Research shows that approximately 15-20% of the U.S. population identifies as neurodivergent, highlighting the significance of companies embracing neurodiversity. How can companies effectively support neurodiverse employees in the workplace, and what advantages does such inclusion bring? To explore these inquiries, we speak with accomplished business leaders who offer firsthand experiences and invaluable insights on the theme of “Neurodiversity in the Workforce.” As part of our series, we were privileged to interview Stephen Roth.

Stephen Roth, CFP®, is Principal and Founder of Limestone Financial Group, Newark NJ an independent financial planning firm managing assets for wealthy couples and their families. His expertise is working with neurodivergent individuals to create a healthy relationship between their health and their wealth and empower them to overcome challenges and drive purpose in their lives.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you ended up where you are?

It started caddying around 15 years ago at a private, exclusive, country club in NY/NJ near Ridgewood, NJ. Growing up in an upper middle-class neighborhood, that was my first exposure to wealth. It was an elite club and the members were all kind of professionals: judges, surgeons, doctors, CEOs, and NFL QB’s. I was able to show all those people around the course. You don’t know who is who when you’re young or what kind of power they wield. All I remember is how I was treated being young at my first job.

Providing wealth management for affluent families is a similar relationship to a golfer and caddy. Golfers may play for $, which is nerve racking. Fans are jeering noise. I calm people down, so they can hit a good shot. Alignment is key. Make sure they are pointing in the right direction. Golfers trust their caddy to navigate and guide them on the course better, which aids the golfer and saves them strokes in a match. When they are entertaining guests or clients on the course it’s about welcoming them, showing them a good time to make sure a memorable experience is had. This always makes them look better.

Similar in target is the work I do now. Alignment is key and having the right mindset is important. You want to make sure your cash flow is directed to where it will have the greatest impact on you achieving your goals. People have more than one problem to solve, most people deal with them as they encounter them and show up in life. That’s not a good strategy for golf, nor is it any way to plan financially. If you want to set yourself up for success, it’s important to be in the right position.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

The digital world is a new place for me to engage. I am not on Facebook, never was, LinkedIn is the one social platform I am on. I had to adapt and implement an omnichannel approach to marketing and branding. I think most successful leaders would agree it’s a skill that is developed over time. Most are curious people and lifelong learners who have a passion for figuring things out. Being curious is what leads to passion and why I would rate it #1. That is just how you are born curious creatures; I was

Being curious can lead folks in many different directions. I leveraged my curiosity to work for me. It kept me interested in what I was doing proficiently until learned how to be more conscientious about what I was doing. This means thinking about things in more detail and putting the puzzle pieces together for yourself and others along the way. That’s how I would define the #2 characteristic. “Being conscientious.” That probably came from my father, a hall of fame HS girls’ basketball coach from Bergen County. Sure, as a kid we did drills and practiced but you had to try to take it seriously, especially when you are a kid developing. He helped me develop a lot of that. Grit, you might call it.

Last would be having the right mindset. That is developed over the years, from living through different experiences both positive and negative. Others rely on me for advice and guidance, so I seek others out that are smarter than me or have experienced what I’m going through for help and to understand what to do next.

Can you share a story about one of your greatest work-related struggles? Can you share what you did to overcome it?

It was taboo letting people know your mental health state and it still is. I have firsthand experience leading up to my 20’s before I finally did something about it. More people should be aware Neurodiversity, specifically ADHD’s proximity to depression when untreated in young adults. It’s not weird if you think differently, but young kids are alienated for thinking differently. The key for me to overcome the limitations has been intentionally building good habits early on. I had to try harder than other kids my age to remember things like where the ball landed after they hit. I had to make it a habit to build habits intentionally. A way to remember where the golf ball went so I could find it was to mark where it landed in relation to an object in sight that I could remember. Another hack is making lists for everything. I prefer overly preparing for any project I engage in. I will look at different models and alternative sources for ideas, back testing ideas vs ones being considered.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Retirement is a big topic and more relevant than ever as the boomers began retiring in huge amounts. This includes my father who is 76. I’m seeing my midlife years as a means for “growing whole” not old. I don’t want a decade to seem like it passed me by, learning what it means in my 90’s. The project has been raising awareness on positives associated with getting older. Reframing “getting old” into something more positive. It’s a time for awakening in life and for cultivating a deeper sense of purpose.

Fantastic. Let’s now shift to our discussion about neurodiversity in the workforce. Can you tell our readers a bit about your experience working with initiatives to include neurodiverse employees? Can you share a story with us? 

