Maryna Saprykina is a Ukrainian sustainability consultant and one of the five finalists of the Speaker Contest 2023. In her speech “Sustainability In the Times of War”, she introduces us to a 5-component model of sustainability in wartime.
Sustainability may not be the first thing that comes into mind when thinking of war. Still, as Maryna discussed in her speech, it may be a crucial factor for businesses to survive during times of uncertainty and turbulence. We asked Maryna some questions regarding her topic and her journey during the contest so far.
How did you start your speaker career?
“I did not plan to become a speaker. As a child from a small town that is unfortunately occupied by Russia, I have always had a lot of complexes, including about public speaking. But over the course of my professional career, I came to an important discovery. The main thing in speaking is understanding my “why” (why I speak for, what I plan to change). And since I have been developing socially responsible businesses in Ukraine for 15 years, I realized that in order to be convincing in speaking, I need to know my “why.””
Why did you want to join the Speaker Contest, and how has your journey in the competition been so far?
“I’ve known about your incredible forum for a long time, and I’ve been dreaming of attending it. So when I saw the opportunity to become a speaker, I realized my “why.” I really want to talk about the incredible resilience of Ukrainian businesses during the war, which is not talked about enough. And there is a cash prize in this competition that I really need: for our army and for my project to support women entrepreneurs, which emerged as a response to the war when many women with children became refugees or displaced persons. So this is my second reason for participating.
As for the organization of the Contest, I am grateful to the organizers for this great personal challenge, first of all. Because the people I’m competing with are incredible speakers, and they have incredible stories. And I am also constantly solving other challenges. For example, preparing a video for the first stage. In Ukraine, there were constant blackouts due to Russia’s attacks on our energy system, so I recorded between the outages. The second challenge was in the semi-finals when I had an appointment with a doctor who was in the process of mobilization. And there could have been an air raid, which I warned the organizers about. So problem-solving is a newly developed competence.”
Why do you think your speech is so important for business leaders to hear?
“When I talk to people and organizations abroad, I see that they know about Ukrainians, know our politicians, and the incredible Ukrainian army, but they don’t know what Ukrainian business did during the war. And in general, whether Ukrainian business still exists. I want to talk about how Ukrainian business has survived, about its extreme resilience and social responsibility. All this formed the basis of the 5-component model of war-time sustainability. And I am sure that this experience of Ukrainian business needs to be studied because, as the past year demonstrated, we live in a very fragile world. Therefore, other companies can use this model in other countries, just in case.”
Have you made use of the MySpeaker Rhetorich coaching? How did it benefit you?
“When I received the offer of coaching, I immediately decided that I would take advantage of it. Despite all the challenges (yes, there was another one – I couldn’t upload the video because of a power outage), an hour of communication with Andre definitely changed my presentation, strengthened my speech, and helped me overcome my fear. One of the main insights of the meeting was the remark, “that’s so boring,” in response to the description of my speech concept. And it made me laugh because as I was explaining this concept, I realized that it was really boring. And such discoveries made it possible to push back and jump higher. But the jump is still going on – the final is coming soon.”
Are you interested in hearing more insights from Maryna? Join us online on 10th May at 18:00 EEST for the Speaker Contest 2023 Final! You will hear from Maryna and four other contestants, and you get to vote for your favorite speech.