Maria Jolanta Batycka-Wąsik has been awarded numerous prizes for achievements in local government, economy and social issues. She is also one of „Charismatic Women” and „Vocation Leader”. Despite so many achievements, she is very humble and modest, she can find happiness in small things and appreciate everything that life brings her. When facing a new challenge, she brings herself to find the best solution. She thinks a good mayor not only achieves targets, but also respects people and listens to them!
In the first issue of our Why Story Magazine we visit the Lesznowola Municipality in the Warsaw region where the mayor’s office is held by an outstanding person. Her adventure in the local government started in the time when it was rare to see women occupying such positions. Maria Jolanta Batycka–Wąsik has been involved with the Lesznowola Municipality since 90s. She took on a job as an inspector at the Municipal Office in Lesznowola in 1992, then she was the Manager of Registry Office and the Municipal Secretary. This was the beginning of her mission in the local government structures. In 1998 she became the mayor for the first time and since then she has held that office for five terms, every time winning the support over 80 and even 95 per cent of votes.
Her achievements include among others, implementation of the local government reform and restructuring of the municipal health service – setting up of the non-public health facility, which offered to the Lesznowola citizens a wide range of free medical services for patients – at that time it was an innovative solution, which was introduced in Poland only by two local government offices. Moreover, Maria Jolanta Batycka-Wąsik piloted the project for autistic people – „Partnership for Rain Man” , which resulted in opening of a studio of Various Things called Synapsis in Wilcza Góra. – Before that place was created, adult people suffering from autism were not present on the job market, which caused their social exclusion – says the mayor. – But the project proved that many of those people, having relevant support, could work effectively, and the things they produced were not only beautiful, but also competetive on the market.
In the recent years schools were developed, roads were reconstructed, a report was was written to define the actual condition of drainage facilities on the municipality premises (the only one among municipalities in the south of Masovia region) and the EU funds were obtained (2,5 mln PLN for sewage treatment plant). Due to all those changes the number of citizents increased, and almost doubled.
Challenges and traits of a leader
– New challenges appear every day. They include problems, which seem to be insoluble on the face of it – says the mayor. – When we won the international competition for building of the Education and Sport Center in Mysiadło, after nine months of works it turned out that the sub-contractor had serious problems which might have stopped the construction. She immediately had to take a brave decision on her own to solve the contract with the bankrutp construction company to avoid failure of the project.
Although she is a sensitive person who trusts people, she is also argumentative and consequent. She has been continously developing her qualifications. She always prepares thoroughly for talks with investors, especially the foreign ones, most often from the Eastern Europe or even Asia. In the beginning the talks are difficult, but usually in the end both sides win. Her aim also is to integrate all citizens, no matter their religious or national background. A lot of people living here come from China, for example, (about 20% of the citizens), they set up families with Polish people and get integrated well.
– Working for the local government is absolutely amazing, but also really absorbing, because it doesn’t take eight or ten hours a day for me, but much more. I think it is a certain kind of service for people – the mayor notices. She watches over the execution of internal goals of the municipal office, but she also represents it outside, at the weekends or on holidays during numerous events, because these are the social expectations. She ows a lot to her husband who took over a lot of household duties. In spite of this, the mayor’s day is very long: she has been waking up at 4:30 for years, she does her house jobs and arrives at worka t 6:30. She sleeps five hours aday, because she claims her body regenerates quickly. It is similar at the weekends, but then she starts a day with cleaning, because she likes it neat and tidy around, and she likes to see effects of her work. She emphasizes that it is very important to feel purpose of your work in various areas. She stopped talking about work at home during the second term of her office – she tries to separate those worlds.
She feels a happy and fulfilled woman – in her private and professional life. She is sure it is so becasue she listens to people, she loves them and she likes her job, which motivates her to act. – It is important to set your goals and achieve them – she sums up.
Mrs Mayor’s dreams
– I dream about sharing my experience of a mayor with young people – she reveals her plans. – So I would like to give lectures at a university, because I love young people and have great relations with them. She had an opportunity to co-operate with students of postgradual studies when was running classes for them. She is continously invited to meetings, lectures for young people and then she experiences a positive exchange of energy. The social studies classes are given to middle school students in the Municipal Office conference room. The mayor stresses that they are really open, ask interesting questions, and the talks involve serious issues. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have much time now to teach beacuse of many responsibilities related to the municipality governing, but she thinks it is all in the future. In her private life she dreams about travelling – visiting new, interesting places and meeting interesting people.
Lesznowola is a modern rural municipality with residential and service facilities, located in the Piaseczno district, in the near neighbourhood of Warsaw. Its area is 69 km2, there are over 30 thousand people living there. It places the largest number of commercial and foreign capital companies that have been set up in the area of the whole agglomeration of Warsaw region – in total it is over 5000 entities in the private sector. Since the 90s the Chinese investors have been developing here their services and trade by providing their products to retail store owners across Poland.
The advantages of the Lesznowola municipality as a place for investment are: attractive, convenient location of investment areas in the proximity of Warsaw and two airports (the Chopin ariport, the Warsaw Modlin airport), high level of urban planning (98% of the municipal area), high investment expenditures, very good social and technical infrastructure as well as friendly local government applying transparent procedures.
Elegant residential estates and cosy, single-family houses are built here. The municipality prides on its modern education facilities and a high level of education. One can easily find there unusual landscapes and interesting nature as well as excellent conditions to do sport at the continously developed sport infrastructure. In the distance of 15 km from the capital city one can take an active rest and relax. The Lesznowola municipality is friendly to its residents, tourists and investors.