Living demanding and restful experiences. Godwin Fenech. 

 

I can never forget that experience! We had an event for 1,500 guests: a seated gala dinner for two days in the heart of Valletta, in the Palace Square. It took weeks to organise the transport of equipment, furniture, food, and decor. Then the Government announced general elections, and we had to change the venue to Manoel Island quickly. So we used all our adrenaline, thinking hats and determination to re-organise every detail in another venue with its own particular challenges. We worked day and night, and we managed. It was a great success.’

That was Godwin Fenech, Events Operations Manager of Corinthia Catering, recollecting and reliving the excitement. 

Godwin Fenech

These experiences teach you to think outside the box, regenerate ideas, spring back on the rebound fast and constantly retain focus with determination and clear sight of the end result to be achieved.’

An Events Operations Manager’s task is to ensure an event is well organised in all its details from start to finish: beverages, food, logistics, venue, service…a thousand and one things that bond together to create a coherent occasion. The details have to flow and become a natural feature of the event, and the whole affair is to be made in a way that runs smoothly, concealing all the nuts and bolts that hold to get her the entire affair.

 ‘Naturally, I must work hand in hand with other departments and fuse all their work into one event and ensure that all the operational requirements are fulfilled.’

The devil is in the detail. Nothing is extra; nothing is to be discarded. It is essential to be resourceful, and one must react quickly to any changes in the plan. It certainly needs excellent problem-solving skills. ‘All events have their problems—some much more than others. However, one cannot look at problems as stumbling blocks. Problems arise from the very nature of events to be organised. I do not see them as stumbling blocks but as building blocks that join together to form one shape.

Godwin reckons that the main challenges of his job are smooth organisation, transportation, logistics, staff and weather issues, tight deadlines, budgetary constraints, and dealing with last-minute changes. Quite a list! ‘But, as I said,’ Godwin insisted, ‘these are blocks which create a solid building. When a mechanic puts all the nuts and bolts together of some machinery, he does not look at those parts as problems but as essential ingredients to achieve success.’

Godwin started working at the Radisson St Julian’s 24 years ago. He began as a waiter and climbed up the ladder to Head Waiter and then Banqueting Restaurant Manager in seven years. He subsequently moved to the Mediterranean Conference Centre as Venue Manager, and at that time, Island Caterers were transitioned to the Corinthia Group. 

Godwin is blessed with a relaxing alternative to the demanding work rhythm: the countryside. ‘I adore gardening and farming. That contact with nature relaxes me from head to toe, and I relish every second of the hours I spend growing flowers and vegetables and tending to my olive trees.’ 

I asked if he had a garden or a field. ‘Actually, it’s a field, but I have changed it into a large garden. I spend all my extra time there. I forget the stress of the manual work; I find it therapeutic.’

Godwin’s friend the peacock showing off!

So what does he do with the produce? Is it all for home consumption? ‘It`s for home consumption and family and friends. I donate many flowers to the Church when it exhibits its Good Friday procession statues. However, I also leave many flowers unplucked in the garden because they change the place into a carpet of colours, which relaxes me.’  

What started this love for the country, farming and gardening? Godwin’s face changed slightly. He was recollecting something. ‘My father loved this kind of life. I inherited this attraction from him, and every day, I thank him for instilling it in my veins, too. It is such an intense pleasure to see nature grow and mature. The sight of flowers sprouting all across my garden and seeing the olive trees become laden with olives are experiences that are always refreshingly exciting, though repetitive. It’s as if I have given birth to nature.

Indeed, he would not mind a helping hand! ‘I have a few friends who join me sometimes, but I try not to be dependent on that. I always want to keep the rhythm. Sometimes, my nephew and nieces join me when they visit me. I am the youngest of three children, and my mother still lives nearby.

So, would this be his retirement scenario? ‘Yes certainly. It’s a peaceful, restful experience. If only people live close to nature for a few hours a day!’

Having heard all this, I still could not join the business-driven man with the peaceful farmer. What was the answer to the riddle? Godwin’s face beamed. ‘There’s no riddle. We are not made of one block. We are all composite. Love for work does not cancel love for nature. The more loves we join together, the more we become better persons. I am a very positive man, ready to help anyone who needs me. I enjoy organising get-togethers with friends and cooking a nice meal for them. And yet, I enjoy time alone in my garden. To be honest, I am never alone. My thoughts and reminiscences always revive more vividly when I am in the company of flowers and olive trees.’