Name: Stephanie Allen

My job title: Taekwondo athlete, athlete mentor and fitness enthusiast

How I got the job: I started Taekwondo at the age of 6, following in my father’s footsteps, and carried it through school, college and university. I’ve represented my local clubs, Allen Taekwondo Academy and Fusion Taekwondo, as well as representing the London region, before progressing further to represent Great Britain. 

At this point, I trained twice a day, 5-6 times a week and focused all my attention on being the best.  I competed at major competitions and am 5 x British Champion, Commonwealth Bronze medallist and international medallist.  Taekwondo has taught me respect, discipline, determination, resilience, and mental toughness. Taekwondo has made me who I am today, it not just a sport, to me it’s a way of life. 

I studied sport and exercise at college and then went on to get a degree in sport at Loughborough university. I chose those courses because my whole life was based around sport so it made sense!

I’ve had a number of different jobs, but it was being a PE teacher that made me realise how passionate I am about the development of young people, to build positive relationships and have an impact in their lives. It was this that led me to mentoring.

My position in a nutshell… As an athlete mentor, I work with young people aged 14-25 to focus on personal, social, and emotional development, in addition to building their aspirations for their future. My mentoring varies from helping disadvantaged young people get back on track in life, preparing them for employability, boosting their self- esteem to help them set goals, and achieve them. Working with young people is both inspiring and rewarding.

As a fitness enthusiast, I promote all things fitness, health and wellbeing, through my day-to-day life and online. I try to demonstrate how leading a healthy life can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.

My typical day…  I’m a morning person – I like to wake up early around 5:30-6am, I pray, meditate, journal, plan for my day ahead and then train. When I am not mentoring or creating fitness content, I focus on my own personal development. I am very ambitious so I always want to get better, so I look for ways that I can advance my career, my life and things that make me happy.

I also spend a lot of time speaking to my mentors – my friends, my family, my colleagues. It’s important for me to surround myself around those that inspire me. I invest a lot of time in self-care like going for walks pampering myself and having alone time.

My most memorable moment… Competing at the European Championships, walking to the ring with my coach and my flag being held in front of me, competing on a raised ring, centre stage with my family watching me and cheering my name. Also, training and traveling with my friends, those moments are priceless to me.

The best part of my job…Seeing the breakthroughs and progress that my young people have made. Seeing their improved confidence, the joy on their faces when they’ve achieved something they believed they couldn’t.

The worst part of my job… I don’t have a worst part but when the young people I work with don’t see the potential that I can see in them, and I just want them to have the confidence to know that they are worth it.

The key skills/attributes needed in your role… To be a role model, I practice what I preach and make sure my life embodies a champion’s mindset – being disciplined, taking ownership, perseverance, being committed. Be your own competition, focus on what you can do and bettering yourself each day.

In my role as a mentor – don’t be judgmental, be personable, be a good listener and be open minded.

Advice for someone looking to go into something similar… Try different things. By doing that, you will realise what you do and don’t like. In every experience, even if it’s not your final destination, take something from it. Your experiences will make you more equipped for your career. Take the time to think about what you like, brainstorm, ask loads of questions. Go to career fairs, read books, follow those on social media that inspire you. Be true to yourself, be determined in everything you do and be open minded.