Aug. 9, 2021

Neurodiversity and Invisible Disabilities as Superpowers with Steven Woodgate

Neurodiversity and Invisible Disabilities as Superpowers with Steven Woodgate

Our guest today is Steven Woodgate. Steven chats with Martyn about his personal experiences with dyslexia and how he turned those challenges into his superpowers. He also shares about using his unique perspective on problem solving in the business...

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Our guest today is Steven Woodgate. Steven chats with Martyn about his personal experiences with dyslexia and how he turned those challenges into his superpowers. He also shares about using his unique perspective on problem solving in the business world, using technology advancements to your advantage, and overcoming obstacles as a neurodiverse person.

Contact Mai Ling: MLC at

Contact James: James at



Introduction 0:00 

Having disabilities might be a burden to others but having dyslexia with Steven Woodgate is a Superpower and help him overcome struggles and changed his life perspective.


Martyn 0:20

Welcome to exceptional leaders were mailing and Martyn, where we give you some real access to intimate conversations that are shaping the way the world is supporting disabled people. If it's happening, it's been said here on Martyn. And they can reach me at


Mai Ling 0:38

And I'm mailing at and today we're going to be chatting about Steven Woodgate and I'm super excited to share this interview with you because of the strong connection to language. But before we get to that, Martin and I have been traveling the past few weeks.


Martyn 0:52

But what an amazing feeling it's been. I'm not quite back up to my pre pandemic levels. I've not been on a plane, unlike yourself mailing, which we'll get to in a second when I have taken a train for the first time. Last week when I met the purple goat team, which in and of itself was a big moment to meet the people that have been, you know, recruited and employed as part of the business that you will know I've, I've been setting up but just to get together and get off of video calling was was really amazing. But um, yeah, the train being on the train was weird. And then the week before I did a TV ad, she said that I'll be able to share a little bit more about in the comments. hive is still not quite public domain. But that was a kind of taxi from door to door. But I was still in London, and, you know, around the busier streets and restaurants and cafes after the shoot. So yeah, it was kind of anxiety, but also a lot of excitement. And just a relief to get back out there. How about you emailing What have you been up to?


Mai Ling 1:58 

The same? Just getting out, I did fly back to New Jersey. And we had our first author spotlight for becoming an exceptional leader book, which you are co author on. Oh, it's amazing. I met Aaron Holly and her family. And we had to be restricted, obviously, because of COVID restrictions. And we could only have 30 people, but yet you wanted to do enough marketing to make sure you know that everybody knew about it. So we had a VIP list. And my cousin had come to attend, but she was our bouncer. So when you came, you had to make sure you were on the list. So you know it really meant something if you told us that you were going to come because then we were expecting you. Luckily, there are a few people who couldn't make it for whatever reason, you know, just life events. So we only had 29. But honestly, I would have felt terrible if we had to turn someone away. But it was an amazing event. If you're interested, you can definitely go onto my Facebook page mailing Chen SLP. And you can see the entire reading by her dad. There were many tears that said we're just being proud and being moved by her words. It was just amazing. And then afterwards, she showed the Xbox controller that she helped to create and talked about that during the session. That was great. And then a whirlwind trip running around New Jersey seeing friends and family that ended finally celebrating my parents 50th anniversary. And again, Martin is very intimate, you know, just very, very close friends and family of my mum and dad. It was just wonderful. It was not wonderful to be out again..


Martyn 3:22

Yeah, I agree. It wasn't quite flights across a country and across states. But we had a meet up with my grandparents yesterday, they're both going to be 90 at the end of 2022. And I think there's a general, you know, where are we by winter? Well, you know, hopefully, things are opening up and up, but it's not definite come winter. So being more summery, better weather more in the garden. Yeah, I got to catch up with my grandparents for the first time in a while when it was lovely to see them say, Yeah, lots of movement. Lots of experiences that I've missed dearly. And yeah, just Fingers crossed. It carries on forever, but at the very least we'll enjoy it while we cut it at the moment.


