Finding your authentic voice, public speaking and advocacy (rewriting the rules) Chat with Annie Crowe

Differently Aligned Podcast – Episode 7

by Adina Levy

In this podcast shortie version of our chat, Annie Crowe and I talk about:

1. How to find the balance between being a bit cheeky and pushing the envelope, and possibly offending people… while making the changes that you want in the world

2. How to decide which speaking opportunities to say yes or no

3. The ‘neuronormative’ rules about public speaking and advocacy that we can ditch, to be more authentically ourselves

Links & Resources

Join the Collective and get access to the video & full chat with Annie!https://ndbusiness.co/neurodivergent-business-collective/

Aligned Business workshop live on 22nd June 2024, with earlybird ending 15th May 2024 –  https://ndbusiness.co/aligned-business-workshop/


Get your first month free! Use coupon code PODMONTHFREE to join for free in your first month so you can adventure through and experience life as a Neurodivergent Business Collective member!

Learn more here: https://ndbusiness.co/neurodivergent-business-collective/

Register here for your free month access: https://courses.ndbusiness.co/offers/JHPj3bPx?coupon_code=PODMONTHFR

Connect with Annie:




Free things for neurodivergent business owners: ndbusiness.co/freebies

Learn more about future events: 




 Welcome to the Differently Aligned Podcast for Neurodivergent Business Owners. I’m Adina Levy, an autistic ADHDer and a multiple business owner. From a card-making business at age 8, through to handmade cloud cushions, running a speech therapy team with a traditional office, and now to my lean, profitable, nimble, and fun online businesses, Play. Learn. Chat. and Neurodivergent Business Coaching and Consulting.

I’m all about supporting neurodivergent business owners like you to build a business that is aligned with your brain, your skills, your passions, your wants, your support needs, and your life. And it can be profitable, fun, and impactful along the way. So join me for ideas, support, conversations, and guidance to grow your business without burning out. Let’s turn up the fun, the flow, and the alignment.

I’m recording on the traditional lands of the Gadigal and Bidjigal people, and I acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands wherever you’re listening to this.

Welcome friends today, you are going to hear part of a chat that I had with the wonderful Annie Crowe. And I’ll introduce her properly in a moment. So Annie, and I had this chat form on Neurodivergent Business, Collective members, and there’s a full video of our chat available to the members.

What you’re gonna hear on this podcast episode: she’s going to tell us all about how you find the balance between being a little bit cheeky, pushing the envelope and maybe offending people. While you’re making the changes that you want to see in the world. She’s going to tell us how to decide which speaking opportunities you might say. Yes or no to. And we talk about some neuro normative rules about public speaking and advocacy that we can throw out the window. To be a bit more authentically ourselves.  

In that full  chat, available to Neurodivergent Business, Collective members you would get to hear about her public speaking journey, we talk a lot of details about pricing and how you decide on pricing factors that are quite. Tricky to decide, and she’ll share a little bit about a podcast interview that she did early on in her advocacy and public speaking journey that terrified her just a bit. 

So, if you are a member of the Neurodivergent Business Collective, I love you. Thank you very much. You can go into your resource hub and go and check that whole video out. You can also access it on your phone, for example, in listening, through the Kajabi app. So you can go and listen to the chat as you’re walking or whatever you like to do while you’re listening to stuff. 


If you are not yet, and you’re a divergent business collective member, and you’re curious, I would love for you to come  and check us out. 

And I have a fancy new discount code for you so you can get one month free as a wonderful podcast listener. 

The link is in the show notes. So you do not have to remember a thing. And also the discount code is there, but I will tell you for your wonderful ears. If you register and use the code PODMONTHFREE as in F R E not the number three, um, PODMONTHFREE. We’ll get you your first month free so you can come in, no risk, check it out. 

And if it’s right for you, then you can stay a member. And I hope that you will cause we are. Oh, wonderful. little thriving growing community. resources support, connection validation. It’s, it’s a wonderful little world in that. So I hope you’ll think about joining us. 

