OWNING WHO YOU ARE: Q&A WITH WANDA DESCHAMPS
What made you start your business/organization?
I opened my own firm and named it Liberty Co to signify my new found freedom and commitment to live my life as the “Real Wanda.” Yes. At the age of 48, I decided that I was going to be true to myself and that my own principles and values would be my guide. Much of that was as a result of my diagnosis of autism at (almost) age 47.
I reoriented Liberty Co in September to focus on neurodiverse talent because of my realization and deep regret that the vast majority of the neurodiverse population is either underemployed, or unemployed. This places a burden on the individuals as well as our society while our talents and skills go untapped.
What is the core of your philosophy and how did you narrow it down?
Neurodiverse community members can flourish in the workplace when our aptitudes and abilities are recognized and matched with organizational priorities and goals. This is a broad vision and I am still in the process of narrowing it down. I am offering a unique perspective because I am saying that neurodiverse talent belongs across all organizations, sectors, and fields. From the boardroom to the c-suite to the office cubicle, our neurodiverse population will be brought into full participation in the workforce.
How do you handle pressure to fit into a specific business mold or societal definition of what you should do with your career and follow your own guidance?
I am not fitting into a specific business mold or societal definition. I am doing something new and cutting edge. This all traces back to my commitment to live life as the “Real Wanda.”
What is a tool you recommend (be it a coach, meditation practice) to others who are juggling multiple priorities and struggling to find time to eat well and sleep?
Set 3 or 4 priorities and stay true to them. This helps focus, measure success while allowing time for self-care such as proper diet, exercise, and sleep hygiene.
What is your benchmark for keeping a balance, or do you go hard one season and take time off after?
I more or less keep the same pace throughout the year. Ensuring balance day to day and week to week for the things I mentioned above as well as time with family, friends, and other activities outside my work help enable me to avoid burnout. I also build vacation breaks into my schedule and truly treasure that period away from work.
What is the biggest challenge you overcame in life or business/ organization?
Taking charge of my mental health in 2017 by requesting a psychological assessment, which delivered my autism diagnosis. I then entered treatment and maintained therapy.
What would you tell other aspiring entrepreneurs/ or business/ organization owners?
Stay true to your vision and mission. Love what you do. Be your strongest advocate. And especially for women, be decisive and confident. Don’t hold back. Trust your instincts and go for it!
How can we find out more about your business?