Mai Ling 4:09

Absolutely. Blessings..

All right. So tell us about Stephen's interview.


Martyn 4:12

Absolutely and then you just started your new company, Purple Goat Yeah. So I think I first came into contact with Steven because of the ghost agency or the agency I've partnered with the purple goat. And they had worked with Dell, the big computer technology brand we've all heard of and Steven was working for them at the time. So more in that capacity. And then he started to hear about what I and we are up to as a Purple goat. And he started to share a bit about his personal story, which really is around being dyslexic and having speech and language therapy as a child and the kind of general dream of being a journalist and sort of strong love of language and communication but the barriers to, to actually being able to articulate and share what How we wanted to. And obviously, we're getting the interview and everyone can hear it for themselves. But it was really great to chat with Stephen. In a bit more depth, we've often had little Twitter conversations over the web. So it was nice to just sit down and really, you know, talk about marketing, talk about disability, inclusion, all those kinds of key topics that you and I love mailing. But obviously one of the things he spoke about around speech and language therapy, I know, will resonate with you and your background as well, right?


Mai Ling 5:32

Yes, absolutely. And that's a very interesting, fine line of what speech language pathologists what our responsibility is, he does talk about dyslexia. And that is an area that is seen more of education rather than a diagnosis, that speech pathology would be able to support, right. But then he also talks about integrating that later in life. He did have some speech therapy and needed that to help in the areas of language on a broader sense. So I love that. Yeah, he has so much accomplishment in the area of marketing. And then he talks about using technology to overcome barriers, which we love. I mean, I am someone who loves Grammarly. I use it all the time. And I actually am very competitive with myself. So it'll tell me how many mistakes I made last month. But there's so many great ways to cheat, you know, get by like, you don't have to be perfect anymore. And I love that.


Martyn  6:24

Yeah, exactly as you say it's, it's all those, those key things we both are passionate about and talk about a lot. And yeah, as ever, again, so just full of inspiration full of interesting perspectives. And he talks a bit about his parents' perspective of him finding out about dyslexia, I think he was at university and the electorate, sort of, you know, pointed out to him. So, you know, there's really interesting parts of that journey. And it's always interesting when we get, you know, to appear in people's lives and their journey with disability, but also just with their goals and their dreams and the marketing side obviously resonates with me a lot. But yeah, it's cool how, in the end, I'm doing a robin job on a roll, I was gonna say, be exactly at Samsung now. And you know, he's really shaking things up in the world around technology and inclusion, which is fantastic.


Mai Ling  7:21


Excellent. Well, as always, we have these amazing interviewees who help us to plug into the world and how people are just making the most of their talents. I love that. Can't wait to get to the interview. But I also want to remind everyone that we love hearing from you, thank you to everyone who has been emailing us about some great ideas for future guests, we also invite you to follow us on Instagram, go to our xceptional page, sign up for the mailing list, you can definitely get in on any of these future promotions and access that we have. And then keep connected to our shows and just connect with us. We would love to hear from you.



Martyn 7:55

Yeah, I'd be great. Get involved. Let us know how you're getting on what you're up to any projects you're doing. Feel free to recommend any other guests. We're always looking for those hidden treasures of people to share their stories or to put forward anyone you know, and yeah, I enjoy the chat with Steven and let's get to it.


Mai LIng  8:15

All right, let's do it.


Martyn 8:21

So I'm really excited today to have a chat with someone that I only met a couple of months ago, we've connected two or three times now, one on video calls and the new world we're in with COVID, the virtual meeting world. But yeah, really connected on a lot of different levels around brand and marketing, disability, inclusion, accessibility, and all the sort of societal parts around disability and the stigmas that sometimes come about as well. So we've both been really glad to get together and have a chat with the recording and a podcast. So I'm sure you're all listening, watch, you're gonna get a lot of value out of that. So yeah, really excited to bring you in Steven. So welcome to the xceptional leaders.