And there’s one more thing I’ll take quickly before we dive into our chat with any.  In June I am running the aligned business workshop it will probably be my only live workshop for the rest of the year. 

It’s an online workshop for Neurodivergent Business owners that we hang out on zoom for a day. There is a workbook we meet in big groups, small groups. We reflect, we get quiet. We join in in the way that is right for each individual. 


And throughout the day, every single person is working towards figuring out what an aligned business looks like for them. And making steps and plans to move towards that. 

It is a wonderful, beautiful, connected, supported day. And I hope that you’ll consider joining. If you are interested, head on over to the link in the show notes. Like right now, because early bird pricing is on until the 15th of May, 2024. So the event is on the 22nd of June. And if you’re listening after the 15th of May, you’ll still be able to join as long as there’s still spots. 

It’s quite a small workshop. 

 Anyway, it’s time for us to head in, meet Annie Crowe and .  Hear all about finding your authentic voice, public speaking advocacy and rewriting the roles.



 Hello Annie, welcome, welcome.  Thanks for having me. Again, we have many conversations so maybe you’ve caught our chats on podcasts and so on before, but anyway, I’m going to assume that those watching have not met Annie, but if you, Have you know how wonderful she is? If you haven’t, I’m about to share that with you.

So Annie Crowe is a proud, multiply neurodivergent, chronically ill, disabled human rights lawyer and the CEO of NeuroAccess, which is a really, really important and wonderful consulting and coaching business. So she works with neurodivergent     folks  providing resources, education, and awareness of neurodivergent accessibility needs and support.

She also does many other things. Including she founded Eating Disorders Neurodiversity Australia, also known as AEDNA. And many, many other things. Annie, is there anything on your mind that you’re like, this is also me very much right now that you definitely want me to mention? 

Oh goodness, Mother to moose, my seven year old standard poodle.


 So many important, elements that you’ve done and that you continue to do with your work, your advocacy. And I think it’s going to be absolutely delightful to have this chat with you.

and Your topic that we’re going to chat about is finding your authentic voice, public speaking and advocacy, rewriting the rules. 


 There’s a bravery there that you’ve described and you. talk about it, almost as if you just kind of went you know, bugger that. I can just like, I’ve got this thing I have to say. I just have to say it. Okay. So here I am, people pleaser me, and I know that there are some autistic folks and some neurodivergent folks who do not have that.

And I’m sure it’s probably its own little spectrum of like how people pleasery we are or not. That terrifies me to go counter to other people to know there are people in this room and by me saying this thing. I’m probably gonna annoy someone. Mm. And there’s all these subtexts as well, and all that little social nitty gritty that I find very hard to wrap my head around.

How do you find your balance? I’ve got some Yiddish words popping into my head that are just so important. Like how much chutzpah do you have? Like how much do you decide? I’m going to be cheeky. I guess that’s kind of the translation. 

Oh, totally. I’m very cheeky and sassy.

So just like 

get up there and go, look, I just have to say the thing and I need the people to hear it. Nevermind if someone gets offended because that’s just part of my work, my bigger work. Okay. Yeah. So 

 I think a bit of it is like, you know, Who’s your audience and, and how comfortable are you are in that regard? So I had that advantage, but, but besides that, there is that level of, you know, I mean, they could have just think, who’s this joke?

She’s not even a medical professional or health professional, like, what does she know? Right? Maybe some of them were thinking that, I don’t really care. But for me, the thing that counters a lot of those narratives, which I absolutely do deal with in my own head, some, some of It’s really a matter of, and this is actually one of the reasons why I didn’t start doing what I did until after I had my child, because I was diagnosed well before I had him, and I’d been on a very, very long journey to figuring everything out, and I’m still figuring it out, I don’t think we ever get there, but I wanted to get to a point where I was extremely comfortable in what My own conclusions and my own thoughts around things, like I wasn’t just learning and repeating what others had said.

