Diversity equity and inclusion in tech session
Main room
Thursday, 23rd May 2024.

VESNA MANOJILOVIC: Good evening everyone. Welcome to the evening session of today. My name is Vesna Manojilovic. Today I am here in my capacity as all‑time activist and social justice warrior, and I am helping to curate this diversity session. Today we are going to have two topics which are very dear to my heart, but let me start with a bit of historical overview of how did we get here.

So within the RIPE community, we identified a long time ago that we do have a problem with a lack of diversity and we try to solve that in the informal ways first by having the so‑called net girls, while we were girls at some point in the past. And then we moved towards a bit more structure, the Diversity in Tech lunch meetings where we would invite experts on diversity matters to talk to us, to talk to the RIPE community, and then we moved even to the more formal setting of actually having a session as a part of the programme which was about diversity in Tech and then it became about diversity inclusion and equity. And so here we are.

We vary with topics from meeting to meeting and we have covered all kinds of stuff, for example how to increase the participation of youth or like young or junior participants. We also talked sometimes about accessibility. And I can't remember now, it's been a long time ago. And one of the outcomes of Diversity Task Force and diversity sessions was the introduction of the Code of Conduct team and we have that now for several meetings already.

So today I am happy to introduce two speakers that are going to talk about on one hand health an the other hand the neurodiversities, in a very holistic way, it will be the first talk by Natasa will be about a plan tree health community health and personal health on both physical, mental and spiritual level and the second talk will be by Rob Lister about neuro diversities and we have have plenty of time for your questions, comments and discussions. So please save your questions and then after every talk we'll have a short discussion and then we will move on and if there is more time at the end, there are two other volunteers who wanted to talk but I only heard about it today so I am not sure if we are going to be able to find any time for it, we'll see how it goes.

So enjoy and I am happy that you are here. Thanks.


VESNA MANOLIJILIC: Introduction again, Natasa Mojsilovic. Natasa is my colleague from the RIPE NCC and she's also my favourite yoga teacher and so much more. So this is her story.

NATASA MOJSILOVIC: Thank you, Vesna, and thank you everybody for being here at this time. Welcome.

So as the whole weekday four, we have been focusing outward on the presentations, on the slides, on the screens, I would like to invite you to bring the focus back into your body. So maybe put the screens away at least for a little while and sit a little bit straighter up in your seat so. Close your eyes if you wish to. I invite you to close your eyes and to take a deep and long inhale through the nose.

And exhale all the way down towards your hips feeling the touch of the seat bones on the chair, an the tallness of the spine and feeling the way that your feet are planted on the ground right now. Are you touching, touching the earth. And with every exhalation, grow deeper in this awareness of being connected with the earth underneath you and with growing roots as if you are tall and steady tree, fully rooted into this space.

And your roots are branching out, deep into the ground underneath us all.

The solid ground is holding these roots that are branching in all directions, intertwined roots of all of the people sitting here in this room. So your roots are touching, connected. This vibrant network of roots underneath us all, it's holding us altogether. Just become aware of that, how supported we all are from below, fully held by the mother earth.

So that we are sitting maybe a little bit taller when we open up our eyes again.

So welcome again. So yeah, my first slide has this question that I am still busy with. So as you, as Vesna has introduced me, you will see me maybe at the services desk, I am part of this community for over 15 years and I work for the member services with RIPE NCC. I am also grateful to have made my first steps as a yoga teacher, the old office of the RIPE NCC and I see some of my old students here. Yeah. So I am a yoga practitioner for over 20 years and still busy with this self inquirying question whom I and how am I part of the communities that I'm a member of and I found that there is this common ground as you have hopefully all tuned into this common ground holding us all here and also holding all of this seemingly unrelated communities like technical community, yoga community and ancient wisdoms of yoga, buddism, Hinduism and all of the other spiritual teachings.