Steven 1 9:03

Thank you. And as you kind of mentioned, I'm a longtime follower, first time listener for your wonderful bit. So it's great to actually have, you know, build a relationship view but also like, share some amazing and state forts feelings, ideations, actually, about not just about marketing branded, but also about the stigmas of disabilities and invisible disabilities and all that coming together. So, yeah, it's gonna be Yes, awesome. Like, the industry is absolutely thriving, picking up and you're at the center of that. So now that I'm here talking to you, I feel quite proud anyway.




Martyn  9:43


Amazing. There's a lot of mutual respect there for sure. I mean, in terms of like that, let's start with the stigma around the disability side. So can you share with the listeners your personal experience around disability?


Steven 9:55

the national as a few things. So. My name's Steven Woodgate, and I've worked in marketing communications my whole career. So I'm in my early 30s coming through. And I've got dyslexia and dyspraxia in which people that means very different to many people. And kind of my perception or my understanding of my dyslexia dyspraxia is that I struggle with things that people find easy things like spelling pronunciation coming together. And it wasn't really apparent until I was in my early 20s, where I bumped into my university professor, actually, and I did okay at school, like I was never taught the class, I was never in the bottom sets, you know, I was doing okay. And I did okay enough to get a levels Okay, enough to get into what at the time was 170 117 universities, but nevertheless, still going to university and when I bumped into him first he professor, she read one of my like, essays, and she went, Oh, yeah, like, obviously, with your dyslexia. thing. It's like, it's easy, like we talked about, and


Martyn 11:10

read about it, right?


Steven 11:11


Yeah, yeah, like that. The fact I went through a whole school system, not one slide picked up. Obviously, I just, people saw me as like a little bit stupid, not find out things. And yeah, she diagnosed me about 14 seconds of like me to mean beating my report. So it was fair, like from ours, like, went up outside. And to kind of like speak about it, and apparently is my awkward sentences or something like that just like structured my sentences. And I went for a test at a university because they were offering a great value of 289 pounds, which I could leak as having been the best 289 pounds I've ever spent tangled in and laughing cannot believe it costs 289 pounds in the first place. But when they're and it turns out that I read like an eight year old, I spell like a nine year old, I've got to learn the speech patterns of a six year old. And it was ridiculous, like in terms of that report. And it's so damaging as well, like just breeding these kinds of headlines. And I was wondering how did you feel when like you read or heard that is, I like reading that like, and you're sat in a university who like you got into university and a delivering old man gonna counter who's shown those sons empathy during this test or understanding cold heartedly just sent you this report. But I finally used that as my aspiration, inspiration, women call it and I actually ended up achieving a Master's. So it just proves that, you know, people who are perceived as a little bit thick can actually go and do some amazing remarkable things. And what did give me this report, even though some people have undiagnosed or would have been diagnosed, is that it gave me a lot of reflective aspirations to come through. So it puts a lot of things which I did beforehand in a much better context. So there's a few things like the fact I'm speaking to you now, you know, over a medium and hopefully making some sense, with my word choices and sentence structure is a miracle where I had seven speech therapy until I was about 10 years old. And from that, I noticed some unique things. So my name's Steven. And I used to really, really struggle with my sts pronunciation. So things like Star start, all those kinds of things. So it's a good job. My parents didn't need me and a name which I was going to be struggling with to help her. But then there was this absolutely beautiful moment and I really hope that the parents who are watching this or listening to this can really emphasize so when I was five years old, and I remember this clear as day that I was doing a school play. I was dressed as a builder for some reason. I'm not sure why it's a school Christmas play. And I suppose someone had to build the stables. Yeah, that's like coming for free. There was a situation where someone had to go to the end of the stage and tell all the parents in a room of 400 people that parents' kids say Merry Christmas and have a happy new year. And the person who was meant to be doing it got stage fright. So he got scared and he was like the cool kids. You get to like even if you if you have cool kids when you're six years old, but by so I'm struggling and I suppose in my infinite wisdom, I just ran up there and did it say like, all these teachers were trying to grab me No, no, you know, a habit three words to get the United States

was dodgy.


