From cleaners to pub managers

Sisters Agnieszka and Boguslawa share their story

When Agnieszka Seemungal came to England in 1997, on a two-week holiday, her cousin Eugenia persuaded her to stay – and now, 25 years later, she is the pub manager at The New Crown (Southgate).

Agnieszka started with the company as a cleaner at one of Wetherspoon’s then landmark pubs – The Moon and Sixpence, in Wardour Street (central London), under the management of Jan and Gerry Swords.

Agnieszka spoke so highly of the place that her younger sister, Boguslawa Kazberuk, subsequently came to join her. Boguslawa is now the pub manager at Wetherspoon’s Leicester Square venue, The Moon Under Water.

Their careers have changed their life, taught them much about people and instilled a life-long commitment to hospitality. Agnieszka soon filled a vacancy as a kitchen porter at The Moon and Sixpence (now closed) and then rose through the ranks to become a kitchen team leader, bar team leader, shift manager and relief pub manager at a number of London sites, before being given her own pub to run permanently.

During that time, ambitious Agnieszka developed an invaluable network of contacts with other pub managers, including Jan and Gerry, who run The Knights Templar (central London). Agnieszka said: “I worked with Jan and Gerry for eight years and learned so much from them. My time spent there means a lot to me.”

Along the way, she also met Michael Wilkins, who runs The Windmill (Stansted Airport).

“He asked me what my ambitions were and I told him that I wanted to be a pub manager. He really listened and became a mentor, pushing me to achieve my ambition and boosting my confidence all the way,” said Agnieszka.

“The importance of mental health and the good running of a pub require proper boundaries to be set and I regard my pub as my home and my staff as my children, regardless of their age.”

Agnieszka Seemungal

While she runs a tight ship and is attentive to the nitty-gritty of running a pub, Agnieszka is, at heart, a people person. Following completing a course studying mental health, she is aware of those issues faced by staff and customers and likes to discuss this with her daughter, Katrina, a psychology student at the University of Bournemouth, who also works part time at The Moon in the Square (Bournemouth).

Agnieszka said: “Whether it’s a staff member or a customer, mental health is something you have to be aware of, in order to relate to that person in the right way.”

“The importance of mental health and the good running of a pub require proper boundaries to be set and I regard my pub as my home and my staff as my children, regardless of their age.”

Agnieszka’s customer relations are well known to head office and were officially recognised by Wetherspoon’s personnel director, Su Cacioppo, when she was awarded a certificate of commendation for professional and calm customer management.

“It was a surprise. I’ve dealt with all kinds of customers, but I have always tried to deal with all of them in the right way,” said Agnieszka.

Younger sister Boguslawa spoke of her time with her sister at The Moon and Sixpence and of her experience running The Moon Under Water.

She said: “We worked together in a few pubs, but The Moon and Sixpence was where we started, so I always remember it fondly. Because we both wanted to be a pub manager, we had to part ways eventually.”

She added: “My older sister inspired me to come to England and then inspired me to pursue my dreams.”

“The pub I run is visited by tourists mainly, but we do have a few regulars who we know well. It is a busy venue, a place where people come to meet because it’s ‘Wetherspoon Leicester Square’, so it’s very well known and easy to find.

“We are a port of call for people on London days out. They come to us before or after they see a film or a show.”

Agnieszka and Boguslawa are busy people – although they do meet once in a while face to face, they are regularly in touch and are bonded not just by blood, but by their time working for Wetherspoon.

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