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Kym Cardona

Board Secretary

As a teenager…

I probably spent too much time worrying about my grades and being hard on myself for my failures – as I had always done! I loved painting and dancing, but I struggled to find the balance between doing the things I enjoyed alongside my school work.

After school…

After feeling pretty anxious during my A-Levels, I went to university and suddenly my anxiety took over my life. After a short time I dropped out of university, it was one of the most challenging decisions I’ve ever made. I felt like I was letting myself and everyone around me down. Looking back now, this time was hard but it happened for a reason. It gave me (probably for the first time ever) the chance to think about what I really wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

I spent time working in retail which helped with my anxiety and taught me the value of effective communication. I went back to university and studied politics, philosophy and economics. I was more confident in myself and got involved in all aspects of the university experience: I played for the hockey team, volunteered in the students union and joined social clubs. In my first summer I spent 3 months volunteering in rural Nepal and living with a host family, and as part of my final year I secured a placement with a political engagement charity working and living in London.

In those years I changed so much – when I dropped out of University I couldn’t even get the bus to town by myself! I still struggled to find a life/work balance, but I understood the importance of taking time to do things which bring me joy.

Now I’m…

A policy advisor working as part of the Civil Service to develop and deliver policies to meet government priorities and ministerial objectives. I still play hockey for my local team. I have become a lot more comfortable advocating for myself, I’m better at checking in with myself and how I’m feeling.

I am profoundly grateful for the journey that has brought me to where I am today. While the path was not always smooth, each twist and turn has contributed to my growth and prepared me for the challenges that lie ahead. I am excited to embrace this new role with E2M and I hope I can help make a difference.

5 bits of advice to my teenage self…

  • Don’t stress about things you can’t change.
  • Try new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Advocate for yourself, and for others.
  • Talk to someone you can trust about problems you're facing.
  • Trust your instincts.

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