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Conversations That Matter

Conversations That Matter:
Neurodiversity: Let's Talk About It!

Neurodivergent and neurotypical are terminologies that are becoming part of the vocabulary when it comes to workforce inclusion. Neurodivergent refers to individuals who differ in neurological function from what is considered typical or more formally, Neurotypical. Neurodiversity focuses on the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits. In other words, the brain is wired differently. As a result, conditions such as ADHD and Autism aren’t “abnormal”, they are simply variations of the human brain. Varieties of Neurodiversity could include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • ADHD
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dyslexia
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

Our panel brings a variety of perspectives on Neurodiversity and will provide important information on the hiring practices, managing Neurodiverse employees, parenting Neurodiverse children and the power of Neurodiversity.
Come be a part of the conversation on this important and frequently overlooked topic in diversity and inclusion.

Join the SHFM family as we elevate critical topics during our Conversations That Matter webinar series. The sessions are designed to provide critical context on timely issues including diversity and inclusion topics to encourage frank, solution-focused dialogue.


Virtual Event
Wednesday, June 23 |  2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET
Free of charge – reservations required. Reserve your spot today!


Damian Monticello (Moderator)
Senior Manager, Corporate Hospitality Services, GuideWell

Damian Monticello is responsible for serving the foodservice needs of more than 15,000 employees throughout the GuideWell family of companies. Additionally, he is responsible for, The Conference Center at Florida Blue, audio-visual services, corporate travel, employee fitness centers and the GuideWell Athletic Complex; an onsite athletic court/field facility designed to engage employees and improve their overall health through participation in intramural sport leagues. 
Damian is an accredited Foodservice Management Professional (FMP), a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), a Global Travel Professional (GTP) and the SHFM President. He holds a degree in Advertising from Northwood University.
Dr. Steven Bier
Founder, Popcorn for the People

Dr. Steven Bier has been involved with philanthropy for over four decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, he performed fund raising for the Kidney Foundation and the National Assocation of Patients on Hemodialysis. Steven is the author of over a dozen medical articles and case reports and has created training programs for medical students and residents. In 2015, he purchased a local popcorn store and in 2016  transferred ownership to the nonprofit Let's Work for Good creating the social enterprise Popcorn for the People dedicated to the creation of meaningful, sustainable employment for Autistic workers and workers with other developmental disabilities.
Benjamin Margolis, M.D.

Bio coming soon!

Matt Szlapka
Direct Support Professional 

Matthew Szlapka is an autistic adult in his early-middle 30s, who works for three agencies as a Direct Support Professional for developmental clients and their families. His experience is not only based on the job, but also on a personal level, based on past, present and future. Matt has a Master’s Degree from Mannhattanville College. 

Juli Varsanyi 
Food Service Director, LifeWorks Restaurant Group 

Juli Varsanyi brings years of food and beverage experience and knowledge to the leadership team at Lifeworks Restaurant Group in Columbus, Ohio. With more than 20 years in the industry, her background spans from small independently owned restaurants to large food management companies producing over 10 million in annual revenues. Juli has been recognized throughout her career for her creative programs used to help grow revenue, developing her staff to advancement, and her ability to increase profits without sacrificing quality. 

Juli has a teenage son who was diagnosed at age 8 with ADHD.  She has been an integral part in his life as an advocate helping him and his teachers frame his challenges as differences, rather than deficits. Juli has cultured strategies and skills that provide the structure neurodiverse teens, as well as adults, need to succeed. She uses her knowledge and practices in the workplace to hire, train and retain neurodiverse employees. Juli continues her goal of training and educating her peers to shift their thinking to view neurodivergent candidates not as burdens, but as assets.