Antonella Cardone
Director, European Cancer Patient Coalition

Why do you invest your time & efforts in association work?

I am an MS Engineer with an MBA and I decided to divert my career towards the non-profit sector, as I need to be challenged and have a meaningful job. I have always been interested in social and health issues and in helping the most vulnerable.

Currently, as the director of an NGO focused on defending the rights of cancer patients (ECPC), my main aim is to give a voice to those who have difficulties in being heard. Everyone has a voice and, thus, the right to speak and be heard, however, if we act together, we are stronger.

What are the top three success factors of impactful association work?

In the association work, clear goals and teamwork are more vital than in other sectors, as people in the association work are driven by motivation rather than by monetary earnings. For me personally, I would name:

  1. Problem solving: I am driven by challenges and my main capability is to solve problems. I have the capacity to come up with solutions to any problem that may arise.
  2. Collaboration: Inclusive leadership and a ‘can-do’ attitude are key in my daily work. We are all in the same boat and we need to row together in the same direction.
  3. Objective setting: I set clear goals for myself and the people working with me. If the ambitions, the objectives, and the way to achieve them are clearly identified, the path to success (despite being challenging) becomes a matter of teamwork and collaboration.

What should we #ChooseToChallenge when it comes to association work?

In today’s globalized world, respect, communication and inclusive dialogue are essential. Sometimes the smallest partners can have the greatest solutions. It is all about cooperation and coordination within a democratic and resilient system. Let’s work on improving these skillsets.

How is the association sector dealing with diversity and inclusion? Has it changed?

A collaborative, respectful and supportive work environment is crucial for the functioning of any organisation. To me, that is precisely what the word ‘inclusion’ refers to.

We are now on the right direction towards a more diverse and inclusive environment. However, a change in attitude might be still needed not only in member-based organisations but on a global scale. We need to ensure that we live in a fairer world where diversity and inclusion truly become one of the main pillars.