Rafał Sonik was born on 3 June 1966 in Krakow. We grew up in Nowa Huta and, as he says, this period shaped his personality, made him steadfast and gave him a stout heart. Individualism and a strong personality helped him find his place behind the old walls of the prestigious Bartłomiej Nowodworski High School no. 1. The time of studying by Plac na Groblach near Wawel was a breakthrough in Rafał’s life, as it was then when he started earning his first money.
This entrepreneur from Karkow has always skilfully combined his passions with his professional life. From an early age Sonik was a passionate skier and a regular visitor on Kasprowy Wierch. At the age of 16, Sonik decided to translate his passions into a way of living and opened a sports store. His next, only logical step was opening one of the first department stores in Krakow. Elefant, the first company run by Sonik, was established when its owner was in the second year of foreign trade studies at the Academy of Economics (currently: the University of Economics). The company is operating to this day and the department store has become a landmark of Krakow’s city centre.
Rafał Sonik has also brought a breath of the West to his home town – he opened the first McDonald’s restaurant (next restaurants were opened in Zakopane and Bielsko-Biała). Moreover, he strongly contributed to bringing British Petroleum (at present, one of the industry leaders) to Poland.
His professional path has finally led him to the establishment of a flagship company in the form of Gemini Holdings. The company is engaged in construction and management of big shopping centres (Gemini Jasna Park in Tarnów and Gemini Park in Bielsko-Biała). Steering this enormous undertaking to success, Sonik did not cease his activities in other industries, such as IT, the pharmaceutical industry, book-selling or property development.
Paraphrasing a popular saying: “All work and no play makes Sonik a dull boy”. This exceptionally well-organised person who demands a lot from himself and his employees has always set very high standards for himself. His love to take on new challenges has also been reflected in sports. Besides skiing, Sonik tried playing tennis, windsurfing, aviation and many other disciplines, but what became his true love are quads and cross-country rallies.
He is the first Pole to win the Dakar Rally (1st place in 2015). He is the first Pole to stand on the Dakar Rally podium at all (3rd place in 2009), the first one to repeat that success (3rd place in 2013) and the first one to enjoy the second place in the South American competition (2nd place in 2014). In 2016, he won his fiveth and sixth FIM World Cup (2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2 x 2016). The long list of his achievements also contains six titles of the Champion of Poland in enduro and quad motocross.
Sonik is the founder, funder and former president of the Polish Association of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV, Polskie Stowarzyszenie Czterokołowców). Together with Piotr Beaupre and in cooperation with the Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Association (Polski Związek Motorowy), Rafał Sonik established Poland National Team, which represents Poland in off road rallies. Since the very establishment (December 2012), Sonik has been its captain.
Rafał Sonik is an entrepreneur who loves working with people and for people. For many years now, he has been offering financial support to the innovative and buoyant Siemacha Association in order to help assure educational and social development for children. He is the originator of www.naszkasprowy.pl website and organiser of many initiatives related to environment protection. Sonik is the President of the Clean Poland Association, which every year organises a great mountain-cleaning undertaking known as Clean Tatras [Czyste Tatry].