How fictional role models could inspire neurodivergent entrepreneurs
February 28, 2024

How fictional role models could inspire neurodivergent entrepreneurs

"Film, TV shows and books are stories that can inspire us to not only be our best selves but also to take action in creating a better world." - Sabrina Souviron Gumucio

Our LinkedIn feeds are plastered with the success stories of founders like Whitney Wolfe Herd and Ben Francis, but they're not the only people inspiring entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. Whether it's the leadership skills of Padmé Amidala from Star Wars or the empathy of Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek, we could all be taking notes from fictional characters on how to reflect our values and vision.

But such alternative role models could be particularly important for neurodivergent business owners, including those with autism, ADHD and dyslexia. Around 35% of entrepreneurs are believed to be neurodivergent, compared to around 15% of the general population. Neurodivergent founders include Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad.

WONDR caught up with Sabrina Souviron Gumucio, a neurodivergent communications manager and founder of Quilla SG creative marketing consultancy, to find out how fictional role models could empower both neurodivergent and neurotypical business owners to take action.

What can founders and company owners take from storytelling to apply to their own business models? 

Fictional characters are universally inspiring as they invoke archetypes that audiences can identify with. In storytelling, archetypes are used to create an immediate sense of familiarity between the audience and a character. This can also help businesses develop their brand identity, which best reflects their values and vision. By implementing this storytelling mechanism, companies can stand out in their industry and connect more with their target audience by showcasing what makes them unique.

Stories are also pure creativity and imagination which are where ideas come from. For example, Star Trek showcased a non-feasible technology called PADD (Personal Access Data Display). When Apple first demonstrated the iPad, they approached Star Trek to license the ‘PADD’ name. Therefore, not only showing the inspiration of where the iPad came from but also demonstrating how ideas can become reality.

Do you think that fictional role models could be particularly important for neurodivergent people or minority groups?

Star Wars and Lord of the Rings embody diversity and inclusivity, with characters of different species, genders and backgrounds coming together to fight for a common cause. As a neurodivergent myself, these two intertwined concepts have inspired me to create my business since I strongly believe that bringing people together with different perspectives, experiences and skills can create environments that foster innovation, creativity, and more effective problem-solving.

How have sci-fi characters influenced your career and leadership style? 

Padmé Amidala from Star Wars is a strong leader that is courageous whilst also being empathic and compassionate. She inspires me to use my creative talents to fight for what is right. I aim to help other individuals and purpose-led businesses communicate with their target audience to convey their message, vision and mission.

Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek embodies the leader I want to be. She is a very level-headed individual. She sees her crew as assets as she listens to their recommendations before taking decisions. As a founder, I aim to embody that type of leadership by empowering my clients, being transparent with them and listening to them.

Lord of the Rings books on a shelf

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