It was like, I was learning about autism, neurodiversity, uh, chronic illness, mental health, all of these things. And then really deep diving into my own beliefs. So when I got up there to say those things, I was saying them from a very, very deep belief. That if someone questioned me, which they’re absolutely able to do, and it has been done, like people in Q& As and such, I’ve had people question me, I love it, that I am very confident in it.

Talking through my thought processes to why I’ve said these things and why I’ve come to these conclusions or beliefs or why I take the approach that I take and that can, that you don’t, you don’t just get up and start that way, it builds, like I was a little bit confident in that at the beginning, now I’m very confident in that, now I’ve done it for so much longer, but having that conviction of knowing Who you are and what you stand for and what you want to, you know, be, the change you want to see in the world, that’s what can help dampen that inner critic or shadow or that voice, the imposter syndrome, all of that stuff that can get in our way of, you know, Making that difference that we want to make.

I’m going to go with something you said earlier about that you reflected on how you could best use your skills.

And that is something that I talk to the collective members about a lot. And I hope. This message comes through, which is you know, I’m sure you teach your people the same. It’s like, you have to find your pathway. Like, we’re not all going to go and do Annie’s public speaking pathway. 

And if you know that that is not going to be for you and it’s the kind of fear that you’re like, actually, no, that is not the kind of fear I need to challenge. This is not my thing. Fine. You find your own thing. And for some people, like for me, I think it certainly is, uh, a joy and a stretch for me to do any kind of public speaking in, you know, all the different ways that I’ve dabbled in and Even, you know, just being these public faces on Instagram is its own scary, exciting thing.

All of those things. We find our own pathway there. And I think that’s really key is that reflection for yourself going like, okay, I have these skills. I have these capabilities. What’s my best use of them? Yeah. Although is that a capitalistic kind of thing? It’s like, I still have to use my skills.

Maybe we also can rest. 

Oh, totally. No, no. I think you can have both at the same time. You do not have to use your skills, but if you want to 

I love, there it is. That’s all 

the fellow PDA ers out there too. 

I was going to say, let’s just take that pressure off. It’s like, uh, just go forth and speak or don’t, or, you know, whatever.

Yeah. And also like, you know, just because you have the skills doesn’t mean you have to do it too. 

Personalising the journey  you figure out what you want to do or kind of what sort of speaking or public face you want to have.


And then I’ve been certainly wondering this a lot, which is how to figure out which opportunities you say yes to and say no to. I, I have some ideas about this and I’m not nailing it. I’d love to know what your thinking is on this at the moment, maybe for yourself and maybe in a more general sense. 

Yeah, it’s hard because I think very first yes, no, is Do I have the spoons? , because spoons are my number one, you know, what’s the word? Money? Uh, currency. Currency, yeah. I see that. And 

I, I think people in the collective probably know it by now, but if you don’t, we’re talking about, it’s like spoon theory spoons, which is kind of energetic kind energy.

Yeah. But 

yeah, we refer to it quite a bit. Yeah. So I love. That you, that’s your first guidepost. 

Yeah. And it can be hard because you don’t always know how many spoons you’re going to have in two months when they’ve asked you to do a speech. Especially if you’re like me and have multiple chronic illnesses that flare up from time to time and you’re just not really sure.

So that, that can be really difficult, but spoons are definitely first. Then it’s, you know, who, who are they? What are their motivation? What impact will this have? The very last thing I’ll think about is usually money. And I don’t say that to be like, Oh, I’m so awesome and nice. I don’t think about money.

Money is very important. It’s more just that these other things are, are priorities for me personally.  It’s really a matter of, you know, each step in that layer of decision making can have an impact on whether I say yes or no. 


That’s interesting. So you still, it’s always a balance between all of those different factors. What’s in it for you? How much change is it going to make in the world? Where’s your capacity at?  You mentioned this being a bit of a rule breaker, like you are a neurodivergent person, you do not have to, and you do not follow the rules or the conventional wisdom of what problems look like. What do you do there and how, yeah, what would you recommend to anyone else getting out into the public eye in any way?

What, what rules  📍 can we ditch ? 

