Rivnovaha: Making an Impact Beyond One’s Career

December 06, 2023

People for People in Ukraine

With Rivnovaha, Dmytro Klymenko, a graduate of the Global Executive MBA, created an online platform that connects Ukrainians with experts who can offer first-level psychological support – often a taboo for people in the war-torn country.

Mental Health – an important topic, which i soften not discussed openly. Bild: shutterstock – one photo
Mental Health – an important topic, which i soften not discussed openly. Bild: shutterstock – one photo

It does not even take a war for people to experience stress, anxiety, fear of what the future might hold for themselves and their loved ones, burnout, post-traumatic stress disorders, and other mental problems.

Ukrainians, regardless of whether they have remained in the country or decided to flee, are thus hit twice as hard right now. What’s more, mental health is still a hush-hush topic in Eastern Europe, Dmytro Klymenko, a Global Strategic Program Manager at SAP, points out: “People often feel uncomfortable sharing that they are suffering from depression or a burnout.”

In Case of a Mental Crisis: the Importance of Information and Orientation

All of this has driven Dmytro, who is a graduate of the Global Executive MBA of the WU Executive Academy, to found Rivnovaha (Ukrainian for equilibrium or balance). Rivnovaha offers a place for Ukrainians to openly talk about their struggles and get advice on where to start to do something about them. “Those affected lack access to information and thus also the care they need,” says Dmytro, who came to Austria many years ago and works at SAP, an international corporation, today. He has been supporting people in Ukraine, where part of his family still lives, since the beginning of the war.

Rivnovaha is run in Ukrainian and offers a network of mental health experts such as psychologists and coaches, aiming to make it easier to ask for professional support.

Dmytro Klymenko Portrait

Dmytro Klymenko

  • Global Executive MBA alumnus

We want to provide facts and create a public space where people can ask questions. We cannot provide individual counselling sessions and certainly don’t want to replace them, but we want to help people take the first step.

The services offered by the platform are free of charge and will remain so in the future. Dmytro himself donated the means needed for the technical implementation, and the healthcare professionals offer their services pro bono. The topics that can be addressed in this framework include burnout and depression in addition to issues related to the war in Ukraine, such as feelings of guilt, anxiety, or fear about the future. Users have to register with an email address but are not required to use their real names for their accounts. At the same time, there are rules that everybody needs to comply with.

The platform has met with great interest from the very beginning, leaving no doubt that there is a lot of demand for services of this kind. There are already plans to expand the services offered, for which some additional financial support would be needed.

Creating an Impact Beyond One’s Own Career

With his platform, Dmytro is making a real change outside of his professional field. And in this, he’s not alone among executive education graduates, says Barbara Stöttinger, Dean of the WU Executive Academy:

“Today, people don’t complete an MBA just to advance their careers but also to live up to a sense of social responsibility.” Dmytro’s platform is an excellent example of how a person can contribute in a way that transcends their own professional field. “Dmytro is definitely a role model because he uses his network to help other people.”

A business network can also be used to create impact beyond one’s career. Bild: shutterstock, Gigistock
A business network can also be used to create impact beyond one’s career. Bild: shutterstock, Gigistock

The knowledge he gained in the exclusive educational program has helped him in many ways, Dmytro shares: “It was some of my colleagues at the Global Executive MBA and what they were doing that inspired me to start Rivnovaha.” Even though his non-profit project is motivated by humanitarian reasons, it still requires a sound approach and the use of suitable tools of general management, marketing, communication, and operative management. “All of these skills I acquired and honed in the course of my MBA.”

Barbara Stöttinger can only confirm this: “Many things people learn and use in a professional context can be put to good use in other fields as well.” Finding purpose in one’s job and life is getting more and more important for people, and the WU Executive Academy is tailoring its offers to these aspirations. “For most people, it’s not enough to just climb the career ladder anymore.”

Talking about responsibility: according to Dmytro Klymenko, it is important to openly talk about things that are weighing you down. Dealing with such emotions is the first step to overcoming mental problems. For a long time, he was not able to admit to himself how guilty he felt for no longer living in Ukraine. However, the ability to share this today goes to show how much progress he has made and how important it is to get active and try to change things. “We have to be able to admit to ourselves that it’s okay not to be okay.” 

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