Martyn  14:52

 They're made to


Steven 14:55

it sounded really cool like a TV advert and I stood out here on the stage and I spoke clearly. Merry Christmas, everyone and have a happy new year. And I didn't quite understand it. My parents were in floods of tears when I met them afterwards, because they never heard me speak that clearly. It kind of shows that put that kind of speech therapy or thing in context or in a certain scenario, like the bigger picture kind of actually sees through. So I kind of thought that I was the creative solution to that perceived problem at the time. And like reflecting back because like, that's always been my back, you know, in terms of trying to think differently to perceive problems. And it's one of the reasons why I loved history, love, sociology, law, psychology growing up. So it was kind of that I love current news events and coming through. And now, I work. So I wanted to become a journalist, obviously, that was impossible. But I ended up working in the most fascinating area of marketing and technology and how that came together. And, yeah, it's just kind of arrived. And I want to give parents encouragement to understand what they're saying, dyslexia is not, it's not a negative, it's an exploration of seeing the world slightly differently, like I did, and I've made a fantastic career thus far. touchwood, you know, from actually thinking slightly differently, and kind of friend, the marketing campaigns that can come up with now or business problems, which we account on a day to day basis, you know, it just has another layer of diverse thinking added to the mix, which is something which people often forget about neurodiversity, that invisible disabilities are such a thing that people don't comment on or say, but it's actually my superpower, I wouldn't be in the position where I am without thinking like, someone with dyslexia or thinking bigger picture. Yes, sometimes I might forget, like the annoying process, which annoys the process people, but, but in terms like bigger, bigger picture thinking, like, That's incredible. And there's so many more jobs nowadays, and more like digital skills, which needs that type of thinking. And if you think about technology as like an alpha, and that's something which I need to thank for my career. Like, if I'm Batman, in my career, technology has certainly been Robin, and like how that's actually come through.


Martyn 17:31

There's so many amazing, interesting points. So I'm pegged out, but I think that is that that macro side of how disability and inclusion has been overlooked, and a bit behind the curve of the DNI agenda. But as we've seen a couple of times, we've chatted before like it, definitely way more on the agenda now. And those things you were talking about that creative thinking out of the box, or I think resilience is another one, when there's that kind of more of a, I don't want to say struggle. I mean, it is a struggle in different ways when you have a disability, but it's a very emotive word, and it can start to trigger pity and sympathy, which none of us are down with. But it's that general sentiment of you know, there are things that we have to do differently. And obviously, I relate and I've got a different condition, I'm in a wheelchair, and that's my lived experience. But so much of what you were saying is wrong, true, around the kind of stigma that society can have in the way parents can react to hearing that their child has a disability. And again, that creative, innovative, out of the box thinking just because you have to almost like survival, it's kind of a base level. And we had to do that to just get by. But when you channel that back into the business world, it's a really, really, really valuable trait and skill set for all sorts of businesses that have that different way of looking at the world and different way of thinking. And I think, thankfully, that the world and businesses are waking up more to that. So just to go back to the sort of like when you're at uni, and you sort of meant a night that kind of generally that parents are pretty worried and concerned when they find out that a kid has something like dyslexia. So like you will, I presume a bit older than maybe some other kids might be diagnosed with dyslexia at primary or secondary school. So what sort of interaction was there with you and your parents when you're at uni over the topic


Steven 19:34

So I suppose my parents have always been immensely trusting in me. And that's one of the reasons why I think I've done quite well because they put their faith in me to make the right decisions, make my own mistakes, pick myself up from those mistakes. But for the first 10 years of my life, my mom was my interpreter. Like, when I was talking people didn't understand what I was saying. She knew all my status, my flaws. My words, I used to miss out on work. And she used to like to interpret what I'm saying. So if there's aunts and uncles talking to me, for instance, I would always talk to my mom almost. And I always used to look at my mom, if I said something, and someone didn't answer, see if I said it, right. And obviously, people lose their safety blanket, I suppose. And like skipping school, I wasn't a lover of school, but I always loved learning, always curiosity, and it was that university that like you kind of mentioned where I really found my feet because one I was studying something which I absolutely loved. So therefore, I threw everything into it and was damn sure that I was going to do really well. And things like having a frank conversation like my university professor, which mentioned early diagnosing me and like 14 seconds, like..


