Martin Mata, candidate for the Czech Republic's Manager of the Year 2021: We have to blaze the trail for young people to follow
Ing. Martin Mata, MBA, LL.M., director of the Center for Innovation in the Ústecký Region of the Czech Republic (Inovačního centra Ústeckého kraje), is a candidate for the Manager of the Year 2021 award in the category of the "Nonprofit sphere". All nominees are now being assessed by a commission and the finalists will meet on 20 September in Prague at the Žofín Palace.
Mata has experience from many different branches of work, from politics to corporations. "I built two firms that are successful and then sold them so I could ultimately dedicate myself to developing this region. That sort of thing ripens in you, you have to mature into it. Money is not everything and it is important to do things in life that are of added value to society, and if you enjoy them on top of that, the results will follow," Mata told news server Romea.cz.
He has been a business owner, a company director, and a member of boards of directors, of supervisory boards and of big enterprises. "In the beginning, though, I was a warehouse and manufacturing worker. I consider each of my moves forward to have been an advance. Do you know what success in work actually is? Is it the position that you have acquired? Is it being remunerated more and more? My values are elsewhere today, and I have the good luck to be doing what fulfills me in the end. That is probably the most important thing. If it is possible, do what you enjoy and what fulfills you," he told Romea.cz.
Mata has also experienced the distrust and the ridicule of those around him. "Then those in society begin to say 'Hey, there's something to him, he's working on himself'. Then people start respecting you and some even begin to fear you. That is the most absurd thing that can happen. To be afraid that somebody else will replace me, or that somebody else will be better than me, that is the worst position. To fear something like that means just one thing, you're scared and maybe you don't have anything to offer anymore. That might happen, but I never want to be in such a position. Either one does a passable job or one doesn't. It's an easy equation," the businessman said.
"I've experienced many obstacles in life, but I took them as learning opportunities. I ultimately came out of each such experience a stronger person," the candidate for Manager of the Year told Romea.cz.
Mata also supports Romani students who are completing their educations. "I have just one motto: I want my story to motivate people and break down stereotypes. Nothing more, nothing less. If my story motivates somebody, I am pleased. However, I am not forcing myself on anybody and I am not playing the role of a messiah," Mata explained.
"I have already broken down such barriers in different fields. The most recent was the idea that a Romani man does not belong in the Army, that he wouldn't be accepted. That's not true, and I recommend it to all who are interested," Mata said, while acknowledging that Romani men and women in the Czech Republic face more difficulties in life than others.
"It is necessary to admit, though, that we ourselves are responsible for a great many things. It is not possible to change the opinion of society overnight. We have to work this out and blaze the trail for the younger generation in particular to follow, who already can have an easier life. If we blaze this trail correctly and show them that it works, it will be an important step forward in the way we are perceived by society as a whole," Mata told Romea.cz.
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