CBCC member interview - Ondrej Klapka, Sales Account Manager, ICA Digital

On his professional DJ and organising activities, change of career, working with and building communities through events, giving back and so much more…

How long have you been living in the UK?

13 years, and first eight years in Bournemouth. Then I moved to Chaldon, Surrey which is near Reigate where I currently live and work, but I regularly travel to London on business. So far, I’ve enjoyed living in the UK and it’s been hell of a ride.

Why do you say that?

I used to be a professional DJ in some of the best clubs in Prague including La Fabrique, Duplex, Retro Club and also Rubyz Club next to the Charles University in the beautiful old town centre where I worked as a club manager and DJ for two years. The club was sold by the English owner who also had two clubs and two restaurants in Bournemouth; he asked me whether I’d like to move and work for him there. That’s how I ended up in the UK. He looked after me and took care of relocation as well as everything else. Although I have been DJing for 25 years and it’s not my full-time job anymore, I still like to spin some tunes and on Friday 9 February 2018 I will DJ in the Ministry of Sound in London, one of the biggest and most famous venues in London. Considering I started with small discos in villages in the Czech Republic, then continued in small and bigger towns, and ultimately progressed to Prague, Bournemouth venues and now Ministry of Sound, this is pretty good.

DJ Ondrej Klapka

When did you give up full-time DJing?

In my late twenties I realised I had to do something with my career as DJing was not enough for my personal development and future. I got a job as Business Development Executive for the Czech Republic in EIMS, based in Bournemouth, providing B2B marketing and sales in the technology sector, operating on behalf of IT companies such as Motorola, Dell, Symantec and others. This was about working for CA Technologies, dealing with high security software for ministries, embassies and top 150 companies in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I was very successful, got promoted, travelled a lot, everything was wonderful. Then I met my current girlfriend, so I had to make a call. I decided to move to Surrey about six years ago.

What is your biggest achievement?

Although I am content with what I’ve achieved at work, I am very proud of events I had organised for the Czechoslovak community down in Bournemouth. I’ve put together 35 Czechoslovak parties over the past 10 years and one that is particularly important and popular: Ceskoslovenske hody – Czechoslovak Feast Festival which takes place twice a year on a Sunday, and is attended by about 400 people. It’s a lot of fun - we cook our own seven-course meal, all Czech specialties; it makes me feel really proud as when I look back I see I’ve done something for people, I’ve brought the community together. That’s why I joined the CBCC as since I left Bournemouth, I’ve been looking for new opportunities to get involved in.

Venue ready for one of Ondrej's Czechoslovak events

Do you plan to organise such events in London?

Eventually yes, but it’s down to time which I don’t have much of as it’s a commitment. In the meantime, there will be another event in Bournemouth in spring, so let’s think about how we could get the CBCC involved as well as there are people coming from other parts of the UK, such as Bristol, Brighton, London, and others.

What are your future aspirations?

First, I plan to stay in the UK. Prior to joining ICA Digital I worked for Bloomberg for three years in London covering the Czech market – I became an analyst, salesman, then started to travel, it was really full on and very challenging to the point that I needed to re-balance my priorities, so after three years I decided to change my career path. I now work as a Regional Sales Manager for ICA Digital which manages print services on behalf of three main manufactures Toshiba, Ricoh, Kyocera for various organisations around London, Surrey, Kent, Sussex.

However, my aspirations also lie in my community work. I want to connect people, bring them together. I’m proud of my involvement in the Czechoslovak community and as part of my activities I try to raise money as well. One of my friends founded a charity in London and opened a hospital in Uganda, so every time I organise an event, we raise money for this charity. I do support number of charities here in the UK, but I always wanted to have a special project and know where the money goes. In this case, I know her, and I regularly get a response back about what the funds we had raised contributed towards. I’ve done very well in my professional career and communities are close to my values, so I want to give back.

Uganda hospital which Ondrej supports

By Tereza Urbankova, member of the CBCC Executive Committee

We are looking for more CBCC members to be interviewed! Please email terezaurbankova@yahoo.com if you are interested.

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