Interview from Czech newspappersAntonín Ferdan, a trained teacher, has been involved in various fields in his lifetime. dozens of companies and products, and for a while he even tried his hand at politics. Now he divides his time between his family, the Liberec business incubator and his own non-profit organisation. He is also involved in coaching and moderating. “I don’t go for work. You learn a lot and if you have good leadership and a supervisor, he learns new skills quite quickly,” said the young who has also been involved in the development of community life in the town under Jested.
Antonín Ferdan: People’s stories are important. I like to continue working with them
You come across as a man of many faces and interests. Who is Antonín Ferdan?
One of the most difficult questions right off the bat (laughs). The hardest core in me is still pedagogical. I have always been a person who has been and still is interested in the wide world around us. It’s given me insight into a lot of industries. I’ve learned a lot through volunteering, I’ve been around the world. I’ve seen a lot of different cultures, heard a lot of different stories and I’ve read a lot. Stories have a very intense effect on me. So to sum it up, Antonín Ferdan is an educator, a reader and a social innovator, or a person who does things in the public space and cares about the place he lives in. He thinks about what is needed to make it a better place to live in, both from his own perspective and from the community’s perspective. And I’m a daddy of three children, that’s a significant role. I’m a happy person and I try to pass on happiness to others.
Where did the need to volunteer come from in the beginning? From what did it come from?
I had a family that was very caring and extended. Because of my strong background, I was able to 15, 16 years old, thinking about what extra things I could do. While studying social social work in high school, I started going on internships, I got to know, for example, the environment of a long-term care facility or a hospice.
The hospice environment must have been quite challenging for someone so young, right?
I still remember the first encounter with death, when the patient died under my hands. He had I was lucky that the people working in the hospice walked me through the situation. They didn’t send me home. explained what was going to happen next and sent me on my way to help. And it was these meetings that showed me that I was headed in the right direction. I was going to help in the nursing home. I read Shakespeare to an eighty-eight-year-old lady who couldn’t hear very well. And she, admittedly… but the feeling of spending time with her brought her out of her depressive state and she became more to function.
You’ve also gone abroad. How and when did that happen?
When the Czech Republic joined the European Union, I found that internationally Youth in Action was working internationally. These were volunteer projects based on international cooperation, so that young people could meet each other and gain new experiences and knowledge, which then apply in their home countries. I went to Poland where I found my best friend and met my wife there.
Where did you go next?
I studied at the Faculty of Education, a combination of Czech language and literature – social sciences. With my own children growing up, I left teaching because of finances and and then went to work for Škoda. I was tasked with breaking the existing system of how and build a whole new one, including processes, software support. It took three years and then I found myself at a crossroads. Either to move on professionally, which would have meant a journey to India, or stay and become part of the corporate system. On my own, I started the influence, the lust for power and money, and I decided to move on.
If I’m not mistaken, that’s when you came across the business incubator Lipo?
That’s right. I don’t go for work. You learn a lot, and if you have good guidance and …you learn new skills pretty quickly. At the time I joined the I didn’t know much about the corporate world. How to build a functioning was alchemy for me.
What do you think is your biggest advantage?
I got a taste of the four basic spheres of social organization, namely the educational, political, non-profit and commercial sectors. Having been through all of them allows me to move seamlessly from one to the other. I don’t have a deep knowledge, but rather a broad one. I have more perspective and can better help.
As you mentioned, in your case it’s a lot about stories. What’s the magic, the benefit?
You have several ways of dealing with them. Listen to it and at the same time pass on yours. To listen, to question more deeply and to absorb it. And in the end, you either choose to work with the experience purposefully or you forget the story. And that’s a shame.