A former employee in his mid-20’s was still finishing his college credits for a bachelors and was a caretaker in the Newark chapter for a Frat house close by my office. I was friends with an older brother from his chapter and wanted to help him out with an opportunity for employment after graduation. He was still learning how to be social and coming out of his shell to be more engaging. I’m aware October is Diversity Awareness month. That’s become culturally a big day in NYC for the pride parade. Raise your own awareness first, it’s up to everyone to figure this out. I try to correlate this message in all Limestone Financial’s communications. We celebrate diversity. One of the things he was good and that at nobody knew about him was that he played the saxophone since he was a kid and was skillful. I enjoy jazz so he eventually brought his sax in and would play on Friday afternoon on a patio outside. My goal is to be open, honest, and inclusive so people don’t feel alienated and do feel comfortable to be themselves.

This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have an inclusive work culture?

It creates a culture where people feel like they are part of a real team. A team that others rely on which gives them confidence and instills confidence in the team. I want everyone to feel comfortable enough to be themselves and ask a question if they don’t understand something. A lot of stuff breaks down when employees don’t understand the reasons why they are doing things. Then, they are doing exercises with no intention, without understanding the importance of each step in our process. We don’t want any one client or employee just going through the motions.

Can you share a few examples of ideas that were implemented at your workplace to help include neurodiverse employees? Can you share with us how the work culture was affected as a result?

I have had several neurodiverse employees since 2014, there’s many more on their way through college and into the workforce. Since I’m a small business, this affects my business differently, but we have all had to make changes. I have mandatory training required by my broker/dealer for Diversity Awareness in the workplace and when dealing with the public. Learning modules with tests or quizzes you must pass are requirements. Adapting the office to the Disabilities Act requires me to have an elevator in our building which we do. But more broadly, our message is celebrating diversity. It’s good for everybody on the planet.

What are some of the challenges or obstacles to including neurodivergent employees? What needs to be done to address those obstacles? 

Keeping them organized and on task is key to them doing their job successfully. Having an effective CRM, office database or dashboard for tasks is important. There are so many apps and technologies designed to make life easier if killing us first from distractions. Find these technologies and apps and use them. Implement them into your business for scalable growth.

How do you and your organization educate yourselves and your teams on the concept of neurodiversity and the needs of neurodivergent employees? Are there any resources, training, or workshops that you have found particularly helpful?

It’s important for everybody to be self-aware. I personally do my own research and have seen Dr.’s for my own medical reasons and questions. I use online resources as well to become engaged on what others are saying and the reasons why. There are amazing communities online with other members going through the same thing and sharing their experiences and path to recovery. One resource is to find a local chapter near where you live & resources to get involved. A good online community is which has access to other medical issues and wellness groups under its domain.

This is the main question of our interview. Can you please share five best practices that can make a business place feel more welcoming and inclusive of people who are neurodivergent? If you can, please share a few examples. 

  1. Start by creating awareness about diversity and celebrating the fact that it’s what makes us unique. That brings us together. Letting people know you’re human, one that makes mistakes and is not always right. I listen to people before speaking to make sense of how they see the world and what they had to go through. 
  2. Knowing we are all different and capable of planning across the spectrum has a technical meaning and a conceptual framework and finding a way to specialize in planning for the demand. We are aware of this and specialize in planning for needs across the spectrum recommending the use of special needs trusts for legacy planning purposes.
  3. We know how these terms are used as labels by society that are negative in context, which limits expectations. Our goal is to change the perception from a limiting belief and barrier that holds people & society back.
  4. Understand how not being inclusive plays a negative role in our society, not just to those who are neurodivergent. This is the basic principle and foundation in humanity. All humans are created equal. Not long ago this did not mean what it does today, which is something to experience with parents that lived through segregation and children that can’t imagine this as a reality.
  5. The last item is to keep in focus and new trend in every industry of specialized knowledge or skills that show completion of an online advanced degree or learning certificates achieved, completing levels & training courses complete with evidence of a passing final exams with grades above a certain %. Use that to gain access to a specialized niche with high demand for knowledge in that area to channel demand toward you. These are some of the new financial certifications:
    1. Certified Neurodiversity Professional (CNP®)
    2. Behavioral Financial Advisor (BFA™)
    3. Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC®)

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story about how that was relevant in your own life?

This has been on a post-it for a little less than a year. So glad you asked: “You’ve got to hang experience on a lattice work of models in your head to know what is going on.” This is from the the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

To me, it epitomizes neurodivergent thinking and how powerful it can be. He’s taken two abstract topics and incorporated them into one phrase, and it works. Using your imagination is how humans solve problems. It’s a way to explain some of the small portions of the cognitive biases and heuristics behind decision-making. Humans fell for the same traps throughout civilization’s history. They come back in different forms, wrapping people around their emotions and taking advantage of all the cognitive biases that exist.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This is easy. I’m going to keep it related to my work because I am passionate about financial planning and learning about money and what makes people tick in general. The financial literacy movement needs to be taught in 5th or 6th grade. It’s as important on the priority list as education about the birds and the bees. I hope to see more engagement on this in future.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

LinkedIn or blog posts on my website, or signing up for my email newsletter at