Martyn 20:52

no nonsense, like, just get to the point sort of thing.


Steven 20:56

yeah. But the bigger picture is like thinking straight away, it's like you got dyslexia. Okay, cool. What does that mean? Yeah, well, I wasn't understanding cool. What? What advanced is Can I benefit from that, and pick up that superpower to really fight through? And when I told my parents like any parents, I'm sure they would say, Oh, yeah, well, we kind of suspected it.



Martyn  21:17

Yeah. Why did you like, Yeah,


Steven  21:20

but they chase and, and, you know, it's so disappointing that I went through a whole school system, you know, having a stutter now, and you guys are inherited, I'm stuttering in my head constantly. So I'm trying, I'm even talking to you now. I'm slowing down. Because my brain is in overdrive, and my mouth can't work quick enough to get the words out. So say this is kind of a nice development or technique. I learned, like over multiple years, to get an obsession or my parents are so immensely proud of me now. And yeah, that like they're, they're just the most incredible human beings as well. And they're so trusting. And what's been really fortunate, and I think I am fortunate is that I've been given some amazing opportunities to take advantage of. So coming out of university, I met someone called Drew Banfi, who works all buttoned all agency, and he just gave me this amazing opportunity to work for Microsoft, from an agency, say from a digital agency, wetlands, Microsoft. And then I found the most amazing client, daresay at Microsoft who actually decided to buy my contract over, I think, you know, Georgina Lewis, from the FA, and Microsoft, she, she embedded a lot of trust into me, you know, and when I stepped over the line, or did something which was close, he was frank and honest, and me and then, and then I just found some really amazing managers who just put that absolute faith and trust in me. And that's allowed me to grow and become a professional entity. And like, I'm humble enough to understand that I still make mistakes, I still don't make the right decisions. I still don't understand things quickly. So therefore, I scrutinize the process. If you tell me to go left, I would want to go right. Like I'm still that kind of person. I say that not because I'm a Rebel Without a Cause. It's more that there is a better way of doing something. And that's how my mind always thinks on a consistent basis.


Mai Ling 23:31

I've always said the most valuable things I've ever done to increase my business and industry knowledge in a very specific niche of disabilities was always related to learning from other people, whether it was going to conferences, introducing myself and connecting directly with LinkedIn messages, or asking people for a warm referral, hearing other people's stories and finding pearls of wisdom has been a priceless part of my journey. And ultimately, my success with various offerings is directly related to these. That's definitely why I created this podcast for you. And also why 13 other amazing disability leaders and previous podcast guests join me to write a book for you. For less than $15 you can get intimate stories and priceless startup journeys from 14 exceptional disability leaders, including my co host of this podcast, Martin Sibley. So I invite you to go to Amazon search for becoming an exceptional leader and get this book today.

Now let's get back to our amazing interview.


Martyn 24:26

That's really interesting, that sort of internal thing that you've had, that exam was to slow down and to be very purposeful and, and as well as looking at the alternative kind of strategies and processes. All that stuff you're talking about is really, really interesting. I'm thinking about my co host on the show. mailing is a speech language therapist, that's her background, and we've got quite a few listeners from that community. So that really resonates with a lot of the things you're talking about today as well. And then the other thing you mentioned was sort of if you're I love that he said that if you are the Batman And then like technology has been your Robin, can you can you share a little bit more about how technologies have supported or enabled you to do stuff?


