Seattle and Gdynia/Gdansk are 5,043 miles and nine time zones apart. The flight is over 11 hours so you can imagine the logistical problems of moving all of the materials, adult advisers and student interns needed to run a week-long business boot camp. Now, multiply by three because this year, Janice and Allen Jaworski, Seattle residents, are back in Poland for the third straight time to run the Polish version of Washington Business Week.
Being that far away, you need some inside help. That help comes from Piotr Grodzki, a young Polish internet entrepreneur who is president of Speednet.Grodzki is from Gdansk and his goal is to inspire students to become entrepenuers. He wants to create a larger talent pool of educated and trained workers to bring jobs and economic opportunity to Poland. Part of that strategy is Poland Business Week.
Speednet is one of those recognizable Polish companies which takes advantage of the new trends in the IT industry. It specializes in outsourcing of IT specialists and dedicated software development.
Grodzki took the risk and started his own business and he is encouraging young Polish high school students to do the same. He is positive and believes problems are opportunities. Grodzki is fascinated by the innovation of people like Walt Disney who dared to dream and follow their dreams. He believes that teams which work together and solve problems create solutions and develop new products and services. You have to be willing to look at things differently and take a chance.
To him, the old Soviet Bloc command and control approach doesn't work. He and his family lived in a Poland once controlled by the central government and Communist dictators. Grodzki invests his money and time in making Business Week successful in Poland because he sees the magic of entreprenuership blossom in students in just one week.
Janice Jaworski, who coordinates the Poland program for Washington Business Week, has help in Seattle from her husband Allen, who is president of the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City organization. They've become close friend with Grodzki whose volunteer leadership and work in Poland makes Poland Business Week possible. Ask anyone in Gdynia, Gdansk or Seattle, without Piotr Grodzki working on the ground for Business Week in Poland, it would have never crossed the Atlantic.
Don C. Brunell, President
Note: Business Week started at the Association of Washington Business in 1975 and has spread to 26 states and Australia as well as Poland. More than 50,000 students have graduated from the Washington Business Week program over the last 36 years.