And lately I also am a part of the perma‑culture community and family, and I just wonder whoever is familiar with, raise your hands, with perma‑culture? Okay, a few. So I have spent a lot of time in this farm and you see this beautiful pictures and they are a farm that's applying the principles of perma‑culture, it's not only dealing with how we manage the land, it's actually redesigning the holistic approach to redesign your environment and our behaviour by just imitating nature. So just doing as the nature is doing.

And as simple as that, that brings the thriving to this community of this farm that they are seen of the RIPE community, there's a lot of things in common. And there's not going to be any communities if the planet is gone to the dogs like it's on its way, right? So the principles of perma‑culture are the earth care, people care and the fair share.

So first we have to take care of the planet that is hosting all of us here together and I have seen this shift from the consumption into what it is that I can take into how I can contribute and what it is that I can give as this farm in Portugal is run by the voluntary principle, so volunteers from all over the world are coming and helping out, and I am also grateful to be one of them just doing whatever I can, digging, weeding the plants or walking our pig, Bacon, that you see here. Yeah, our RIPE community is also ‑‑ I am happy to ‑‑ as you all know, that is run by the voluntary services and it's very important, I think, to give and because and to take care of the life as all the live is sacred and the kids on the farm and everybody, every form of life.

And therefore this sustainability and focus on the environment and awareness has to go even further from next generation, you see it's seven generations, thinking of seven generations have the consequences of every action that we make.

And the diversity session, right, so this slide is very diversity because I learned this principle of mono‑culture in this perma‑culture farm, mono‑culture does not exist in nature so diversity is the nature of all things and if we plant these three plants together, they will thrive better, they will be able to better fight predators, to get more nutrients from the soil and better protection from the elements and we all know about the birds of a feather here, we are using diversity here, but I would say let's go even beyond and that search for the allies in the unexpected corners.

And the people care starts with caring for each of us individually. First put the seat belt to yourself and then take care of the others. And we have to listen to everybody and to acknowledge the differences that are there, right, so that we can better understand each other as a community and that we can serve the whole of the community and it comes to mind this Buddhist belief in everybody has at some point and everyone has at some point been your mother. We have had so many reincarnations, we had so many mothers in this room as well so we have to respect everybody like our mothers, right.

However that's not so easy because there are the intrinsic poisons intrinsic to human nature, poisons of our body, speech, mind, that we are really clinging to something that we like, we push away the things that we dislike and therefore we live in ignorance and on this slide you can see the breathing technique, it's called mind purification breathing if somebody is interested in this, how to cleanse these three poisons. There's this ancient breathing technique that's dealing with that, hands on and the a daily practice, right, to overcome this poisons that are leading to our individual and communal suffering, right. And unwholesomeness of action and deeds.

And these precious pills are very simple. Stillness doesn't mean that you need to sit in meditation. Like I had a talk with Rob before the other presentation, so it's not only meditating and sitting down for whatever, amount of time, it's just dropping into the body and finding the stillness, also five minutes of not doing anything, like (in Dutch) as the Dutch would say, it's already healing so we are tuning into this silence that's also the ground like the ground that we tapped into at the beginning, holding us all here together, the ground of silence is holding all of our differences seeming differences so that we can tap into the spaciousness of our hearts and minds, that is the true nature, I believe, of who we really are, that the sky that's able to host everything with equanimity.

And we have to start with this, we have to ‑‑ I am not saying what you have to do, I am saying what really is my kind of guidelines into helping me kind of find the centre within myself and this may be confusing sanscript word, Niyamas, it's not easily translatable, it's like a guidelines more or less and how to interact with ourselves. First one is I have to focus on keeping my body, my speech and mind pure so I'm actually applying discipline, being the disciple of that which I like. In my case I love yoga, practice yoga postures and breathing meditations and I am a disciple of that, I am coming to a yoga mat even when I don't like it, the self‑study brings me the contentment of a deeper level, knowing who I am, at least asking this question on a daily level. And so doing my best and leaving the rest, having this faith in a higher purpose of everything.

And if I interact in this wholesome way with myself, I am fully equipped to better deal with community and the world around me. So it's natural that I am not going to be able to harm myself or the others. As my truth is I believe that there is no others, right.

