Meet Veronika Mazzei
A Be A Better Human Story
Helping others is second nature to Veronika Mazzei, a mountain-hiking, people-loving and one-of-a-kind team member at First Watch. With assistance from First Watch, Veronika was able to graduate with a college degree and launch her career as a prosthetic technician.
What’s your First Watch story?
I got hired on September 9, 2009, so “nine” is a very lucky number for me. I’ve worked at First Watch going on 14 years and over several locations, but my main restaurants have been in the Tampa Bay region in Florida. I started as a server and moved up to Black Apron, but I’ve done most roles at the restaurant, pitching in to help where I can. I like change – I never say no and like to see what’s out there. That’s why I’m all still here, after graduating college.
What did being part of our EGGS* program mean to you?
I was originally in college going for a nursing degree. Then shortly after, a new orthotics and prosthetics degree opened up and I applied and got in that same day. It was a six-year journey for me, but I graduated and now I’ve worked at Shriners Hospitals for Children as a prosthetic technician for five years. First Watch was a big part of that, helping me through the EGGS Program. I think it’s amazing and I so appreciated it.
*The EGGS – Everyone Gets Graduate Support – Program provides tuition reimbursement to First Watch team members pursuing higher education.
Can you share a little about your passion for running?
I can talk about running all day. I’ve run the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon & Relay three times already, and I still have my T-shirts and medals. I love nature, hiking and being outside. In fact, my boyfriend and I are hiking the Appalachian Trail in sections, and we’re determined to finish this in 10 years. It’s the positivity and peace of it all that keeps me active.
“We’re only human and things can always get better.”– Veronika Mazzei
Tell us about your family.
I am from Czech Republic and moved here in 1998 as an exchange student. I never left because I loved Florida so much. I have three brothers and a mother still in Czech Republic, and they visit me as much as they can since it’s more of a vacation for them to come here. My boyfriend also works as a practitioner at Shriners Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetics Services. He’s not as into running as I am – he tried, but he’s a hiker so I keep him around.
What motivates you?
I like to be healthy and stay in shape. I want to be 100 years old and hike to the top of a mountain. I have two girls – one sixteen, the other seventeen – and I want to be around and be a good example for them. Living a healthy lifestyle is the way to do that.
What has been your most memorable experience at First Watch?
There’s been so many. Filling out my application to the EGGS Program was one of them, but so was when my best friend from the Czech Republic got a job at my restaurant. Our team members called us Czech One and Czech Two, and we still wear those nicknames with pride. Being at my restaurant for so long, I’ve seen customers grow up from babies to adults, and sometimes they’re ordering the same dishes. All of these are good memories of mine, made at First Watch.
What has someone done for you that made your day brighter?
I have had a customer who has brought me a birthday card, and sometimes even a present, for the past ten years. She unfortunately just got sick with cancer, and I was there for her, writing cards, checking in and talking with her. It just goes to show you that it’s just as important to do kind things for others and pay forward unexpected acts of kindness. It makes my day just as much as it makes their day.
Three words that describe you…ready, set, go!
Loving. Joyful. Independent.
Ready to greet the sunrise with us?