We stand for Ukraine - Savvy

We stand for Ukraine

The war in Ukraine has affected each one of us. We all are the children of our nation, our country, and the world. We are fighting for our spirit, justice, wellness, and love.

Below you’ll discover 7 stories of the great Savvy Unit G7, which serves the economy of our motherland Ukraine. Moreover, these are the stories of those who helped, are helping, and will continue helping others as the volunteer units of our country.

Viacheslav Rudnytskyi, Managing Partner, CEO

The first days of the war I spent at home in Kyiv.

Savvy is an allocated team, so everybody was moving or leaving their homes during the first couple of weeks so that people weren’t bothered with work. I was looking for some local issues to fix to feel beneficial and avoid feeling guilty.

At first, tried to sign into the Territorial defence forces, but I wasn’t accepted due to an inappropriate health condition. So, I decided to take on some result-oriented tasks from the very beginning. I joined many volunteer chats (including general Ukrainian volunteer chat with the ones of the Kyiv region and Pechersk district) and started to get some tasks there.

During the first two weeks, I’ve been focussing on what I could do physically by myself: walking to a specific place, bringing something needed, buying other stuff, etc. There is a military hospital not far from where I live, so I delivered food there that I could buy at the supermarkets. I was bringing people water, helping families to leave the city, and delivering personal belongings to the maternity homes.

During the first days of the war, I stayed in touch with some media groups to provide them with footage for the news reporting: helped international journalists with translation, and organized international events to spread the information about the situation.

I had plenty of requests for volunteering stories because the capital was isolated, there were checkpoints on the roads, very few taxis operated in the city, and they were expensive. Meanwhile, the volunteer services just started to manage their functionality. As a result, I had at least 1 task per day.

As time passing, I started to get back to Savvy tasks. I realized that the payday was coming, and economic safety was as critical as a physical one. It was vital for our employees who moved to different places to have a stable income. That’s why Savvy paid salaries and provided teachers with workload according to the student’s requests.

Speaking of the schedule, it was challenging to direct my actions correctly and understand my further steps. During the third day of the war, I realized that I had started giving up: fragile sleep and chaotic nutrition. Finally, I bought food for myself and tried to manage my routine step by step. Starting from the second week of the war, I forced myself to do sports again. I couldn’t think, read, and strategically foresee our next steps. I would recharge only thanks to meetings.

For the third-week team meetings started, I had to prepare them, create agenda, put myself together to convey a positive spirit, and reinstall the processes in the company. Shortly after that, we narrowed down the number of meetings, and many sales appeared in my life. I had my first day off at Easter, and I am trying to keep that pace.

Speaking of the need to get distracted from the war – I didn’t have it. I knew I could survive for two weeks relying on myself. When I lost my focus, the need for zoning my space, switching off the gadgets, etc., appeared.

Anna Krasilnik, Managing Partner, HRD, Head of Corporate English

During the first two weeks of the war, I dived deep into volunteering 24/7.

It all started with me taking on one task – organizing the delivery of humanitarian aid. My cell phone rang. Everybody started calling me asking to deliver all kinds of items! I had no clue how the callers found me, what I had to do and how exactly to do it. Among the funny stories and not really at the same time was the request from a caller: “I need 200 axes asap!” and the plea “I have 200 tonnes of frozen chicken which is unfreezing to be delivered in Kharkiv immediately”. I went through a lot with that chicken story since they called me every half an hour, panicking that the chicken would be wasted. Luckily, everything ended up well, and Kharkiv citizens were fed.

Once I got a call from the UK, people were offering to send a plane with medicine. I needed to create an official request with all required signatures informing us about our need for help.

I wrote a letter then, and it was signed, and Ukraine received the entire plane full of humanitarian aid at the time of chaos and absence of medicine.

The first couple of days, I was trying to help organise processes from the management’s point of view, since volunteers had no idea how to manage all that chaos.

Somehow, my phone number reached military units. People called me from there asking for warm clothes, but I knew that the need was way much deeper. They were scared. They needed support, help, or talking to someone and felt they were not alone. I could read that message between the lines.

I lived in the suburbs of Kyiv City in the block of flats on the 16-th floor. When the bombing within a short distance of our house started, and we saw the bombs flying while standing on the balcony, we decided to leave.

