11 CEOs with Dyslexia

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    Take a look at some of the top dyslexic entrepreneurs, and read about their success stories. As business people, they set an example for learners and entrepreneurs at all levels.

    There are a lot of famous people who suffer from a learning disability of some sort. Examples include ADHD, dyslexia and dyscalculia. Just because someone might suffer from dyslexia doesn’t mean that they cannot go on to be successful entrepreneurs, business leaders or a co-founder. Entrepreneurship requires a diverse set of skills, and there are plenty of successful CEOs who have been diagnosed with dyslexia in elementary, middle or high school. Take a look at some of the top dyslexic entrepreneurs, and read about their success stories. As business people, they set an example for learners and entrepreneurs at all levels.

    Sir Richard Branson

    Sir Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group, which is perhaps best known for the airline company Virgin Atlantic. In the past, he has said that his success can be attributed to his dyslexic brain. He believes it is the time to recognize and appreciate neurodiversity. Some people think differently than others, and it is important to put those problem-solving skills to use. In some cases, thinking differently can uncover new solutions that might have otherwise been overlooked.

    John Chambers

    Cisco CEO John Chambers also has been diagnosed with dyslexia. He has enjoyed tremendous success, in part because his parents were aware of dyslexia and able to help him from a very young age. Even though he was able to outgrow his learning difficulties, he continues to learn from them. He has used his position to spread awareness of dyslexia, and he works hard to make sure that people have access to the resources they need. The next time you’re browsing LinkedIn for career opportunities, you can thank the CEO of Cisco for creating a healthier working environment for all of us.

    Walt Disney

    Walt Disney was also diagnosed with dyslexia. Of course, he is the iconic founder of one of the largest entertainment and video production companies in the world. Even though Disney is a name that is synonymous with animation, Walt Disney had a lot of issues as a child. He was significantly behind his classmates, and he had a difficult time keeping up during an era in which not a lot was known about dyslexia. Now, the Disney Company continues to donate resources to various organizations that help people with learning disabilities. Talk about building on the big picture vision of helping others established by an extraordinary founder!

    Henry Ford

    Henry Ford was an automobile specialist who used assembly line manufacturing techniques to give rise to some of the top automobiles in the world. As a courageous person, he did not allow his learning difficulties or differently abled functionality to impact his drive to change the world. In a lot of ways, the only reason the average person can purchase a car today is because of his unique outlook on the world. Today, he serves as an inspiration to countless others who want to overcome learning difficulties.

    Tommy Hilfiger

    Many people are familiar with Tommy Hilfiger, one of the most iconic clothing lines in the world. It has had a significant impact on the fashion industry today because of its fashionable and affordable clothing for people of all backgrounds. It turns out Tommy Hilfiger himself had to overcome dyslexia as a child. He might have been significantly behind his classmates, but he also tapped into his creative side to build one of the most recognizable clothing brands on Earth.

    Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs is one of the iconic founders of Apple. As the main founder of the company, he changed the world with his innovative devices. At the same time, he also had a lot of difficulty reading and writing growing up. In addition to his success as a tech entrepreneur, he spent a lot of time studying art and reading books to overcome challenges. He believed that people with dyslexia think differently, which means that they can use a slightly different perspective to have a positive impact on the world around them.

    Ingvar Kamprad

    Kamprad is the founder of IKEA, a famous business and acronym that pays tribute to the leader and the region in which he grew up. Today, it’s one of the most recognizable furniture companies in the world. This founder didn’t know he suffered from dyslexia until later in life. One story published in The New York Times indicated he had a difficult time as a student concentrating, which is a hallmark of dyslexia. At the same time, this allowed him to tap into his creative side, and he was able to design furniture that could save a tremendous amount of space. Now, this furniture is found in countless homes scattered all over the world.

    Paul Orfalea

    He is the founder of one of the biggest copychain companies in the world, Kinkos. He was diagnosed with both ADHD and dyslexia. Even so, he does not view these as a learning disability. Instead, he views them as an opportunity to learn how to do things differently. In addition to his success as a publishing magnate, he is also a successful author. In his books, he talks about how people can use learning disabilities to their advantage. Even if most of us never appear on “Shark Tank,” we can benefit from these insights.

    Charles Schwab

    People who grew up decades ago often went undiagnosed even though they had dyslexia. The diagnostic tools that we have today were not available back then. Charles Schwab lived this reality. He wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until he was in his 40s. In fact, it wasn’t until after a doctor diagnosed his son with dyslexia that he himself received a similar diagnosis. At the same time, he overcame his dyslexia to become one of the top investors and banking professionals in the world.

    Ted Turner

    Many people are familiar with Ted Turner, the founder of Turner Broadcasting System. Today, he is one of the biggest media moguls in the world. It turns out Turner had a lot of difficulty as a child because he couldn’t keep up with his classmates when it came to reading and writing. Instead of allowing these barriers to prevent progress, he decided to tap into his strengths to change the world.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is the founder and CEO of Speechify, one of the top text-to-speech programs in the world. He decided to create the program after he being diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age. He believes that people with learning disabilities must have a source of support they can use to augment their social and academic development. That led to the formation of Speechify, which benefits people with and without learning disabilities. Already, it has become a wildly popular success, and people can use the program to listen to their favorite audiobooks, learn a second language and expand their vocabulary.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Some of the most common questions people ask about this topic include:

    What percentage of CEOs are dyslexic?

    It is difficult to say what percentage of people on Wall Street suffer from dyslexia. A lot of business leaders do not want to admit that they suffer from this condition. Even though it has been estimated that approximately 25 percent of business leaders and business insiders are dyslexic, it would be very difficult to come up with a final number. Well-known leaders with dyslexia include Barbara Corcoran of “Shark Tank” fame, who says dyslexia made her more determined to be successful.

    Are dyslexics good at business?

    Yes, many people with dyslexia are good at business. It’s important for them to have appropriate support to succeed in the classroom. That is why a lot of people with dyslexia take advantage of a program called Speechify, which can help them with reading and writing.

    How do dyslexics feel about their condition?

    This condition impacts people in different ways, meaning everyone’s experience of dyslexia is unique to them. Generally speaking, there are many people who are proud of their condition and have overcome it. At the same time, others continue to face challenges in the classroom, often because they lack support, a formal diagnosis or both. That is why it’s important to make sure students have access to supportive programs, including Speechify.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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