Zuzana Mrazkova has been working for Participation Cymru since January 2010, but has just worked her last day as a member of our team by helping to facilitate the North Wales Citizen’s Panel for Social Services. Both Zuzana and I (Dyfrig Williams, Participation Cymru Advisor) are now on the train back from Llandudno, and I’ve decided that a good use of our time is to interview her about her time as a staff member. I tried to persuade her to let me record this, but she wouldn’t let me (please note that I’m engaging with her on her terms, rather than mine and I hope this is a better read because of that!).
Zuzana joined the team as an Administrator in January 2010, before starting her current role as an Advisor in October 2011. Her role involved supporting public service organisations in their engagement work, with a main focus on working with the Welsh Government and the Local Service Boards. Zuzana would often run focus groups within organisations and with their stakeholders in order to identify priorities, and would subsequently write reports to outline ways forward for them. This included the report from the work that Participation Cymru undertook for the Welsh Government’s Social Services complaints procedure, where we ran focus groups with groups who access social services to gather their thoughts. You can find the final report from Welsh Government here.
From here on in the words will be Zuzana’s. Enjoy!
“I’ve loved working for Participation Cymru. I worked in a wonderful team with people who are very committed to what they do. They all have a passion to achieve better engagement in public services. Participation Cymru has been a small team of five (now four), but we’ve accomplished a lot because everyone has been so committed to what we do.
“Mandy (Williams) has been a fantastic Manager. She understands people well, and has given every staff member the freedom to take their work forward in a way that they think best. I felt cared for both as a staff member and a person. She is a genuinely lovely person, which is a real motivation as I never want to disappoint her! It’s made me strive to do the best work that I can.
“If I’d have stayed in Wales for another year or two I would have loved to have learnt Welsh. Prague is my hometown, but Cardiff is now my second home, and I feel incredibly lucky to have a second home country in Wales.
“I’ve added my personal email address to the mailing list (I can’t miss an opportunity to suggest you do the same, please contact us! – Dyfrig) as I want to stay informed with what the project does – that’s dedication!
“My hope for public engagement is that it becomes an integral part of organisations’ strategies. This would result in services that really meet people’s needs. This needs to be put in place from both bottom-up and top-down. Staff engagement is vital – if you don’t engage your staff then you don’t have their commitment.
“Although I’ll be living in a different country, I’ve met lots of friends through my work, and I know I’ll stay in touch with the people I’ve met.
“I feel privileged to have worked on this project as I think we make a genuine difference in people’s lives”.