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The Power of Neurodiversity: Alex's Success Story at Dell Technologies

Alex G. | Analyst, Project/Program Management | Ohio, United States

Originally Published: April 21, 2023

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

My name is Alex Gill, and I am from Northeast Ohio. I have been at Dell Technologies for nearly two years. I first started as an intern in the Neurodiversity Hiring Program as a Media Specialist within OEM Solutions, working on building assets for our corporate intranet and assisting Directors and SVPs with their video presentations so they can look and sound their very best. I am now working as an Instructional Designer within Global Sales Learning and Development. I am also an advisor for our recently formed Neurodiversity Advisory Group!

Can you tell me about your current role and your team?

My team here at Content and Curriculum Design is incredibly supportive! My current role involves voice-over work for training courses, administration of learning management systems for our sellers, and custom video editing work for FRS and Tech Summit, two of our major annual events for our sales teams and partners. 

What is your favorite part of the Neurodiversity@Dell program?

My favorite part of the program is directly engaging with C-Suites, something unique to Dell. Knowing that high-level executives at the company are invested in our initiative and taking the time to speak directly with me and others in the program means a great deal. I am very grateful for my discussions with Jen Felch, Allison Dew, Tom Sweet, and Jenn Saavedra when going through my program!

What was your situation like before applying to the Neurodiversity@Dell program?

Before discovering the Neurodiversity@Dell program, I worked with VR counselors to locate roles after graduating and applied to over a hundred positions with no success. I found out about the Autism @Work playbook and contacted the accessibility department at Microsoft to chat about their neurodiversity initiatives. One of their representatives directed me to a career service where I came across a job posting for the Neurodiversity Hiring Program at Dell. I participated in a pre-interview and got accepted into the program, and this is where my career journey with Dell began!

 How was the Neurodiversity Hiring Program different from other job interviews you had?

There are many differences between the interview process in the Neurodiversity Hiring Program at Dell and traditional interviews at other companies. The most significant difference is that Dell's interview process involves both a collaborative project with fellow applicants and the opportunity to showcase individual talent evaluated by hiring managers, HR personnel, future mentors, and our partners at organizations like Neurodiversity in the Workplace. The hybrid approach has the benefit of combining the STAR interview method of Situation, Task, Action, and Result with the structure of a Capstone project.

This combination of interview models allows candidates to showcase their talents and network because the capstone project is part of the interview. For those like myself who have a portfolio in creative areas like CGI and VFX, having the ability to showcase work that employers may not recognize through Applicant Tracking Systems, which filters out visual material that is not machine readable, is beneficial! Because the Neurodiversity Hiring Program uses systems which can be of support to both neurodiverse and non-neurodiverse individuals, increases visibility to candidate skillsets, and strengthens relationships built during the interview process, I am confident it will become a new standard of attracting talent.

alex gill spartan helmet

How has Dell Technologies and the Neurodiversity@Dell program benefitted and helped support you?

Dell Technologies and the Neurodiversity@Dell program have supported me through a web of resources I never imagined possible. For example, I have received consistent support from Employee Resource Groups, HR, Job Coaches, Mentors, and Managers.

Dell also provides me with a large number of educational resources! I have recently become a CompTIA-certified Computer Technician, and I am currently studying for Adobe Certified Professional examinations.

Another benefit to working at Dell is remote work flexibility. In addition to autism, I was also diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the start of my life and experienced a Pulmonary Embolism as a side effect of a prolonged flare a year before coming on board. The flexible work culture allows me to attend to my condition quickly and safely in the event of a flare, be near trusted medical care, or have the means to travel in the event future clinical trials or surgery are needed. I can also work much more efficiently because I can control the parameters of my environment, such as light and noise levels, reducing distractions and improving productivity. Remote work is, in many cases, necessary for health and wellness, providing employers the ability to discover and enable talent in places otherwise unrecognized!

What are the best ways members of the Dell community can be allies, offering our support and advocating for Autism Acceptance this month?

Some key elements to autism acceptance include understanding that clarity in communication is essential and that tasks, processes, or meanings which may carry implicit understanding to others require a more descriptive explanation. This carries the added benefit of creating business processes that provide greater clarity to team members overall!

It’s also important to remember that those with Autism may provide verbose descriptions to remove ambiguity and to demonstrate care. Additionally, it is necessary to recognize that many automated processes and solutions available today may not recognize nontraditional communication styles or queries and that manual support is still often needed. While brevity carries incentives in today’s information-based economy, I have the impression that the type of information-rich communication that those with Autism bring is also greatly needed to best understand one another.     

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

I have a strong interest in Japanese Animation, and Robot Anime, in particular, as an art form. This interest has, over the years, provided me with the opportunity to speak with voice talent, animators, musicians, and the directors of some of my favorite works. My interest in mechanical designs found in this art form has also sparked an interest in Computer Graphics Imagery, using software like Maya and Substance Painter.

I’m currently learning how to sculpt digitally in Zbrush! Being able to work at a company that provides hardware products for animation studios like Polygon Pictures and Khara, and ISV collaboration with our partners at Autodesk, Maxon, and Adobe, is a very gratifying experience that connects to my lifelong interests. As I develop my career, I’m looking forward to being more involved in directly enabling, supporting, and helping those who help to drive me creatively!

I also enjoy watching Formula 1 on the weekends and swimming whenever I have the opportunity!

Alex Gill Art Bug

For more information on the Dell Technologies Neurodiversity Hiring Program and life at Dell, visit the program page and our stories.

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