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Jenny Natusch

CEO/Founder

As a teenager…

I often got in trouble for daydreaming and struggled with most subjects, especially sports. My school reports were terrible, and I thought I was stupid. Becoming the class clown, I often found myself in trouble. Despite a tricky childhood and leaving home at age 10, a highlight of my week was visiting a granny I adopted through Age Concern. Cheering her up made me feel like I was making a difference! Though I thought I was rubbish at art, an inspiring new teacher arrived when I was 15 and encouraged me to try different things. I started keeping sketchbooks, printing fabric, making hats, and more. Not everything I made was great, but it didn’t matter—I’d found a passion that made life easier.

 

 

After school…

I went to Manchester for a year-long art foundation course, the best year of my education. I got to try different kinds of art, experiment, and play. My imagination soared, and all the school angst unravelled! I then did a degree in textiles and my dissertation on child art in an orphanage in Bangkok. Moving to London, I became a children’s wear designer. After losing my job, I wrote TV program ideas to make a difference for young people. Amazingly, the BBC commissioned one of my ideas, and I spent a few years making survival game shows. It was fun but didn’t fulfil my initial goal. I later helped set up and market a couple of legal services/technology businesses. After selling the last business, I vowed to work only on exciting, creative projects that make a difference and make me feel fulfilled.

 

 

Now, I’m…

A mum/step mum of 4 amazing girls and an aging cockerpoo. I helped set up E2M to give young people a sense of purpose, belonging, and connection. I love how E2M creates funding for local freelance artists who run the activities. Our youth board decides what we do, ensuring we listen to the end user. Having been a ‘lost’ teenager, a penniless artist, and a mum of a struggling teenager, I believe E2M is a grassroots model that helps young people and society. I’m passionate about diversity and reducing inequalities, believing in the importance of young people from all walks of life sharing perspectives and ideas, creating a culture of tolerance and compassion. When young people and the arts are valued and placed at the heart of society, real systemic change can happen. We aim to share our learning with other communities and have a lot of fun in the process!

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5 bits of advice to my teenage self…

  • Never ever stop daydreaming!
  • There are different kinds of intelligence and the world needs all kind of minds!
  • Don't worry about deciding on one career. You can re-invent yourself as many times as you like
  • Be kind – to yourself and others
  • Do what you love! Money and letters after your name won’t be important on your death bed. Create a life that feels good. (Hint: Being creative and helping others are 2 of the best feelings on earth!)

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