So I cannot steal from anybody else because everybody is my mother and I am not going to steal from my mother. Also not steal and get more of the material possessions from the mother earth. So there's not going to be greediness that we see right now quite prevalent ‑‑ greediness and coming back to the principle of fair share of perma‑culture to see everything in a big organism network of knowing wisdom supporting us. So if we tap into this abundance of the mindset and knowing that I'm enough, as I am, and I have enough, yeah, that's already the principle of fair share where everybody belongs, I belong, I contribute, I have equal rights and I am accountable for all my actions and it's a part of the community as well.

I am talking about skilful action.

I would like to finish with old native American legend about the hummingbird that you see here.

So there was this huge fire in the forest and all the animals were running for their life to save themselves and in one going away from the smoke and jaguar was one of the animals and he saw this strange behaviour of the hummingbird just flying away from the forest and back to the forest to the fire a few times and he had to stop and ask, hey, what is it you are doing? Are you not aware this is super dangerous fire? Run for your life. And the hummingbird said: I am flying to the nearby lake getting a few drops of water in my beak and going back to the forest, to the fire. And jaguar was even more perplexed. Are you crazy? Do you really think that you can extinguish the fire with just this few drops in your beak? And the hummingbird say said no, I don't think I can distinguish the ‑‑ extinguish the fire, but this forest has been my home and the home of my ancestor source for so many generations as provided the shelter for me and the nourishment and I have done my joyful duty of pollinating the flowers for so long and I simply have to do what I can because this forest is a part of me and I am a part of this forest.

So the spirits of the forest were overhearing this dialogue. And were deeply touched by the devotion of the hummingbird's heart, so they sent a torrential rain to quench this fire. And yeah, we are kind of liking this spirit forest these days in the world that we live in. There's so many fires burning outside and in this poly crisis that we live inside of us as well and daily practice to deal with these poisons, right. So I have a question for all of us at the end.

Yeah, something to think about. How are we going to honour this precious human life form, this freedom and this possibility to make a change and to do our part?

And may all the fires everywhere be extinguished and may we all live healthy, happy, and free from any harm or suffering. Thank you.


VESNA MILOJILIVIC: Thank you so much for this inspiration al talk, are there any questions or comments from the room? If you have a question, please go to the microphone, if you are following this online, you can also ask questions.
And somebody is going to read them or we can give you virtual microphone.

Yes? No?

MIRJAM KUHNE: I am Mirjam Kuhne, RIPE chair, I want to say thank you, it's very unusual for a RIPE meeting and maybe people a little uncomfortable when you talk about, you know, these topics, I think it's very appropriate also to remind ourselves that we are more than just coming to RIPE meeting where there's a bigger picture there, thank you.

VESNA MANOJLOVIC: Thank you Mirjam. I do have a question myself, I was wondering can you tell us more about what challenges exist in the other communities that you are part of and what could would he as the RIPE community learn from how did they deal with their challenges, that can be another lesson for us.

NATASA MOJSILOVIC: Of course there are challenges because we are coming back to these three poisons of aversion, attachment and ignorance. And we are all humans, right. So it's a daily practice, that's why I do my practice daily, each day. You take a shower, you do your practice and you remind yourself of who you are. So everything that we are facing here, yeah, it's universal. I am not able to put one specific issue, but it's, yeah, no perfect community, right. Even though there's intentional communities there, there's the desire to have this joyful and abundant communities, ours and all of the other communities but

VESNA MANOJLOVIC: Are there still conflicts?

NATASA MOJSILOVIC: Of course, egos and conflicts, yeah. Yeah. I just giving the space specially in yoga, non‑violent communication that you are quite familiar with, right? Just giving the space to people to differ to not think the same and to okay, acknowledge everything, so with the more or less success depends on the person. But there's no perfect community. But there is ‑‑ I think it's great that there is the intention, communities have the intention to be wholesome and to be, you know, to work towards that, there is the self‑awareness and for me this is the key. The self‑awareness, the awareness where I am even okay, it's me, it's not them. So the accountability and self awareness I think is the key.


