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Danielle Volen shares her experience joining the Neurodiversity ERG.
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When Danielle Volen, a Sales Training Lead for Verizon Media based in Los Angeles, heard about the Neurodiversity ERG (employee resource group), she wasn’t sure it was right for her.
Danielle has battled an eating disorder since she was a teenager and was even hospitalized several times throughout high school and college. Since starting work at Verizon Media, she has been seeing therapists and dieticians and is doing well.
“I became aware of the neurodivergent group through my old manager, but I was hesitant to join and expose myself because being vulnerable is scary,” explained Danielle. “I also felt like that was not something that would reflect positively on me in a work environment.”
But eventually Danielle did engage with the group and found the inclusive and welcoming community to be a great fit for her. “I think things have clicked more for me when I joined because there is a whole spectrum of people dealing with different mental health challenges and it manifests in different ways. I realized this is not something I’m experiencing in a vacuum and it helped me to accept it instead of trying to push it away.”
The COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges for Danielle. “Part of me felt guilty because my struggles with food and anxiety seemed so trivial compared to what was going on. I’ve had to stay honest with myself as to what is healthy for me right now and make sure that I’m owning what is going on with me and sharing it.”
Currently, Danielle does not have access to her treatment providers in-person, making the monthly ERG meetings especially helpful right now. “Attendance has been high, so I think people are looking for a place to connect and share.”
Danielle encourages anyone with mental health issues or an interest in the group to give it a try. “You don’t deserve to go through life with this burden on you. When you are ready, the Neurodiversity ERG will be here for you.”