Inna Meteleva is a fierce Ukrainian born freedom-fighter, innovation-promoter, business leader and a caring mom.
She had to flee from her war torn home country Ukraine and came to Austria, from where she is now doing her best to help fellow Ukrainians. Her focus of attention: The continued support and recovery of Ukraine.
As the director of the charity foundation “Sustainable Development Goals for United Nations SDG”, Meteleva’s most important job since the 24th of February, the official beginning of the war between Russia and Ukraine, is to support Ukraine citizens coming from the most dangerous regions of her nation, including West Ukraine, and helping them to survive. She herself was born in the western part of her country and most of her family still lives there, which is one of the reasons for her deep connection to Ukraine. The other and for her most important reason, is her 23-year-old son, who decided to stay in Kiev, where Inna used to live 10 years until the beginning of the war.
The essential question at the start of every phone call to her son is “Are you okay?”.
Emotionally, the current situation is very demanding for Inna. “You can’t manage those sensitive things in a proper way”, she says with tears in her eyes.
The night before the beginning of the war, nobody in Ukraine could have imagined what could happen, what actually will happen. On 24th of February, Inna woke up at 5am to the sound of rocket explosions in Kiev: “Nobody tells you how to act, nobody prepares you for something like that”.
At first, she thought that the fights will only last a couple of days. After the first days, her sense of survival told her, that she needs to focus: “We need to continue to support our country […] we try to be useful everywhere we can. It’s not just about me. It’s about us Ukrainians”.
What will stay deep in her heart are the thousands of phone calls from all around the world and the huge support she experienced: “Everybody from any country offered help”.
As deputy chairman of the board of the Ukrainian association of FinTech and innovation companies, Inna promotes business development and entrepreneurship. Besides that, she helps to support export of Ukrainian goods, as the Black sea is currently blocked by Russia.
At the Khmelnitsky National University in Ukraine Inna studied international economic affairs and economics. Being more focused, more responsible and harder working is in her opinion the reason why more and more women are getting into management positions. At the moment, Meteleva takes her MBA courses online due to the war. “You need to adapt your mind and business skills to the new reality. You cannot plan for 3 years, long-term strategies do not work today. You need to be ready to change your social mind.”, she explains.
According to the national statistic institute, 90 % of all the Ukrainians, who are outside of their country want to come back sooner or later. Inna’s advice to fellow Ukrainians is to communicate as much as one can with potential friends, partners and business contacts, to be ready for the end of the active phase of the war.
The biggest problem in Russia is, according to Inna, the strong propaganda: “It is horrible how information technology can change the mind of people”.
Coming to Austria and asking for temporary protection, Meteleva experienced respect, social security and protection. Austrians are according to her very friendly and open, intelligent and respectful. What she especially likes is the work-life balance in Austria. In Ukraine everyone is always in a hurry, it is just about achievements, whereas in Austria, people respect time for themselves and with their family.
Since the beginning of the war, Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom. They do not attack, they defend, Inna explains. She is supportive of European values and understands very well why it is important to protect minorities and minority groups and why the freedom to make individual choices is one of the core values of a democratic society.
|KG – Inna Meteleva-YOUTUBE||Wolfgang Müller||CC BY SA 4.0|