Steven 25:09

Yeah, yeah. And

and there's multiple things and the technology advancements in the last 10 years have been absolutely incredible. If I was five or six years old right now, you know and being diagnosed with dyslexia I'd have so many tools at my disposal to level the playing ground. So growing up I had wonderful things like spell check, you know, really simple stuff stuff which you expect off the bat now, like, Can you believe when it when I was at school, you know, we didn't have that, you know, you said written exams, you know that now you're able to do exams on computers, typing, grammar checks and things like Grammarly, which is like the crane plugin was absolutely incredible. And it covers all my sins for when I'm tweeting or writing them face.



Martyn  26:02

 Because what was so interested is to come in or not, is that come in the perspective of having dyslexia like, it's

clearly 100%, like, benefit of all that way that tech helps. I was just sort of thinking they're kinda like, Grandma, kind of the English grammar. Traditional pure is might say, well, we shouldn't have technology, it should be taught, learn what it's like, but why did I even if you've not got dyslexia, there's so many words that I don't 100% recollect the exact difficult spelling of, and do I want to spend time going off and looking up in daycare and all that kind of learning. Or like, actually, I'm trying to change the world for disability inclusion. So it's far more quicker and frictionless to just crack home with the help of technology. And it creates a sort of symbiosis. I mean, I've been in electric wheelchair and I use my phone for all my work all it's like, I'm totally symbiotic with technology by a couple of covers quite a philosophical conversation, doesn't it about how, as a human species, generally, later, we rely on technology, but for me, it's a massive benefit, whether disability or not, it just helps us get further quicker.


Steven 24:17 


Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And today's people who see a sign of intelligence in how to spell guarantee, as an example, which I still struggle with now too. Yeah, they're utter morons. Like, I fucking swear words off this. Yeah. And nice, fun people think it's a sign of intelligence, that you can remember how to spell something, you know, it's similar to, which is anything good. So we still got quite a old school education system in the sense that you get rewarded for remembering when the night of the long lives is or, or when the Battle of Hastings where where, you know, you can speak to your Google Now or your Alexa straightaway, and it tells you the answer straight away. Yeah. Like, we need to understand that as a concept as well, that we need to get off this kind of education is how you remember stuff like cramming in revision, just to remember stuff. It's not that the discipline of revisions is incredible, yeah, it's good. But it's about applying what you've learned, and how to think for yourself. And what was amazing, that whole Gen Z coming through and the generation alpha following that is that when we're going to have a whole world right now, where people are actually going to have their own opinions, and they formed their own intentions, opinions by the years of history. So millennials got told to remember the history, you know, not necessarily apply Gen Z are actually actively challenging it and understanding like, what's good, what's not what's right, what's wrong, you know, and take from that in the right way. And people actually form their own opinions. And the biggest thing, which we need to be careful now with technology is that how do we make sure soft skills you know, behind collaboration, understanding together listening,