First of all, I am a mom and take responsibility for another life – my daughter. Secondly, someone needs to take care of themselves first to help others.

I remember having a desperate moment just once. Many soldiers called me because they were scared. So, I became frightened as well. Nevertheless, we managed. I calmed them down, and they would instill confidence in me in return. After that situation, I realized that my psychological education during peaceful times was insufficient. I took a “war coaching” course, where I acquired techniques to quickly and effectively support a soldier who is about to fight on the front line. Based on my feedback, that knowledge helped me conduct the calls on a different level. I didn’t only provide soldiers with professional help but also volunteers who needed support. I continue doing this right now, and I feel that I have helped.

Later on, the humanitarian aid delivery became more organized, and logistic companies tuned in, giving me more opportunities to get back to work. Apart from focusing on keeping in with our clients and supporting our company’s financial stability from the first days of the war, we initiated team calls to share the team’s feelings and to express their worries. The meetings served as a place of power and supported our fighting spirit.

Surprisingly enough, I started to cook a lot. I look for recipes online and try to treat my family to tasty snacks.

I am constantly studying, taking new courses, and getting new qualifications. The brain needs to work to feel that we are progressing, not degrading. I wouldn’t have been myself if I hadn’t inspired others to learn. Savvy partners and I organize charity webinars where we share helpful ideas applicable to our new reality. We also raise money to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Alexey Kovalenko, Managing Partner, Head of R&D, Quality Control 

What did I feel during the first two weeks of war? I guess unexpectedness, fear, disappointment. We woke up from bomb explosions in Kyiv. Then we bought enough groceries and hoped to wait it out at home. We found a tote for a cat and packed our go bags. We were ready for all scenarios.

When the rocket hit our district, the air raid sirens were going on non-stop, and we shifted to the bomb shelter. I realized I didn’t want to experience that. So, we took a car and drove to the village.

We were stressed because, at that time, the Air Defense Units were working, so we were uncertain whether the bombs were flying toward us or towards the enemy.

There was an airport nearby, which was regularly bombed as well.

What did I do? The first couple of days, I did nothing. Starting from the third day, I began taking some translation requests in telegram chats “Ukrainian translation special forces” and “Translators of Ukraine” and translated the news. At the same time, I volunteered in the village: we created road defense, made Molotov cocktails, created road checkpoints, and carried water to extinguish the potential fire.

One week later, the rocket flew over our village, and we decided to move on to a different place, Vinnytsia, where we stayed eventually.

I started to increase my workload and tried to perform more step by step. There are enough translators and volunteers at the moment. It will be more efficient to get back to work professionally and help my company grow, provide people with jobs and ensure the company’s sales are on a certain level.

My wife is still volunteering 24/7: she is meeting refugees, helping them psychologically, and managing their settlements. She doesn’t get out of there.

My positive habits tracker helps me stay on track at these challenging times. When I feel down, I look at it and try to do a couple of activities from the list to recharge: meditate, do yoga, and read books. I feel better at those moments.

Oksana Melnychenko, Account Manager, Senior English Teacher

During the first week of the war, I didn’t have that piece of mind at all. It was terrifying and challenging. I was confused and had no idea what to do next. Gostomel (a town that underwent heavy Russian bombarding during the first weeks of invasion because of the local airport) was near the district I lived in, so I felt all sorts of feelings. I heard and saw everything… My life was paused…

After a while, I realised I had to do something for myself and my parents. My daughter was with her father in safety at that time. So, we packed our belongings and headed towards the train station to move to the western part of Ukraine. Meanwhile, I stayed in touch with the team to be able to help girls if needed.

My volunteer path started with the need to buy pills for my mum. I was buying medicine for others and tried to pay more than requested. I also helped funds such as “Come back alive,” “Prytula Fund,”  and different battalions – trusted people and funds for the Ukrainian Army needs.

When having arrived in a safer place, I started teaching a student for donations. The girl is a musician-violinist who wanted to learn English wholeheartedly to be able to represent Ukraine abroad.

Speaking of my well-being and recharging, meditation, spiritual practices, and techniques helped me greatly. It was pretty safe in Prykarpattya region. Starting from the third week of the war, I began to focus more on work tasks to get distracted from the war. Understanding that each of my donations helped save somebody’s life helped me psychologically, and the taxes I pay when working help the Ukrainian economy.

