Corporation’s online properties, as well as overseeing online marketing strategy and business development at JCrew and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Sandi holds a BA with honors from Colgate University and a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University. During her time at Teachers College, Sandi focused on media and technology. Sandi lives in NYC with her husband and three daughters.