Martyn  29:18 

compassion and empathy? Yeah


Steven 29:20

yeah. Yeah. All those kinds of things. It comes together in a really unique way. And I'm gonna be biased. And I think actually dyslexic people with dyslexia, actually over indexing a lot of these qualities like creative thinking, empathy, bigger picture, thinking, you know, all those kinds of things where I'm not saying I'm sort of some superhuman strength. However, I do think that my dyslexia is what I lack in some skills, which may have been seen as traditional old values in terms of getting 10 out of 10 on a spelling test, you know, for instance, I can actually benefit from actually speaking here. Apparently about Modern Marketing, you know, understanding how a digital landscape works, understanding why people are favoring tik tok over Twitter now, you know, and actually understanding those kinds of meeting challenges and hopefully use that for the power of goods in the future and what's enabled me to use their skills more effectively. It's actually technology's been, I've been doing my heavy lifting. Yeah, so things like, like mentioned on the phone, and connectivity, emailing, connecting with people, you know, all those kinds of bits have just been really, really strong. And something which I actually would really encourage is that the big tech firms like Microsoft, Google, Apple are doing some amazing innovation around accessibility. So whether that's actually how you need an office screen, or actually how you interpret words. LinkedIn has its most amazing things where you can pronounce a name. Plus, he can handle pronunciation of a name before it is actually taken out for someone with dyslexia or even without dyslexia. Yeah, that's so helpful, especially when you're engaging with people who may have a non English name, you know, which could be very hard to pronounce. So I would love to see that feature right across BBC Sport as an example, for all the wonderful tennis players out there. So it just helped me talk to my friends and how to pronounce those names a lot more currently, and, and yeah, like, well, we are in terms of like neurodiversity, like the disability world, and the powerful power and stuff, we are so barely in the infancy in terms of the potential to really inspire people. And the thing about dyslexia, which people will be scared of, and are not scared of, mongering and sadness, is that one in five kids now have some degree of dyslexia. You know, like, it's not rare, like it's common, you know, if you underscore 30, there's going to be six people in that class, who will struggle to read. And teachers and parents need to be mindful of this when you're in the whole education system, when you're comparing people when they're reading capability. You know, that last and that's not a form of intelligence, but the discipline of revision, completely get that and understanding and studying still needs to continue, but it needs to be better served purpose.


Martyn 32:20

So hearing there's that, you know, when we talk about disabilities, there is this sort of stigma of society in general, we need to overcome that. And there's also this other strand we've been talking about to do with the archaic Industrial Revolution oriented education system needs to catch up with the modern world, or the tech capabilities. And it's those soft skills that you were talking about more important, but because of the challenges and the barriers, a lot of disabled people face, there is a skew to having developed those soft skills more. So for different reasons, I'd say, I'm seeing a lot of parallels with me being a wheelchair user, but really relate and resonate into the stuff that you're talking about. So we've got a few more minutes before we wrap everybody just a little bit more around the sort of what you're up to now, job wise, obviously working in marketing, but yeah, just be great. And feel free to overlap with some of the things we've already been saying if that's relevant. And be I just for the listeners to hear what you're kind of doing at the moment. Really?


Steven 33:24

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I kind of alluded to earlier, so I always wanted to be a journalist, announced my dream, and I went to Southampton senate University, and I fulfilled my teenage dream, I suppose. And I became a sports journalist covering non league football and cricket. best days of my life, like you spent a whole day watching cricket, and you'd like to interview someone after, you know, then go home and do it again. So watching County Cricket was incredible and, and I was, what, 19 years old, and it was the best thing ever, in 2010. And I talked about this because you need to adapt to change and technology in 2010, like Google or Facebook happened. And what I mean by that is that it's not a labor gun. It is the cycle of news and content, paints the landscape of what we see as modern communications. So I was working for a local paper. He used to charge like 39 p for a paper to read the Sunday that news became free online. So that whole industry changes and adapts. So for me, you know, bigger picture thinking. I was able to do a scholarship so I managed to qualify to do a scholarship at Southampton Solent University. So I went back to university and did a master's in public relations and communications, which kind of corporated the skills that I learned as a journalist in terms of storytelling, understanding empathy, understanding audiences how to tell stories, and I ended up working for a digital agency before moving to Microsoft performing instead. And now I'm at the wonderful team, Samsung, and we talk about technology, and how technology has been my Robin's my Batman, and what's brilliant is that I get to sell Robbins every single day now, you know, and I'm selling. You know, I'm working for a company who produced some amazing technology, amazing hardware with some amazing software attached to it. And it's for kids to learn education, it's for people to help work remotely, that will be able to use veins in a much more connected way. So I am the change that I want to see in the industry as well. So I'm really proud that I can represent Samsung, and sell PCs and laptops.