Yeah, no, absolutely. So one of the things I don’t like is the linear style of presentations. My brain is not linear in any way, shape or form. It’s more of a web. So I very early on would find technology that would help me with that. So I use Miro  it’s basically like PowerPoint, but you can position the PowerPoint slides anywhere and you can have them in a traditional flow, but you can also zoom out and jump around.

And so when I’m doing any of my group coaching or. more corporate presentations, I do this because I not only do I change every presentation depending on the audience and also to keep it fresh, because I’d get bored. But also when I’m in that presentation, sometimes in the minute, like I can change just there just because it.

Depending on how I feel, depending on the reaction I’m getting from the audience, depending on how they introduced me and maybe what I’m seeing their focus is. And it allows me to, it’s not like I don’t jump around willy nilly, it’s more purposeful, but it allows me not to have to go like skip forward, forward, forward, and back, back, back to slides.

And it, it really takes a lot of my anxiety around planning presentations and speeches, because I know that I’m not rigidly stuck in this perfect linear storytelling role. So that’s one of the ways that I break the rules, if you can call it that. Another way is, I used to get very anxious. When I would speak because I’d get really like, I’ve got a mask, I’ve got to not forget my train of thought.

I’ve got to, you know, be very professional, not fidget, not all of the things. Now I’m very much like, if I do those things. That’s just a blessing on the audience because they’re getting to see me in my natural light. And what I teach is what I am. So I usually will, when I, when it happens, I’ll usually make a joke of it or call it out.

It’s even funnier when it’s usually like, uh, I recently went and launched, uh, Sonny Janewise, uh, their book in Sydney. are with them and it was an audience of mostly neurodivergents and we kept losing our train of thought and it was just hilarious. But, you know, you don’t have to be this perfect speaker who has this incredibly part one, two, three, Plan, speak, you know, hit the high, bring it in.

You don’t forget your train of thought. That stuff, if you do that, you’re not less valuable. Your point, your speech, your impact is not less worthy. And the minute we throw out the judgment on that and don’t judge ourselves, The quicker others will judge us less. And you know what, if they do, that’s their internalised ableism.

That’s their ableism sticking out. We don’t need to deal with that. And, and if they, if they get a shock by it, maybe they need that shock, you know, for me, it’s like, people need to see diversity. That’s like me sitting on that stage was also a part of my physical disability. I have, Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

So standing for 15 minutes while keeping concentration is really hard for me. Cause my hips and knees and ankles can get sore in my back. So it’s always about making accommodations that work for you and knowing that it’s okay and it doesn’t make you less of an awesome speaker. Right. So for everything I do is always about like, how are people going to judge this?

And do I care? Or should I care? 

And it’s so, you know, coming from a lifetime of being, like, a high masking person, which I know you and I both are. 


We even have to unpack that consciously for ourselves. But it sounds like this appearing neurodivergent, appearing more authentically yourself, that is part of your advocacy.

That is You’re living it. 

I practice what I preach pretty much. 

I love it. Thank you for sharing that. That’s brilliant. Yeah. And obviously that’s going to look different for everyone, how you are. 

And your comfort level might be different. You know, I’m, I’m a, I’m a very strong advocate for, you know, masking, being able to unmask is also a privilege because, uh, you know, it’s unsafe for a lot of people to unmask and everyone’s at a different place in their journey.

So if you don’t think you can get up there and be fully authentically you, or maybe you haven’t come out yet, And you don’t, you’re not comfortable coming out and you want to speak still, that’s fine. You don’t have to. This is just my journey. It’s you can still be authentically you in a different way.



I feel like there’s a freedom from what I’m hearing from your voice. It’s like how. When you start to say, I am putting that aside, and that’s a conscious choice, which, as you said, you have the privilege to make, when, when you do that, it emboldens you to just get out on that stage that fear stuff doesn’t have to rule so much.

