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It’s Vanessa Castañeda Gill’s mission to unite her passions for art and stories in innovative ways that help people. Learning from her experiences growing up on the autism spectrum, she founded Social Cipher: a social-emotional learning platform that connects neurodivergent youth and their advocates (counselors, teachers, mental health professionals) in an immersive virtual world. Their empowering, game-based approach helps autistic youth fail safely for social-emotional success beyond the screen. Her 40% neurodivergent team recently released their game series, Ava: a space-pirate adventure that explores social challenges through the eyes of an autistic protagonist.

Vanessa and her team have earned recognition as Forbes 30 Under 30s, AT&T Aspire and Camelback Ventures Fellows, and Facebook Global Gaming Citizens.