Ever hear the term “neurodiversity”? Andrew Komarow is passionate about supporting it, having built an international business providing advice to clients and others dealing with diverse neurological differences including autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Tourette Syndrome. Much of his work is done pro bono. Komarow was diagnosed with autism as an adult. Similarly, his staff at Farmington, Connecticut-based Planning Across the Spectrum and sister hybrid, Tenpath Financial Group, is neurodiverse. “I have strengths and weaknesses, just like anyone else,” he says, “but the diagnosis explained a lot of the problems I had growing up. Sometimes, I’m a little too blunt or honest, and I can’t write to save my life. But I’m good at digging into details and coming up with unique solutions.”

In addition to conventional financial planning solutions, he and his staff help those with special needs and their families — as well as companies that employ special-needs people — navigate the complexities of available government assistance programs, as well as point out the many estate and tax planning issues that most individuals, and advisers, don’t know about. His team even provides job coaching. Active in several autism initiatives and programs in his home state, as well as a frequent participant in Yale University clinical trials to drive research and education, Komarow is also working with Private Advisor Group and the Financial Planning Association to launch a neurodiversity initiative and internship program. “There are many things that neurodiverse people can do and do well; the financial planning profession needs their skills.”

[More: Watch “How I Made it” video with Andrew here]

— Evan Cooper