David Flink is a social movement leader, international speaker, and author of the book, Thinking Differently: An Inspiring Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities. He graduated from Brown University earning two B.A. degrees, with honors, in education and psychology; he continued on to Columbia University to earn his M.A degree in dis/ability studies. While a student at Brown University in 1998, alongside a group of dedicated volunteers, David created Eye to Eye, a "national mentoring movement that empowers young people with learning disabilities (LD) by giving them a mentor who shares that experience." David is the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of Eye to Eye, which has over 50 chapters in over 20 states nationwide and recently developed a virtual platform, Eye to Eye: Learning Differently 101, to continue to reach students and educators wherever they are.
David was diagnosed at a young age with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly referred to by its acronym ADHD, and dyslexia. As a child, his parents and teachers applauded David’s educational strides and knew he had the brainpower to achieve his dreams. However, David felt that he would have found the message of achievement to be more valuable and effective; especially if he had heard from another person who also had a learning disability. Using an empathetic approach, Eye to Eye today is accomplishing what David wanted as a child, a mentoring movement by people with learning disabilities and attention disorder for students with learning disabilities and attention disorder.This confidant method allows children to flourish with confidence and learning independence.
David regularly speaks to audiences ranging from students and educators to social entrepreneurs, policymakers, and corporate leaders. David has been the keynote speaker at the International Dyslexia Association’s Annual Conference, the Education Revolution Conference held in San Francisco’s AT&T Park, and the Arts and Special Education Conference at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Also, David was elected to the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship in 2011 and he was named one of the New Leaders Council “40 Under 40."
Interviewed by our Different & Able President and Founder, Alexandra Nicklas, David discusses his mentorship program and his personal struggles with ADHD and dyslexia. He is hopeful that by talking about one’s difference, society’s stigma of people with differences will be eliminated. David believes that a person can overcome challenges by educating others and following their passion. David has been quoted saying, “Tell your story. From your story comes our community, and comes greatness ahead.”