Evgeniya Slobodian, Regional Head of Corporate English, Business Development Manager

On the fifth day of my awaited vacation, I found out about the war. I remember my feelings: the first week, and I felt rejected. To me, it seemed to be unrealistic.

The second week I felt depressed, disappointed with tears and pain.

During those days, my unshakable mum supported me immensely, reminding me every day that we would win and we had to stay strong. All my relatives were safe, and my husband was next to me, so I felt calmer, even though I still felt pain deep inside.

For the first six weeks, I tried to pull myself together and clear my mind. I got more work and received more tasks at the end of March. Sales tasks appeared as well, and more interaction with clients as required.

I did translations and donated money to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Serhiy Prytua fund, Feldman eco-park, and Vasylivka zoo. My family and I organized temporary shelters for refugees from Mariupol and Kharkiv in school# 7 in Novomoskovsk, trying to help with clothes, food, and plates. During the vacation, my husband and I drew posters and shared information about the war in Ukraine abroad.

At the beginning of the war breakout, I forced myself to meditate, and I was repeating affirmations about our victory, our undefeatable spirit, and that everything would be fine. I continue doing that practice these days as well.

Marharita Podliesnaia, PR & Marketing

The first week of war was senseless for me. I couldn’t realize what was happening, what to expect next, and how to act if the war reached Dnipro. At that time, my parents lived in Zaporizhzhia, and they still live there now, so for the last two and a half months, I have been worrying about them. Every time the Russian army moved further, it was hard for me to conquer my worry and anxiety.

My husband and I joined two armies during the first days – IT and PR. He was attacking Russian websites, and I was translating documents and writing news articles for the media while trying to help our team evacuate. On the third day of the war, we stuffed our car with many clothes and delivered them to the church where the refugees were treated and dressed. During three months of the war, we donated quite a large sum of money to different funds and battalions fighting to protect the Dnipro-Donetsk border.

In a work-related context, we reorganised sales and marketing processes, conducted a series of charity events, launched the first charity course for the L&D community, and donated money in personal funds.

Throughout that time, I was thinking about the ways to help our team and company keep the power on. After all, Savvy is about 50+ employees. It’s a huge annual tax that the company pays. It’s about stability that must be accessible, at least at work. I am proud of the way we bravely managed that.

If I have to talk about my time management and recreation, I almost stopped reading books, drawing, making flower bouquets, and singing. However, I began watching more scientific and historical films about human behavior, our planet, and outstanding personalities. I walk a lot now. I turned out to be an aunt and a bride. So, I had some positive events that kept me strong.

Anonymous, Account Manager, Methodologist, Senior English Teacher

The first weeks were frustrating for me and scary. I have three brothers, and all three are soldiers. So, our entire family was worried and anxious. At the same time, we never doubted that we would withstand, and it’s all alright.

At first, I felt demotivated. I didn’t know how to address our clients or talk to them correctly. So, my work processes stopped.

We concentrated on the physical help we could provide. There is a borderline not far from Lutsk so that we could transport the needed goods. They organized command points; men were digging trenches, and women were weaving scrims to prepare for the Belarus invasion. Men were buying the materials and sending them to the frontline and the Territorial defense forces base.

I learned to complete current tasks set for me, live and enjoy the moment I have now, and meet my girlfriends, nieces/nephews, and relatives any time I have an opportunity.

At the same time, I learned to keep pace with change and be aware of the actual state of things. We were supporting Mariupol and still do that. We were going to the meetings and were drawing posters so that our government and other countries would know what we demand and fight for.

All for that is our new reality today, and I am not trying to stray from it or switch myself off it since whatever is happening now is a part of my life and will always be one.

During 80+ days of the war, the Savvy team financed such funds as “Come back alive,” Serhiy Prytula fund, “Unchain Ukraine,” and “Ukraine cross-border medical operations’ consortium,” which helped to deliver L thyroxine to Ukraine, Feldman eco-park, Ukrainian voluntary army,  Territorial defence forces, and others. Our team regularly translated documents and wrote articles, helping volunteers, soldiers, and ordinary citizens psychologically. This is only a tiny fraction of what we could recall and share with you.

Despite the tragedy that disconnects people physically, we are united all together. We provide and receive support because we are in one team and are connected by one common goal.