Born in Łódź, she lives in Międzyzdroje by choice and is a world citizen out of passion. Ola Gertner steps out of her comfort zone every day. She is also willing to take up new challenges, but always according to plan. At Vienna House Amber Baltic, she is a one-man band who cares about the interests of her colleagues, but also about the relationships between them. (And to think she wanted to become a dentist!) It sometimes requires taking unconventional measures, just like living in Międzyzdroje.
Ola, how did you end up in Międzyzdroje, a five-hour drive from Łódź?
It was written in the stars. I graduated in Sociology, but I have been working in the field of people management since the beginning of my career. I worked in a recruitment agency in Łódź, but after 8 years I needed new challenges. Then I came across a job advert from Vienna House Amber Baltic Miedzyzdroje. I was familiar with the company because of andel’s hotel in Łódź, and its reputation encouraged me to apply for this job. After the first interview with General Manager Monika Kowalska, I knew this was exactly what I wanted!
So you packed your bags, left everything behind you and moved to Międzyzdroje?
Exactly. It was quite a quick decision, but I didn’t have any other commitments at the time and I really needed a change.
Are you happy with your decision? Has your life changed a lot since then?
My life has changed completely, but, luckily, it has changed for the better. In Międzyzdroje I found love, discovered my new passions, gained new knowledge and really took to the hotel industry . This is a very beautiful tourist town, but it is not easy to live here year round. A lot of tourists visit the city during the peak season, but it’s almost completely empty in autumn and winter. Everybody has to find what they need, their own niche during the off-season. In my case, it turned out to be running – I have already completed my first half marathon in Szczecin – and painting. One day I just thought: ‘I would really like to paint a picture.’ And so I did. I have already painted a few pictures and I don’t want to quit. Międzyzdroje really helps to unleash the potential that is somewhere inside us. Especially during the off-season – then you have lots of time to listen to your thoughts and find out what is in your heart.
So what is in your heart?
What isn’t there? I am a very active person who enjoys new challenges and working with people. But, at the same time, I am a pedantic planner. When I was young, I used to like games which required precision, like filling holes and so on. My dream was to become a dentist, but my mum, a nurse, talked me out of it. But planning and precision are in my blood. I always have my goal and plan for the next day, month or year. In January, I always put a list of goals I want to achieve that year on my fridge.
What do you have on that list now? What do you want to achieve in the near future?
The ‘educational’ goal is to study controlling – it allows us to translate the world of numbers into the world of relationships, so it combines two things I like the most. The ‘travelling’ goal was to visit Thailand, though it recently changed to Belize. I am going there next week.
Belize? What an original destination!
Belize is my partner’s choice. Generally, my trips depend on coincidence and on friends. I often take advantage of the fact that some of the people I know work abroad or are posted to another country and have a room to spare. I have explored China and Hong Kong this way… I am really keen on travelling, especially on my own. I sometimes laugh at my friends who ask me to bring them a fridge magnet from my trip. They can go on a trip like that themselves! In today’s globalized world, it is enough to want something very much.
I agree with you. However, some internal barriers are really difficult to overcome. Everything depends on a given person and his or her attitude.
Exactly. I see this at my work too. My colleagues are people from both Generation X, who have been working in the hotel for 20 years, and from Generation Z, who are just over 20 years old. Their work ethics and attitude to life are completely different. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to conflict and then I act as mediator. Apart from that, there are also many foreigners. They are well-educated and willing to work, but they need guidance on the complexities of the Polish market. I am the person they can always turn to for help. This task is really fascinating.
I have heard there is no job you are afraid of doing.
Indeed, sometimes I need to be a one-man band. But it is very natural for me. For a few days during the last peak season, I started my day arranging beach chairs together with my colleagues. We had some problems finding new people to set up the beach chairs, but somebody had to do it. Or, another time, there was a huge event and I had to deliver some special equipment to each room at the very last moment. So I was running from one room to another with Ania and Angelina all morning. However, such tasks teach me something and provide me with new experiences, which allows me to learn more about working in a hotel. In particular, I am really interested in hotel management. There is still so much to learn.
Finally, please tell us about your 5 top destinations.
There are lots of top destinations. The Philippines come in first place because I was really enchanted with the country. Apart from that, there’s Australia and New York with Times Square, a fascinating melting pot. I should also mention the Gili Islands – tiny islands near Indonesia, a real paradise. And Tokyo! I love Asia and Asian culture, but I haven’t explored Japan yet.
What an interesting mix of places! I hope you will reach your goals. Have a nice trip to Belize! And share your experience with us!