As the season here in Grand Cayman starts to slow down, I am given a brief opportunity to reflect on the crazy 8 months I’ve had since moving here. So much has happened and I’ve learned so much about myself and who I want to be. But more on that to come.
Today I want to focus on someone else and how they have greatly impacted my life. In my career as a scuba/freediving Instructor, I have hit many potholes when it comes to Authority in the Business. You always go through that grace period of about 3 months at a new place when everything is new and exciting, an then that imperialistic snake rears its ugly head. You realise your say doesn’t matter and that you are basically a sweat worker and it is in this moment where one of two things happen.
- You shut up, put your head down, and keep working or
- Challenge Authority and ultimately leave because you are worth more.
Naturally, I relate to the latter. This was something I thought to be a norm in the Scuba diving community and subsequently made my peace with these terms.
And then Divetech came along and I feel like the Honeymoon phase will never fade. There are many reasons for that but the main one is simply Joanna Mikutowicz.
Jo is the owner of Divetech as well as a highly decorated Instructor and diver. Few things about Jo you need to know. Firstly, she is a woman….and probably the strongest woman I know and I mean that in every sense. No owner in my life has worked harder than Jo. Not only does she run her business like a pro, but she is there next to us, hauling tanks, crewing and captaining boats and teaching courses. All this when most superiors sit in their aircon offices while their employees slave to run their business for them.
Next, is that Jo empowers women. So much so that some will not be able to handle it. If you work here as a woman, you have the exact same responsibilities as a man would. I’m filling and hauling tanks, I’m lifting the engine hatch, I’m working harder then I EVER have before. and I LOVE it. I feel strong and empowered and equal and no-one will ever take that away from me now.
Thirdly, there is an emphasis on continuing education that Jo focusses on. I feel like Joanna is a proud mom who will do anything to help her ‘kids’ get ahead in life. Every Instructor here has the chance to do Tech courses, adaptive teaching, Freediving courses and rebreather courses. I think you would be hard pressed to find a more skilled and qualified set of Instructors under one roof in the world, and thats because that is want Jo wants for US, not really at all for her benefit. For example;
Earlier this year Jo sponsored my entry to the Cayman Open National Freediving Competition. That in itself, is a huge contribution to my life and career as a professional freediver. But it didn’t end there. Being a bit weak minded when it comes to statics, I knew I needed a strong coach. Jo stepped up without hesitation, getting up and helping me train before work and coaching me until I hit my goals. I asked her to coach me, not because I knew she would get up and help me but because I knew that the best way for me to compete is working with someone I wanted to make proud. The thing keeping me under and fighting the urge to give up, was Jo…I wanted and still want to make her proud.
Lastly and most importantly, Jo shares our dreams. if any of us comes up with an idea or event and show Jo that we can do it and hustle, she’ll never say no. This allows us to be ambitious and makes us want to be here at Divetech.
Basically, I’m sure I speak for all the Employees of Divetech…I’m Inspired….we all are.This is what the diving industry should be about!
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