You may have wondered recently about our posts promoting Team Ladouceur. How random it may seem for a digital product agency to pair with a women's curling team. Well, our reasons — and the similarities between Power Shifter and Team Ladouceur — are less random than one may think.
How Power Shifter came to sponsor Team Ladouceur
Isabelle Ladouceur, Team Ladouceur's team captain, actually approached us about the opportunity first. After embracing her own ADHD diagnosis, Isabelle was searching for companies that catered to neurodiverse customers. Amid her search, she found Power Shifter, thanks to my content documenting my own journey as a CEO, leader, and individual with ADHD and dyslexia.
As Isabelle recounts: "I was immediately taken aback, and then a mixed feeling of excitement and sadness set in. Although I was excited to see someone like me be successful in a field I thought was super interesting, the sadness came from the realization that I was surprised by it.
The repetitive nature of everyday life obstacles had almost conditioned me to think that I have a cap on my potential, compared to my neurotypical peers. Just coming across JP’s company was enough to remind me that success isn’t a “one-size-fits-all.”
In reading my content on ADHD in the workplace (you can check it out yourself here, here, and here), Isabelle felt a sense of relief. As I've experienced, receiving an ADHD diagnosis can feel disheartening at first, in a world built for neurotypical folks. But there's a positive seachange in society embracing the diversity of perspective, approach, and process that neurodiversity brings. As we've seen at Power Shifter firsthand, teams that not only accommodate neurodiversity but actively harness it to bring forward more creative, outside-of-the-box thinking and approaches stand to benefit big-time. It's something I've been particularly proud of at Power Shifter, and something I am excited to see more leaders — whether of companies, sports teams, governments, and so on — champion in their own arenas.
So to make a long story long, we felt like more than a natural fit to sponsor Team Ladouceur.
Less different than we may think
To drive this point down the ice, being a leader of a sports team and an agency are less different than I thought. To meet expensive season costs to compete in the Women's Division (a rank up from their previous spot in the Juniors), Isabelle took on her own fundraising: researching, and cold-calling potential fits to turn them into season-long sponsors. Her enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit are immediately evident, and quite honestly, inspiring: her belief in her team and their pursuits are undeniable. And as we're doing here at Power Shifter, Isabelle is a vocal champion for diversity, leading a team that foregrounds equity and collaboration.
Not to mention that the work we do here at Power Shifter and the work Isabelle and her team do on the ice are both highly strategic. Affectionately called "Ice Chess'', curling requires being tactical and intelligent. On the ice, teams must constantly reevaluate their game plans and analyze their approach in response to their opposition's. You might even say they stay agile — iterating and adjusting their strategy as they move between offence and defence. At Power Shifter, we're no stranger to this type of flexibility. In delving further into the world of curling, it starts to sound more and more similar to the world of product development: both involve making the right decisions based on your goals, data at hand, and the strengths of the team.
How ADHD shifts leadership styles — for the better
One of the best lessons Isabelle learned from her ADHD diagnosis is how to shift her perspective. In her words: "Living my life undiagnosed, I was under the impression that everyone thinks like me. Informing myself on mental health opened the door to a paradigm shift, where I am more tolerant and empathetic. [...] I try to approach every conversation with an open mind and reduce my perspective bias, as just because I haven’t felt a certain way doesn’t mean someone else can’t."
Again, I can't help but think of the UX and design thinking work the Power Shifter team undertakes, and how steps like usability testing, focus groups, and participatory design are necessary to ensure products aren't built with perspective bias. In a world where an estimated 15-20% of the population exhibits some form of neurodivergence, we need processes and products that account for this range of learning styles, perspectives, and abilities. Like Isabelle, I've found my own ADHD diagnosis to be eye opening and rallying: I take extra care to ensure team members (and product end-users) feel heard and have the right avenues and opportunities to voice their specific access needs. As Isabelle eloquently put: "Individual needs are also team needs." Any leader, regardless of neurodivergence, can stand to keep this in mind.
Moving to the Big Leagues
We couldn't be more excited or proud to support Isabelle and her team during their first year in the Women's Division. We chose to be a Platinum Tier sponsor, and with our support Team Ladouceur will have an easier time with travel costs, accommodation, and investing in training. Beyond that, it's been fun for us — our team has put the team's games in our calendars, and we've already enjoyed cheering them on and keeping tabs on their amazing season so far.
Keep an eye out; we'll be sharing more as the season evolves — and be sure to follow Team Ladouceur across channels so that you can catch a game this season.
And whether you're a CEO or just starting your career, I love chatting about neurodivergence in the workplace. It's my belief that this is one of the ways that we can collectively move the dial — spurring a powerful change in how diversity is celebrated in the world at large. Get in touch!