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Posted 03 Feb 2021

Meet our awards judges

We are so incredibly grateful to have an amazing panel of Judges, Headed by Roxanne Hobbs and including Paul Stevenson, Tumi Sotire, Nasser Saibi, Marcia Brissett-Bailey and Siena Castellon.

The nominations for the 2021 Celebrating Neurodiversity Awards have now closed.

We are delighted to have received a record number of nominations this year and our judges now have the unenviable task of trying to pick winners from the amazing entries that we have received. Whilst they are taking the time to reach this decision, we are delighted to introduce you to this years panel.

Roxanne Hobbs

Roxanne is a key influencer in driving the Inclusivity and Diversity agenda in the advertising industry. She founded The Hobbs Consultancy because of a deep-seated belief that the advertising industry could do better at supporting female talent. She soon realised that solely coaching women was sending the message that the women were broken and needed fixing, which isn’t the case at all. She also noticed that women were only one of the groups that may not feel able to show up as themselves in the advertising industry and broadened the scope of her work accordingly.

In March 2017, her eldest son was diagnosed with ASD and she was struck immediately by how we ask those that aren’t neurotypical to change so they can fit with neurotypical norms. She is now heavily involved in creating and sustaining a conversation about Neurodiversity in the advertising industry – believing that there are many people with so much to offer that find it hard to access and to thrive in this environment. Her book ‘Diverted’ was published on 1st March, 2018.

Siena Castellon

Siena is an 18-year-old internationally recognized neurodiversity advocate and author who is autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, and has ADHD. She is the founder of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, an international initiative that encourages schools to flip the narrative from focusing on the challenges and drawbacks of being neurodivergent to focusing on their strengths and talents. In 2020, over 500,000 students from over 760 schools took part in Neurodiversity Celebration Week worldwide.

Siena is also the bestselling author of “The Spectrum Girl’s Survival Guide: How To Grow Up Awesome and Autistic.” She was recently selected out of over 7,000 candidates to be a United Nations Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals. Siena has won many awards for her advocacy and websites, including the 2018 BBC Radio 1 Teen Hero Award, the British Citizen Youth Award, and Campaigner of the Year at the 2019 European Diversity Awards. Most recently, she was one of three finalists for the Children’s International Peace Prize.

Marcia Brissett-Bailey

Marcia is the co-founder of the British Dyslexia Association Cultural Perspective Committee and trustee at the Waltham Forest Dyslexia Association. She is a narrative changer, provoking the representation of dyslexia, and breaking the silence of dyslexia from a cultural perspective. As an advocate and champion of Dyslexia and Neurodiversity, she is a budding author writing about being Black and dyslexic.

Marcia has a BSc in information science, postgraduate in career guidance and MA in special educational needs. She has worked in education sector for the last 30 years, and has provided information, advice and guidance in higher education and post 16 for over 19 years as well as being a SEND lead for careers. Marcia is passionate about getting young peoples and adults voices heard with SEND in education and the workplace.

Nasser Siabi

Nasser is the CEO of Microlink PC (UK) Ltd founded in November 1992. The companies’ core mission is to provide disability solutions and assistive
technologies to both the workplace and educational facilities, working towards an inclusive society and offering support throughout a persons’ lifespan.

Nasser was awarded an OBE in 2011 for his contribution in the field of disability. He is one of the founding members of the British Assistive Technology Association (BATA) and part of the DWP Disability Employer Engagement steering group. In 2015 he received a lifetime achievement award from the National Diversity Awards (NDA) for his contribution to people with disabilities.

Paul Stevenson

Paul is an award winning photographer, who has late onset full blown Tourette Syndrome plus, which started out of the blue 10 years ago. He has severe motor Tic’s and vocal tic’s including coprolalia (swearing & cursing) accompanied with ADHD,OCD, Sensory processing disorder. He has found that he gets some respite and great fulfilment through helping others. He uses his unique position to raise awareness and offers empathy and solidarity to many young people who are struggling with their diagnosis.

Through his public speaking and TV and radio appearances, Paul seeks to raises awareness of Tourettes, increase acceptance and reduce discrimination. His many media projects include: the National Geographic Taboo series, BBC Employable Me, Swedish Kanal 5 docu outsiders Tourettes, BBC Teenage Tic’s. BBC Radio 5 live and Northeast also. Paul is also an Ambassador for Genius Within, a role which he excels at.

Tumi Sotire

Tumi is an advocate for dyspraxia & neurodiversity, particularly raising awareness of the intersectionality between race & neurodiversity. He is known on Twitter and Instagram as The Black Dyspraxic

As well as being a neurodiversity advocate, Tumi is a Research Assistant at The Newcastle University with a focus on helping to improve health outcomes across Africa. His research interests are the economic consequences of health disparities and he is currently engaged in a number of systematic reviews.

Thank you once again to our fantastic judges for their involvement in the awards this year. We look forward to sharing their decisions at the awards ceremony, which is taking place on Thursday 18th March 2021. 

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