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Society & Culture

Mentra’s Jhillika Kumar is on a Mission to Empower the Neurodivergent Workforce

podcast July 10, 2024

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On this episode of “B The Way Forward,” host Brenda Darden Wilkerson and guest Jhillika Kumar discuss her passion to empower the neurodivergent community. Jhillika’s list of accolades started at a young age including the AnitaB.org Student of Vision Award, her inspiring Ted Talk and Forbes 30 Under 30 recognition. Jhillka is the CEO and founder of Mentra, an employment network committed to matching neurodivergent individuals with employers. From a young age, Jhillika was inspired to build an inclusive world and place for her non-speaking, autistic brother to thrive. Now, she’s offering advice and guidance to communities of students and neurodivergent individuals and helping them find opportunities in the workforce. Jhillika’s company has found great success so far with around 44,000 neurodivergent job seekers on their platform today and an investment from OpenAI co-founder and CEO Sam Altman. Jhillika and Brenda discuss why it’s important for hiring managers to understand intersectionality and learn how people can have differences ranging from life experiences, cultures, gender identities, and more. Plus, Jhillika offers her advice for other young entrepreneurs looking to make a change in the world. 

“Our company serves as Mentors to both job seekers, because we empower them through the journey to find a job, to navigate interviews and all the executive functioning involved in that complicated process, to mentoring the recruiters on how do you communicate with someone who’s neurodivergent and thinks differently? How do you evaluate talent? How do you overcome the bias that you might have because someone behaves a certain different way or speaks differently?”

For more of Jhillika and her work check out:

LinkedIn – /jhillika

Instagram – @jhillika

X – @Jhillika

Facebook – /jhillika

At AnitaB.org, we envision a future where the people who imagine and build technology mirror the people and societies for whom they build it. Find out more about how we support women, non-binary individuals, and other underrepresented groups in computing, as well as the organizations that employ them and the academic institutions training the next generations.

Connect with AnitaB.org

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Facebook – /anitab.0rg

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On the web – anitab.org 

Our guests contribute to this podcast in their personal capacity. The views expressed in this interview are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology or its employees (“AnitaB.org”). AnitaB.org is not responsible for and does not verify the accuracy of the information provided in the podcast series. The primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and inform. This podcast series does not constitute legal or other professional advice or services.

B The Way Forward Is…

Produced by Dominique Ferrari and Paige Hymson

Sound design and editing by Neil Innes and Ryan Hammond 

Mixing and mastering by Julian Kwasneski 

Associate Producer is Faith Krogulecki

Executive Produced by Dominique Ferrari, Stacey Book, and Avi Glijansky for Riveter Studios and Frequency Machine 

Executive Produced by Brenda Darden Wilkerson for AnitaB.org

Podcast Marketing from Lauren Passell and Arielle Nissenblatt with Riveter Studios and Tink Media in partnership with Carolyn Schneller and Coley Bouschet at AnitaB.org

Photo of Brenda Darden Wilkerson by Mandisa Media Productions

For more ways to be the way forward, visit AnitaB.org

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