Lee Chambers was being interviewed as part of his son’s autism diagnosis journey. As he was leaving, the psychologist said to him:
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?”
This one sentence ignited a curiosity to understand his childhood and the many challenges he has faced, alongside his strengths and achievements. As his son’s diagnosis was confirmed, he started the process of seeing if he was neurodivergent.
Chambers has had a diverse journey working across various sectors while building PhenomGames, a European videogame business. After becoming ill and losing the ability to walk, he made the bold decision to build a new company in a different industry, and this was the fuel for his latest venture, Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing.
The workplace wellbeing and inclusion agency, based in Preston, was launched two years ago. During that time it has acquired numerous national clients and been recognised with five awards, including the Great British Entrepreneur Award for Service Industries in 2021.
It is actively making a difference within its region, and is supporting local SEND schools with career mentoring and work experience for pupils.
Chambers has also been an advocate for embracing cognitive diversity and creating conditions for neurodivergent employees to thrive. He has taken the stage to share what a difference it can make to both the individuals impacting and the organisation as a whole.
On sharing his journey as a Black autistic man, Lee Chambers said: “Getting a diagnosis as an adult is a gift. It has answered so many questions and helped me process situations I’ve faced and experiences I’ve had. It feels like I’ve taken the handbrake off after years of trying to fit in and am able to be more vulnerable and sensitive about the challenges I’ve faced.
“From my perspective, being autistic and a psychologist seems like a strange mix when I speak to others, yet my passion and interest in how people work makes it something I find such interest in.
“There are so few autistic Black role models, and I want to change that by speaking openly about what I wish I had known and how support has been so important throughout my life so far.
“It is a privilege to be able to make an impact both personally and through Essentialise, and this is just the start of my drive to increase awareness, foster education and incite action.”
Chambers’ continued mission to make the future of work more equitable and inclusive is continuing to gain traction. The team at Essentialise is shortlisted for further awards, including the National Startup Awards and National Diversity Awards.
Lee continues to highlight barriers to an equitable workplace and will take the stage during the spring to talk about menopause, autism, and inclusive wellbeing.