Success Stories

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Success Stories


Having dyslexia makes reading, and sometimes other skills, more difficult to acquire, but having dyslexia is not necessarily a barrier to success. In fact, many individuals with dyslexia have not only been successful, they have changed the world. Research has shown that wiring in the brains of people with dyslexia is different, and many believe that this different wiring of the brain causes people with dyslexia to see problems in different ways that can support innovation and success. Whether or not you consider dyslexia a gift, clearly dyslexia is no barrier to success. Here are just a few examples of men and women with dyslexia who have found success in their lives.

Do you have a success story you would like to share? IDA would love to hear your story. Contact us at

Jared Blank

Marathon runner Jared Blank was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was five years old. As he moved through school, he learned that, for him, academic success would be a matter of hard work and endurance. When working with tutors he discovered that tasks that took someone else one hour, might take him three. Today, Blank has a career in collegiate athletics and advanced degrees from two universities. Blank runs for IDA’s TeamQuest to help raise awareness about dyslexia.

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Fred Forsley

There’s a good chance that you know who Fred Forsley is, even if you have never heard his name. He is the founder of Shipyard Brewing Company, the biggest craft beer brewer in Maine and a national leader in the industry. Established almost 25 years ago, Forsley’s Shipyard Brewing Company was an early pioneer in the craft brewing movement. Some of Forsley’s other accomplishments include being a successful real estate broker since the age of 19, and an avid runner and sponsor of road races through Shipyard. He is also dyslexic.

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 Cameron Herold

Cameron Herold Photo

Cameron Herold is one of the most sought-after business minds in North America. He has built several million-dollar companies from the ground up, as well as being a mentor to top-rated CEOs in the business world. Throughout his career, Cameron has been instrumental in the successful sale, branding, and integration of a remarkable 500 business locations with three major companies. In 2014, Cameron was the recipient of the Pinnacle Award, which was created to recognize an individual with dyslexia who has publicly acknowledged his dyslexia, made significant achievements in his field of interest, is leading a successful life, and is a role model for others with dyslexia.

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Lindsay Leavitt

Lindsay's Bat Mitzvah

At only age 13, Lindsay Leavitt knew she wanted to use her “Mitzvah” project to raise awareness around dyslexia. Lindsay, who has dyslexia, launched a campaign to increase dyslexia awareness and also set fundraising goals to raise money for the International Dyslexia Association. She soon exceeded her donations goals.

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Anthony Raneri

When Anthony Raneri—lead singer, guitarist, and lyricist for the punk band Bayside—was doing a Facebook Live chat with some of the band’s more than 200,000 followers on the social media site, he could finally, publicly, put a name to what used to undermine his confidence: He told his fans he has dyslexia.

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 Kendra Thomas

Kendra Thomas would tell herself, “I can’t be a writer, I can’t do this, I can’t do that—I’ll never be a straight-A student.” She didn’t think of herself as an intelligent person. But three published books and one play later, despite her struggles with dyslexia and ADD, Kendra is a successful principal at a school in Texas working on her dissertation and a fourth book.


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  • Ingvar Kamprad, Founder of IKEA
  • Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Enterprises
  • John T. Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems
  • Charles Schwab, American businessman and investor and the founder of the Charles Schwab Corporation.


  • Ben Carson, M.D., Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins University
  • Brooks Edwards, M.D., Medical Director, Cardiac Transplantation, The Mayo Clinic
  • Mark Batshaw, M.D., Chief Academic Officer and Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s National Medical Center
  • Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, M.D., cardio- thoracic surgeon and President and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic
  • Blake Charlton, M.D., physician and novelist and essayist
  • Karen Santucci, M.D., Medical Director, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine


  • David Boies, litigator in a number of landmark Supreme Court cases including Gore v. Bush and the decision on gay marriage.
  • Rafael Galvin, award-winning practitioner of corporate law
  • Bonnie Patton, leading malpractice litigator


  • Dan Malloy, Governor of Connecticut
  • Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California
  • James Carville, campaign consultant and television commentator


  • Florence Haseltine, M.D., Ph.D., Director, NIH Center for Population Research
  • Steven M. Stanley, Ph.D., paleobiologist
  • Carol Greider, biologist and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine


  • Richard Ford, novelist, short story writer and Pulitzer Prize winner
  • John Irving, novelist and author of The World According to Garp
  • Wendy Wasserstein, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright
  • Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize winning poet


  • Billy Bob Thornton, writer, director and actor
  • Whoopi Goldberg, Academy Award winning actress
  • Keira Knightley, actress
  • Jay Leno, TV entertainer
  • Henry Winkler, actor and writer

Photography, Art & Architecture

  • Robert Rauschenberg, painter and graphic artist
  • Richard Avedon, fashion and portrait photographer
  • Richard Rogers, internationally renowned architect
  • Willard Wigan, microscopic artist

Adventure & Exploration

  • Ann Bancroft
  • Jack Horner


  • Sir John Young “Jackie” Stewart, award winning race driver

Do you have a success story you would like to share? IDA would love to hear your story. Contact us at

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