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Why We Need Atypical Neurodivergent Leaders - with Rick Brennan
Episode 3930th January 2024 • Happy Space Podcast with Clare Kumar • Clare Kumar
00:00:00 00:40:11

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Rick Brennan, author of “The Atypical Leader”, and champion for the undiagnosed neurodivergent professional shares the secrets of his success in the corporate world, why it’s important to have neurodiversity in the workplace, and how investing in human connection can build your foundation as a leader.

Rick Brennan, author of 'The Atypical Leader', shares his journey from being someone unaware of his neurodivergent temperament to recognizing it as a strength in the corporate world. Rick shares how he built relationships and the critical need for a foundation of trust. He believes we need to look beyond diagnosed conditions and to value the “undiagnosed”. Rick explains how leader-employee interactions can be more “real,” and how fun and hardwork can co-exist together, making for the most inclusive team environments.

Rick Brennan is a retired executive, leadership consultant, author and podcaster whose battle with learning disabilities, anxiety and a host of other neurodivergent conditions leads him to a developing unique perspective and way of doing business.

Following academic struggles in his early years, Rick began to uncover skills emerging from within the very limitations that he was told would be his demise, skills that would ultimately shape his success.

He spent 35 years occupying top executive positions in the Canadian healthcare and pharmacy industry and at one time was responsible for up to 4.5 billion in annual sales across 2500 pharmacies.

Rick is recognized as an outstanding leader, possessing an out-of-the-box management style and an expert team builder. By the end of his corporate career Rick’s teams would secure some of the highest employee engagement scores in the world.


00:02:01 The journey of an “Atypical Leader”

00:04:04 Understanding neurodiversity and rick’s diagnosis

00:08:38 Trust and empathy in leadership

00:13:19 The importance of neurodiversity in the workplace

00:19:58 How to build trust in team environments

00:22:49 Adapting to remote work

00:26:25 Why humility is important in leadership

00:30:50 The challenge of building relationships remotely

00:32:24 Why “Done is Better than Perfect”

00:37:10 How fun and hardwork can coexist at work

00:39:07 Using your intuition and the power of human connection in leadership


The Atypical Leader

The Atypical Leader Podcast


Rick Brennan Headshot - Rick Brennan

Atypical Leader book - Rick Brennan

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Negative to positive - Canva

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Bridge, panning - CAnva

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Business partners out to lunch - Canva

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Learn more about and follow Rick:






Highly sensitive executive coach and productivity catalyst, Clare Kumar, explores the intersection of productivity and inclusivity continually asking how can we invite the richest contribution from all. She coaches individuals in sidestepping burnout and cultivating sustainable performance, and inspires leaders to design inclusive performance thereby inviting teams to reach their full potential. As a speaker, Clare mic-drops “thought balms” in keynotes and workshops, whether virtual or in-person. She invites connection through her online community committed to designing sustainable and inclusive performance, the Happy Space Pod. Why? Because everyone deserves a Happy Space.

Believing that productivity is personal, the podcast is produced in a variety of formats so you can enjoy it in the medium you prefer:

Listen to the audio right here or on your fave podcast platform.

If you prefer to watch video, check out the episode on YouTube.

If you prefer to read, please see the transcript below.

Ready to learn more, or want to find out more about coaching with Clare or hiring her for your next engaging event? Contact Clare here.


If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a heartfelt review as this will help other listeners discover the podcast.  Please invite your colleagues, friends, and family to listen as well. Together we can design a more inclusive world where everyone can make their richest contribution.

Want to learn more about Clare and/or her guests?  Follow Clare on Instagram and Twitter

And don't forget, everyone (including YOU) deserves a Happy Space. 😊


Audio and Video Editing by: Jaclyn Enchin

Production Assistant: Luis Rodriguez

Song Credit: Cali by Wataboi from Pixabay




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