Nataliya Mykolska is a visionary expert focused on strategically building bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world:
She’s a women’s rights activist and co-founded the women empowerment platform SheExports. She is a member of the Supervisory Board of TechUkraine and of the Trade+ Center within Kyiv School of Economics and a supporter of Ukrainian creative industries.
From 2018 to 2022, Nataliya acted as Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade. In this government position, Nataliya was responsible for developing and implementing a consistent and efficient trade policy. In 2022 after the full-scale invasion to her country, she founded Dattalion – Ukraine’s Data Battalion.
Nataliya is a mother of two boys, the wife of a Ukrainian volunteer, daughter, and sister.
What inspired you to run an international volunteer project?
Ukrainians are fighting every day not only for their country but for global values of freedom and democracy. My mission is to help Ukraine win this war, so I will do whatever I can. I continue working on my business projects and as an independent board member, so DATTALION is not my full-time job, although very much on top of my priorities.
While it is very challenging to run a wartime volunteer project, it is also very rewarding. DATTALION is a mission-driven volunteer project, and this helps as you work with people who have the same values and beliefs. We have volunteers all over the world, many of them women (mothers and wives), and a lot are now de-facto single moms (those who moved abroad with their kids).
How does your work #EmbraceEquity? What are the challenges you encounter?
At DATTALION, 98% of our volunteers are women. I have always believed in women’s empowerment – although I never thought that I would be running a women’s wartime project.
We had a terrible anniversary this February: one year of brutal war in Ukraine. Women had to stand up to the crisis. Each of them faced and is facing complex and complicated decisions and actions – each of them found herself on a battlefield. For some, it was fighting on the frontline, for others taking care of kids in a new country, for others like me, it was starting volunteer projects.
There are millions of stories that cover power and fragility at the same time.
How important are diversity, equity, and inclusion for the future success of our society?
I think that women’s leadership is very important to make our world a safe place and not to let authoritarian leaders challenge the values of independence, freedom, and democracy. We need more women leaders in governments, politics, international organizations, businesses, and the not-for-profit sector.