Martyn 35:43

For any, you intertwine that it's everything we said, so beautifully. Like, that was always like, I love


Steven 35:54

my life of work in the industry


Martyn 35:56

practice, but I think you know, just everything we've covered. It's so exciting for me to see how all this sort of coming together of the social issues being more in the agenda, like the DNI stuff, that explosion of tech, the the way that digital marketing is empowering consumers and like, for me when he just talking about your dreams and how you're able to live out those dreams, and they came through I think that resonates for everyone, right? We all got things we're interested in, things we're passionate about, you know, hurdles and obstacles, you know, wherever it's disability or not, there's always life stuff that gets in the way at times. But to be able to ultimately go around the sort of different ways to get there. It's just amazing to hear about your journey. But before we finished it, anything else you want to share with the listeners, before we wrap up


Steven 36:53

I suppose just summing up that dyslexia has been and will be forever will be my superpower. And I just really hope that parents, people who know someone with dyslexia. So remember, one in five people are to some degree sexier to see it as a powerful gift, because there's a brilliant creative person in there. And you just need to give them the tools to let them shine.


Martyn 37:19

Amazing. That's a perfect way to end it. Thanks so much for your time today. Steven and I look forward to hearing all the responses and thoughts on the episode, obviously everyone listening and watching yet let us know your experience of dyslexia. You know, generally what you found was a steven story, what resonated what you took away from it. But yeah, a huge big thank you again, Steven.


Steven 37:41

My absolute pleasure. And Martin, thanks very much for what you're doing. It's great. see you as well.


Martyn 37:49

Awesome. Thanks.


Mai Ling 37:51

Thanks so much for joining us for this episode. And I invite you to connect with me directly at the mailing We also want you to let us know what you think about the show ideas and how we can continue to help you or referrals to a great guest, through our Facebook group had xceptional leaders podcast, or email us at x leaders


Martyn  38:12

Yes, Mai Ling  I totally agree. I know we're both really mission driven people. And for me, it's always been this big mission, to have a world that's fully inclusive for all people. And in the end, that's probably why we've bonded and come together so well on this podcast, exceptional leaders podcast, because we get to meet cool people, give them a platform to share their story and really just make such an impact on the disability. Love it. Also, for everyone listening please do head over to This is the magazine that I co founded about 10 years ago. And we've got a free mailing list there for all the latest article news, discounts for the shop, if that's your kind of thing. And definitely do get your copy of becoming an exceptional leader. We want you to get as much information as you need and to be as successful as you can be.

Steven WoodgateProfile Photo

Steven Woodgate


A creative, curious and collaborative marketer and accessibility advocate leading the charge on creating an inclusive culture. I believe technology elevates and enhances education, employment and creativity for billions around the world, especially the 1 billion people with disabilities.

I offer extensive consumer and commercial experience in product and software marketing, driving strategic initiatives and ROI.

Notable awards:
- Shortlisted for 'Young Marketing Leader of the Year' by The Marketing Society 2018.
- Spoke at Marketing Week Live, AdWeek Europe and D&AD Festival about Technology and Accessibility.
- 2014 Scholar of the Marketing Academy.
- Two speaking slots at Ad Week 2017 focusing on the importance of creativity with data
- Member of the ISBA Digital Action for future media digital development & DMA Judge
- Voted in the top 70 of the upcoming ‘Social Media stars of the future’
- Spoke at the International Business Festive in Liverpool in front of 450 people and at the Roundhouse for - Youth Marketing Summit 2016 around marketing trends
- Contributed an essay discussing ‘Influencer Marketing’ for ‘Understanding Digital Marketing:
Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation’. Printed and distributed in over 50 counties worldwide.
- Distinction in my PR Master’s with my dissertation: ‘Tweeters, Twits or Twats: UK sport stars’ use of social media and issues around reputation management’
- Volunteered for UNICEF’s Soccer Aid, Media Trust & was a Board Advisor for Women Sport Trust
- Winner and contributor to a series of industry awards, ranging from: Drum’s OOH awards, Two CIPR Golds, Young Communicator of the Year, MAA Best in Content Award, European Sponsorship Award, PR Week B2B Campaign award plus many others relating to industry.
- Nominated for awards at Cannes Lion and D&AD