Meet the dyslexic superheroes of Virgin

Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 27 April 2022

“I hope my kids grow up to be dyslexic,” I found myself saying recently.

With Dad and my husband Freddie both being dyslexic, I've seen how it changed the way he looks at life and the way he approaches business. Since Dad’s dyslexic challenges at school in the sixties, there has been so much progress made in how society views and embrace neurodiversity. However, there is still a long way to go in ensuring neurodivergent people have every opportunity to thrive in every aspect of their life.

This is why it’s so brilliant to see LinkedIn add ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ to its recognised skills list, and I’m so proud of how Dad worked with LinkedInand Made By Dyslexia to make it possible. As Dad said:

This is significant because it recognises this unique way of thinking as a positive trait and something people should be proud of. Dyslexic thinking is a skill that can give you the edge at work: you’re likely to have strong problem-solving skills, great imagination, and creative, big-picture thinking.

We also worked with to add 'Dyslexic Thinking' as an official term, describing its “strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills”. To mark this fantastic moment, we spoke to some of the dyslexic thinkers we have in the Virgin Family to hear about their experiences with dyslexia and the ways it has helped them at work.

At Virgin Management, proud to have introduced a specific clause to all job descriptions, which encourages neurodivergent thinkers to apply. We’re also opening up the conversation and breaking down stigmas through our internal communications channels, while reaching out to our dyslexic team members to ensure they feel as supported as possible at work.

As Lucy Wedderburn, Group, People and Development Manager at Virgin Limited Edition, said:

Tech is never going to replace things like empathy, imagination, creativity, and fun – and those are four main characters that we [dyslexics] carry with us everywhere and bring into the workplace.

It was also inspiring to hear how our Virgin companies celebrate and support different ways of thinking. As Nathan Smith, Resourcing Experience Specialist at Virgin Atlantic, put it: “One of the great things about Virgin Atlantic and the wider Virgin Group is that you have a space to amplify your differences and have people listening in that seat at the table.”

Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic

For many years, we’ve been working with Made by Dyslexia to help people better understand, value and support dyslexia. The team do incredible work in training teachers and workplaces to identity, support and empower dyslexic minds. I would recommend business leaders all around the world check out their workplace guide to ensure you’re seeking out dyslexic skills and supporting dyslexic employees as best as you can.

If you have dyslexia and want to celebrate it, here’s how you can add ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ as a skill on your LinkedIn profile:

Made By Dyslexia campaign

Thank you to Made By Dyslexia, LinkedIn, and Dad for empowering dyslexics all around the world; and thank you to the brilliant dyslexic thinkers we have in the Virgin Family for sharing your unique skills with us.