NATASA MOJSILOVIC: You are welcome.


VESNA MANOJLOVIC: So our next speaker is Rob and he will talk about his own experiences and how does that influence him within the RIPE community, thank you.

ROB LISTER: Better. Wow. Okay, my name is Rob Lister, I am going to talk about ADHD and neuro diversity and other things at this time. I am going to talk about my own personal experiences, and who am I, if you don't know who I am, my name is Rob and I have done various jobs in IT support and networks over the past 30 years. Where has 30 years gone? God knows.

Based in London. Currently a senior network engineer which this job title seems to mean do anything. So I do everything for LONAP since 2012. This is my first presentation at a RIPE meeting, I have never done one, I have been coming for many years.


Okay. I want to do a little experiment now, I looked this up on the internet, it must be true. Apparently only 30 to 50% of people have an internal monologue, that little voice in their head. Is it really possible that people have not got this voice in their head? So if this 30 to 50% is true, we should be able to see it in the room, a show of hands to anyone that does have an internal voice in their head. Okay.

Anybody that doesn't hear anything? So okay. It's anyone that doesn't know what I'm talking about?
That tells us something about the people in the room perhaps, but I am not sure that statistic.

VESNA MANOJLOVIC: Can you say what percentages you did see?

ROB LISTER: Most people do seem to have this internal monologue going on and maybe a handful of people ‑‑ I have to talk to you. But yeah, it just tells us something about people in the room. I feel like I should come out to you. I have been going to meetings and conferences and things like this for twenty years. Back in the day, I had conversations in the bar with people and sometimes it would become apparent that we might both be a friend of Dorothy. And we would have great conversations like, oh, are you like me? I found one, I found one of us. And it's great and we end up sort of coming out to each other. But now fast‑forward 20 something years and it's not such a thing any more, people most places feel a bit more relaxed, no big deal.

And I liken this to sort of coming out ‑‑ I am going to come out to you again. Because a couple of years ago I actually got diagnosed with ADHD and Covid and all that stuff being shut up in the house and things like that, caused me to think I am not normal. Why does no one else seem to have the same problems? Why can't I do this thing and get this deadline done? I reached out and I got some help and it turns out, yeah, I am one of those as well. An ADHDer, I have this model B brain apparently. You might have a model A or a model C or even a couple of both but ‑‑ and it wasn't good. I got the news about yeah, you definitely have this, no doubt about that. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But that didn't fill me me with joy, but it was okay. Now I have to relearn how to do all of this for the past 40‑odd years of habits and change the way that I approached things and think about things. And okay but now I know suddenly all of this makes sense. Why this has happened to me and what's ‑‑ now it all makes sense. I have this reason why I am like I am and all that's happened in the past, why I didn't do it ten years before, I don't know.

But there it is. And so I have been sort of dealing with that and I have had loads of interesting little conversations at RIPE meetings and things like that. We get talking in the bar and even yesterday I was like ‑‑ I was chatting to a few people and I was like: Are you like me? It's like, yeah, turns out totally ADHD and I am like okay. And it's funny that we don't really seem to talk about it, but I have this little coming out experiences with people and we chat and it's like, yeah, this is totally it and we recognise it in each other and what are the traits, what does it look like? This is my own personal take on it, this isn't by no means a complete list, but short attention span, the obvious one. Easily distracted. Very hard to settle on one task, I keep flipping from one thing to another, I have got a million tabs open.

I have a sort of the butterfly mind full of random things. That's not always helpful.

And then the opposite of that which is total hyperfocus where I can't think about anything other than this thing and that's brilliant. I am not always focusing on the right thing; it will be the most interesting thing or the thing I really want to do, that's not the deadline I have got to do tomorrow, the thing I have got to get done, no, it doesn't always work like that. Disorganisation, time blindness, we are not great at deadlines. Not going to happen. I go out of the house at 8am for an appointment at 8am. And I know this.

