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Mateusz Dolata - Head of Food and Beverage at Church Farm

From frying fish to flying high

Eleven years ago I made the most important decision of my life: I decided to permanently move to the UK. I spoke only basic English,I had no friends or family near me – and I took my first ever job as a fish fryer in Hafan y Môr. From the very first moment I walked into the Fish and Chip shop in Hafan I absolutely fell in love with the UK, with Haven’s culture and with its people. Since then, the UK has become my home: I got married and I absolutely live the dream. 

In my Haven career, I’ve had many different leadership roles in Food and Beverage across lots of different parks, including Presthaven Sands, Primrose Valley, Devon Cliffs – and finally Church Farm where I am now Head of Food and Beverage.

In 2012 I was awarded Haven Brand Manager of the Year for my role as Food Court Manager in Primrose Valley. In 2015 I was very lucky to be accepted onto the Next Generation Leadership Programme, which I completed successfully. This was probably the most amazing thing which has ever happened in my career. I had an opportunity to meet new people, to really come out of my comfort zone and gain a huge amount of leadership knowledge. I still use the knowledge I gained then, when leading and building strong teams.

I also graduated from Franklin University/WSB Banking Schools where I completed the MBA programme in 2020. It took me two years and I had to fly to Poland almost every two weeks while still doing my normal work in between. My General Manager supported me through the whole journey, allowing me time off to complete all my university work and helping me massively with a lot of projects.

What I know for sure – it is not about who you are or where are you from, it is about being open minded, supportive to others, smiling lots (even through tough times) and never giving up! I feel extremely lucky to do what I love, to be able to learn from some amazing role models and to work for a company that always put their teams first.