Not everybody is ready to get up on stages, speak at conferences, or some people may not ever do that. And that’s cool. But a lot of us are putting ourselves out there on social media in various ways. So I guess. Is there anything that you wanted to share about how you connect that, like getting out there on the big, literal big stages and how that connects to anyone putting themselves out there, building their online profile in any way at all, and starting to get into that public eye?

Yeah. Yeah. I’m definitely not a social media expert by any means, but  social media is the place I think you’re most likely to get the haters just because of the exposure aspect. Like when you go to a conference or a workplace or wherever to do your speech, you’re usually speaking to a very, you know, specific audience, right.

And you can tailor your speech to that audience. You know, so I’ll have speeches that are more aimed at that  my neurokin, right, which will be way more chill and honest and Like authentic and brutal, in terms of, you know, don’t hold back. And then I’ll have the corporate speech about neurodiversity at work, and that’ll be way more like introductory, high level, you know, don’t overwhelm them with the language and that sort of thing.

So like you can tailor it, but on, on social media, you can’t to an extent.

 there’s so many platforms out there.  LinkedIn and Instagram tend to be mine, I’m on Facebook, but it’s mostly just Instagram posting to Facebook, and Instagram is sort of more of my personal social media, the one that I am a little bit, I share more about in my life.

And I share a bit more intimate stuff.  And then LinkedIn is the more professional side of it. I recommend not trying to be on all platforms, you’ll just spread yourself thin.

You can slowly build up to that, that’s fine. But like, just go with whatever sort of works for you already, like what feels natural to you. And that can be in type of content, you know, do you like short form, long form, video, text, visual, whatever. And for me, it’s just trying to take what I am on the stage and in my work and consulting and coaching.

And being authentic in how I show up online as well. 

I just think it’s important to mention because I would have wanted to hear it in my early days is  don’t be afraid to just start, like, whether that’s, you know, filming yourself speaking and posting it on a story or whether that’s like putting your hand up and asking a podcast if they want you as a guest.


Let it hold you back. If you’re a perfectionist like us. You know, I, I would let things not happen until it was too late.

I think social media is a lovely scratch pad for just like testing ideas. And for me, my podcast is a space where I kind of think through ideas and frameworks, and it’s kind of often the origin of what then becomes webinars and stuff for me.  Social media is kind of a play space. 


Think of it like that. 

Yeah, especially like stories obviously disappear. Yeah. So that can be like a little less stressful in terms of doing a full post that’s going to stay on your feed. 

Yeah. And 

you know, if you’re just getting comfortable and.

You’ll get there. 

I love it. Just, Nike took it first, but just do it. Like just get started. It will be messy. 


 Annie, we always could go on and on, and I, I have no doubt I’ll have you back in for another chat on another topic, another day. And I can’t wait to chat to your community as well. Thank you for your friendship and for your sharing and your vulnerability and your honesty. Like this is golden. 


No worries. I love talking to you and you’ve got such a beautiful community growing, so it’s great to be a part of it. 

I had so much fun and got so much out of that chat with Annie, and I really, really hope that you did too. Whether you’re into public speaking or whether you are crafting your social media presence or whether you’re just curious. I hope. That you’ve got some new idea or validation that the way that you want to show up in the world. As your USU is absolutely valid and appropriate and important as well. Good luck on your journey. 

Putting yourself out there. I’d love to hear what you’ve taken away from this episode. So come and chat with me on Instagram. 

And remember if you are keen to join the Neurodivergent Business Collective use the code PODMONTHFREE To join us for absolutely no dollars for the first month.  

And go and check out the aligned business workshop. If you think that you’d like a time and a space to go deeper and connect with me and, a small group of other Neurodivergent Business owners in real time. 


Early bird pricing ends on the 15th of May. So come over and join us, take it out and get in touch. 

If you have any questions.

 Thank you so much for listening in. I hope that you’ve taken something helpful from today’s episode and please do share it with a fellow neurodivergent business owner friend. You can find me on Instagram @neurodivergent.business and all the links that I’ve talked about are in the show notes.

Remember, your business can feel aligned and easy and it’s okay to do business 📍 differently. I’ll see you on the next episode.