Often leaving things to the last minute. I have terrible working memory. I don't remember people's names, literally two seconds after you have told me your name, I have forgotten it and you might have met me and talked to me about ten times, I still won't remember your name. People come up to me, go, hi, Rob, how are you? I am thinking, what's your name? I am just terrible at it. So bad when you have all this thoughts going on in your brain, lots of distractions in there, actually focusing on the conversation and trying to make memories is a thing. I can't remember shopping lists. I have to write things down.

Last minute. When did I do these slides? Last night!

I tried on the plane on the way here and it wasn't really working and I was like oh, and there was a whiskey thing going on in the next room and it sounded fun, they are in there having a drink and a laugh and I am in here not having fun.

Doing the slides.

I love this quote: "I can do anything as long as there's a looming deadline and serious consequences." The university assignments, I will get that in at 11.59, upload that assignment, having typed thousands of words the same night, it's crazy. Fidgeting, restlessness, problems sleeping, all of that. I actually have difficulty reading, it's not a language thing, it's not dyslexia, I can read fine. But when your brain is full of things, reading text, your eyes jump around the page, you can't read or you read a paragraph and then you think I can't take in what I have just read, you read it again, so I kind of think it's a bit of a joke on some of these websites that say "this is a five‑minute read." How do you know how long it takes me to read it? It's going to take me 30 minutes, it could take me ten minutes.

We tend to be people pleasers. We don't like to let anybody down. And that's probably good and bad. We don't say no to things and that means we'll take on too much and I will go, yeah, I will totally do that for you and I think oh, I have got thousands of things to do, I can't ‑‑ but we are people pleasers.

Rejection sensitive dysphoria is a thing. And that's really a big one, that's probably the suckiest thing about this, where you take things personally, you take things of rejection, people are criticising me and it's very difficult to trap yourself thinking like that.

I have learned how to not send ranting emails going grrrr, but it's a constant I didn't, this is not what's happening, it's just my brain doing this thing which is really annoying.

You have probably seen this one, let's be productive. No. Okay, a relaxing day it is. No relaxing, only guilt.

This is what's going on. Great. There are some good things
A. It's not all bad. You have got to lean into it and use the good sides of having this model B brain. We are super calm in a crisis. Some of the best people you see that can cope in a crisis are par medics, emergency workers, people doing super stressy jobs because the adrenaline brings their brain up to normal level and suddenly they can focus and be completely calm, super calm in a crisis.

Creativity. Having all of these unconnected thoughts going on, you can think outside the box. You can make connections between things that somebody else might not have thought about, it's a really cool idea, I never thought about that, creativity is really great.

Lots of energy. We can deliver work to a very high standard, very good level of attention to detail, it's got to be perfect, you know, it's great, that level of energy comes from ‑‑ I don't know where but it's there.

Authenticity, motivated by passion and purpose. When we get the purpose, when we get there, it's brilliant. And we are great social justice warriors. My own life might and a complete shambles, but I am going to help someone else out and I want to make it right for them, that's just how it is. Very kind hearted and very compassionate. We generally care about other people a great deal.

And we are empathetic to what other people are going through and that's a great thing to do, to have. Bravery. Fearless indecision making, we make decisions quickly, maybe a little bit too hastily but it's there, it's a quality you can use.

There you go. Does this resonate with anyone? This bad boy can fit in so many hypothetical conversations. This is what's going on.

Communication is where you sort of struggle a bit. It's a mixed bag. I don't know what's right. Me when I don't talk, is it awkward? Me when I talk, am I annoying?

If you have chatted to me, you probably heard about my current hyper fixation project thing, random thoughts. Plus all the back story. Because you need to know all that. And three tangents that we went off on as well to get there and here's another thing I thought you might want to know some other bonus content in brackets as well. My emails tend not to be short, they are kind of long and I think I have got to summarise this but there it is. What was your name again?

Oh sorry, you were busting to go to the toilet. I will literally follow you, don't go in, trying to finish off my story, I don't know. What are my experiences of all this, kind of the bad and the good and things like this,
RIPE meetings, I get sometimes unhelpful advice.

