Helen Needham

Management Consultant

Helen Needham

I am Helen and I help banks work out how to do things better. I started out as a computer programmer and then became a management consultant, because I was interested in how information flows through a bank. It is a bit like being a detective, and a puzzle solver. I have to speak to lots of people and read lots of documents, to find clues about how things work. When I have all the clues, I put them together and try to work out how to make things better.

For a long time, I struggled with the people around me and we didn’t always understand each other. People were the biggest puzzle, and I spent a lot of time trying to decode them to work them out. Last year I found out that I am autistic, and this has helped me understand why I struggled so much. My son, aged 9, is also autistic and he showed me that there are so many great things about being autistic when you are supported by people who understand you. He says that he is “my inspiration for all things autism”.

Now I tell the people around me that I am autistic and I write online about what it is like to be different, as I think that the world needs people who think differently. We often see things that other people miss.

Helen is our Code Breakers box champion.

I love being a scientist because...

I get to solve puzzles and problems for a living.

The most awesome thing I have done so far is...

Help people realise how amazing they are to have a brain which works differently.

My heroes are...

My Dad.

Advice I would give my 7 year old self...

Don’t try to change to fit in because the world needs people who think differently.

At primary school my favourite thing to do was...

Reading. My favourite stories were about Nancy Drew (a young female detective).

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