In honor of National Autism Acceptance Month, we're thrilled to spotlight Rachel Bandarenko, EVP of Creative and Strategic Growth, as our resident subject matter expert on neurodiversity. Rachel brings a wealth of insight and expertise to the table, advocating for inclusivity and understanding in meeting and event spaces. With her leadership, MGME is championing the cause of embracing neurodiversity and fostering environments where every individual feels welcome and valued.

At MGME, we believe that every individual, regardless of their neurological makeup, deserves to feel welcome and valued in meeting and event spaces. This month, we're taking the opportunity to highlight the significance of creating environments that accommodate neurodivergent individuals and celebrate their unique perspectives and contributions. 

Neurodiversity encompasses a wide range of conditions, including autism, ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, anxiety, and more. According to experts, an estimated 15-20 percent of the world's population exhibits one to three neurodivergent conditions. These individuals bring a wealth of talent, creativity, and innovation to the table, yet they often face barriers in traditional meeting and event settings. 

For far too long, our industry has overlooked large swaths of the population — people of color, people living with disabilities, and those from the LGBTQ+ community, among others. Over the last decade, we’ve come together to address the obstacles that stand in their way, but we still overlook a significant part of our population: neurodivergent people. However, we are committed to leading the charge for change. We recognize that by embracing neurodiversity, we can create more inclusive and enriching experiences for all attendees. 

While neurodivergent people can succeed and thrive, we must do more to design experiences with them in mind. We as planners curate every touchpoint along the attendee journey, so why not include neurodivergent people in the process? MGME is dedicating our resources to develop and deploy industry standards for designing experiences with neurodiversity at the forefront. As leaders in this field, we've developed training to equip planners with the tools and knowledge necessary to create truly inclusive events for all attendees. Stay tuned for more from us on fostering education and awareness, communication, sensory considerations, inclusive programming and more.  

Let’s commit to building a future where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued regardless of neurological differences. Together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable world for neurodivergent individuals everywhere. 

As we reflect on the importance of embracing neurodiversity, we're excited to announce Rachel's upcoming session at MPI WEC 2024 on Tuesday, May 21st from 11:00-11:45am. This session promises to delve into crucial insights and strategies for fostering more inclusive meeting and event experiences, with a focus on accommodating neurodivergent individuals. Attendees can expect to gain valuable knowledge and practical tools for designing events that cater to diverse neurological needs.