Have you tried making a to‑do list? Yes, of course, I have many, many to do lists. And I love to write things that I have already done on the to‑do list and cross them off because that makes me feel good.

Why can't you just do the thing? Sit there and do it. Yeah, I tried that. I was sitting on the plane trying to do the slides an it's not going to happen. ADHD isn't a real thing, it's just an excuse, it's just a fad. Well, it's a real thing to me. And there are books and papers and it's quite well understood actually. This is a thing. Those are all sort of comments that I have, they are not really ‑‑ they don't really understand what it is to be me and having this model B brain.

It can be that I am quite slow to think in conversations and by the time I have thought of my thing that I wanted to say, the conversation has moved on, and it's like oh, no, want to start saying it now, I feel like an idiot or I don't want to interrupt someone, walking up to a little group of people and you are trying to break into that conversation, it feels a bit awkward. I like to tell a story and get lots of context and people find this incredibly annoying apparently, that I waffle on a bit. Just get to the point dammit, I don't need all of this. People talking over me because they are bored of me waffling on. So what? Why am I talking about this, what if anything can RIPE or the community do to sort of acknowledge this and help. Who has seen this before, the sunflower lanyard? Yeah a handful of people, this was a thing that was started by London Gatwick airport actually, that's where it started. And it's just a lanyard that they started giving out to people, if you have a hidden disability or something like that, just a little visible thing to say, oh, I might need a bit more time or you know, you can't see what's up, it's not obvious but just a little sign that, okay, I must think about that and it's exploded, it's everywhere now, supermarkets, trains, everybody knows what this lanyard, what it means and actually it's made to to other countries. And I kind of like the message, that's all it is: Ask if you can help, be kind, listen closely, have patience, and do not judge, and show respect. And that's not a lot to ask. It's not a lot to ask. But people need to be aware that okay, I just need to think about it.

My social battery. You probably all get this. But it's like oh, yeah, you kind of get a bit peopled‑out after a week of hundreds of people and chat and it's all great, but you think I just need to go and sit in a dark room for a while.

What else? Quiet spaces. Flexibility with deadlines. They were very great with me uploading my slides literally this afternoon. Set clear expectations. Easier to read fonts and things. It's amazing how certain typefaces and fonts and line spacing makes a hell of a difference, a hell of a lot easier to follow, especially long bits of text.
And just keep talking about it. We don't really talk about it.

It's the sort of elephant in the room.

Removing the stigma about it. Why have I just come out to you now? Why aren't we talking about it? Only ‑‑ before I did this, only about five people actually knew, so it's out there now, you all know, do with that what you will.

Hidden brains and they call brilliant minds, some of the most brilliant people I have spoken to. Undoubtedly neuro diverse. Would the internet ever have happened without these amazing diverse minds? I don't think it would.

Because it takes all sorts of brains, the model A, the model B, the model C, and I think it's to be celebrated, it's not all bad news and it's just how people are.

And keep being awesome. Keep being awesome.

I struggle with this a bit. I read the documentation, as you do.

If you want an owner's manual for your brain, I can recommend these three books, these were very helpful, it's on the slides. The first minute, how to get your point across quickly. And you don't waffle. Little book, very thin. Have I finished the other books I bought? Buying the book is one thing, but sitting reading it is another thing. But really useful books.

I will leave you with this.

Too many of us have tried to tone down our weirdnesses for friends or partners only to later learn that we were suppressing the best things about us. There's no joy like the joy of being your strange self and finding out that there are people out there who love you for it."

That's it.


VESNA MANOJLOVIC: Thank you very much.

ROB LISTER: I might need to get the manual.

VESNA MANOJLOVIC: Okay. Wow. This has hit some nerves, thank you very much. Let's start with you.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: I knew we were friends for a reason.

