Making dyslexia work for you

The managing director of Now shares how she made dyslexia her secret work weapon.

Shhh! Lean in, and I will whisper a secret to you. And like all good secrets, it starts with a story…

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who muddled up her letters and couldn’t read, but she was good at painting and making things and make-believe.

So, one day, a wicked witch told her to find a less academic school and held her back a year and told her that people like her would never understand tricky letters that kept getting muddled up.

But the little girl was a contrary child and she didn’t much like being told what to do, and she wanted her cake and to eat it; she wanted to love pictures and words. So the little girl decided to always ignore horrid people who told her what she couldn’t do and she went to Oxford and then joined adland.

When she grew up into a quite contrary woman, who got to play with words and pictures all day, she realised that her secret problem was actually her secret work weapon.

Dyslexia had made her determined and resilient and, yes, it made her peculiar but also peculiarly good at communicating and translating pictures into words for clients and spotting patterns in bloody huge spreadsheets.

Not to mention being really, really obsessive about checking and crafting everything.

Dyslexia meant that she doesn’t think like everyone else and in an industry committed to making their clients distinctive that’s no bad thing. In fact, it’s actually an unfair advantage.

So what happened next…Of course, she lived happily ever after at an independent agency called Now, which is helpfully also very easy to spell if you sometimes get your letters in a little bit of a muddle.

Laura Chamberlain is managing director of Now


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