ROB LISTER: See, we are coming out. Funny.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: Tom Hill speaking, exceptionally personally, yes. I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing a talk on ADHD because sometime during the pandemic where some friends of mine had been diagnosed and were sharing content about ADHD and how it actually affects you and I learned within the space of a few months, I tick every box. We are like magnets that attract each other in any social setting, it's incredible how many of my friends, you look around and you go, oh that makes total sense. Everyone I have a great time talking to almost all of us are neuro diverse, it's really fascinating. But I wanted again to thank you because having a record of this ‑‑ and I am nodding along furiously the entire time, having a record of this in public that we can refer back to as well is such a beautiful and brilliant explanation will go so far to explaining it to colleagues, co‑workers, bosses, everyone, when your either having a tough time or you are not hitting deadlines because you have got 15 things going on, to be able to actually competently explain this is very difficult and to have a reference is so useful so thank you so much.

VESNA MANOJLOVIC: Thank you, just a moment, I want to give priority to the online participants. So.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: Clara says thank you for sharing your story, this was super insightful and I appreciate the take aways for RIPE meetings, when it comes to the workplace, what are some things that co‑workers and managers can do to help people with ADHD succeed, PS I love your blazer.

ROB LISTER: It's a very personal thing, not everyone is the same, so what I need from my boss, my friends, is different to what you might need. So these slides are very much what it's like for me, you might have different needs. Some of the stuff just not a lot to ask. Others a bit harder. You have basically got to lie to me about the deadline and tell me two weeks before it's actually due. Things like that.

But it's just, it's very tailormade and very hard to say you should do this, you should do that but there's loads of books, things out there that are got really good ideas and you might think yes, this is totally what I need. And definitely try if you feel able to talk to your employer about it, you don't have to say ADHD, you just say this is what I need to help me, to help you get the best out of me and you have to ‑‑ you don't have to mention ADHD at all, you just have to say, I want these things in place to make it easier so you get the best out of me so I can do work and focus so think about it like that.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: In the bank I quite recently joined a neurodiversity network that we have there, it's a place to give safety to people with a neuro divergent brain, not type A but some other letter anywhere in any alphabet. Thank you very much for your presentation. For myself, I much was helped by the book from SaskiSchepers, "When all Brains Thrive," which is not so much a book for people with neuro diversity but it's a book for organisations for enterprises, companies, telling them be aware of these people, you very much need them in your organisation for your organisation to thrive. Appreciate them for the brilliant contributions that they will, that they and only they can provide for your enterprise. Thank you.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: We have talked last week for two, three hours during dinner and I don't even remember your name. And I don't expect that you remember mine.

ROB LISTER: It might take a couple more gatherings.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: That's one of the reasons why I ask for contact details from people so I have a chance of remembering what a person is called. I remember the face and you are from England, that's it. Thank you.

VESNA MANOJLOVIC: The mic over there?

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: Thank you, I think it's great for your first RIPE presentation and I think this is the first time ever I came up to a mic for RIPE and I have been around for ten years so.


I was diagnosed with OCPD two years ago, a lot of what you said resonates with me deeply. So I had a lot of ‑‑ I think you hit the nail on the head so to to say that there's a lot of stigma associated with all these acronyms and initialisms like disorders and stuff, but it's actually ‑‑ it's a thing that makes us who we are and that's cool. I will keep it at that because the lines are long but I just say I wish your talk happened at the plenary.

ROB LISTER: Maybe I will be brave enough to to do it there sometime.

VESNA MANOJLOVIC: Thanks, that's a good idea, we have 12 minutes and six people in the line so please be careful and Maria.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: I will try to be fast. Three notes, first one, the internal monologue is at least in my situation in several languages, so now my monologue is speaking German when I'm going to return home, it's going to speak Polish and it's sometimes speaking English and sometimes speaking Spanish and I am Czech. It's IDIOTIC. It breaks everything. I try to speak English, it speaks German. No thanks.

Second thing, was it Gatwick where the big sign in grass for some time was "Welcome to Luton"?

ROB LISTER: I don't know. I heard...

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: And the third thing, I forgot.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: Thank you. Thank you so much for this talk. And to say like you did, there's people like us and I have been diagnosed with ADHD as a kid and I think it was more on the negative side because people started acting, at least in my experience, for the problems they have with you because you go from the normal and don't talk about the super powers you have. And thank you so much for talking about this. I also learned something about myself and maybe to start talking with other ADHDs about things. So thank you, thank you very much.

ROB LISTER: Welcome.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: I thought there was somebody at another microphone. Niall O'Reilly, Vice‑Chair. I am not sure which of the catalogue of things I want to claim ownership of, but what I wanted to say briefly was thank you, that was very courageous and like all of the best RIPE talks, it was substantial, thought‑provoking and entertaining. Congratulations.


AUDIENCE SPEAKER: Thank you, this was an incredible presentation. I want to paper fix it on one word that you used in the middle of the presentation and it's been here in my brain for the last 20 minutes, I don't know what that says about me, I suspect you know the point I'm about to make, but you used the word "ingest" at one point when you said "I am not normal" and this is the kind of community that cares about definitions of words and how we use them, and I suspect it can be useful in the future to disambiguate but normal and abnormal arrives with a value judgment which is different to typical and atypical which is why we have neuro typical an not neuro normal.

ROB LISTER: Everyone is on a scale I think of weird. And it's just finding where you are on that.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: Hello. I also forgot your name. We had a drink yesterday, but I forgot your name. I mainly remember your dressing. I would like to say many, many things, but I try to be short and just say one thing. When you have disabilities, when you are not straight, when you are interested in many things, you sometimes accumulate some weird token, you need to deal with it and sometime you say it about let me out, you try to be careful but my reality about handicap is the only thing you wish is to be auto nom and try to hide your handicap as much as possible. I am really grateful when I see people, oh, I don't see you have this, this is not your, this is not your kind of ‑‑ my glasses, it's a prescription, it's not something that is funny for me. I need it in society and when people say to me, oh, it's not you, think you need it for to be able to see on the quota ‑‑ I can be able to say yes, I was able to cope and I was able to be myself.


AUDIENCE SPEAKER: Hi. Thank you for that talk, I learned a lot from you your presentation. And just maybe a thing that may make you feel better, because we are looking to this and doing presentations last minute, actually there's some science behind it: Brains are lazy but also apparently it has been proven that the brain wants you to start your work at five minutes to midnight because it needs all the time to think about different ways, it's actually a good thing. Thank you.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: Hello. I am currently doing a ‑ following an online course on diversity and inclusion and this afternoon I had a call with the Professor from the course and I asked them the question on how, if they had advice and tips on how to bring more awareness around neurodiversity and they shared some ideas. But I got the perfect example from you today because what you did is very brave and also the only way to bring the topic to the surface and be able to talk about it. So thank you very much.

ROB LISTER: Someone was going to say it eventually, it happened to be me.


AUDIENCE SPEAKER: If you enjoyed this talk, you may also like the talk given by Martha Brown called autism and working in IT and he gave that talk last year at an E NOG day 2023.

AUDIENCE SPEAKER: I forgot to say earlier, I am glad you didn't fit it all into the first minute.

ROB LISTER: Without, that's, let's keep talking about it, I think that's the best thing to we need to do.


VESNA MANOJLOVIC: Thank you very much.

ROB LISTER: I didn't need the manual.

VESNA MANOJLOVIC: So we have four minutes left, and are there any other questions? Last comments? I have Maria who wanted to say something? Do you still want to talk about it? Although there's only a few minutes left. Okay. Thank you. And any other comments also please send them to the mailing list.

And now you can see how wonderful it is to give your first talk at the RIPE meeting. So please send your suggestions either to the RIPE community chair or to me or to meeting [at] RIPE [dot] net, we don't really have official way of contacting us. There is a diversity mailing list so you can always write to the whole list. And I am looking forward to more talks about these topics and about other neurodiversities, there's a lot of space in the spectrum for all of us. So yeah, let's be kind to each other and thank you, Natasa, and thank you, Rob, for these wonderful talks.


MIRJAM KUHNE: And thank you Vesna for organising another wonderful session, it was brave by all of you, thank you.