February 24, 2022, marked the day Russian armed forces occupied the streets of Ukraine and declared war. Russia’s military invasion took the world by storm, propelling many nations to aid rescue efforts in Ukraine. World leaders weren’t the only people who swung into action; citizens, including RingCentral associates, also played a vital role.
Led by a team of women
A team of RingCentral women associates, most of whom were living in Ukraine when the war began, sprung into action by helping to relocate other associates and their families. Hundreds of RingCentral associates live in Ukraine, all of whom are a vital part of our technology and engineering teams and community at large. Helping our team members find safety was mission critical. This rescue effort was met with complete support from our CEO, Vlad Shmunis.
Natalya Kylymnyk, Head of Administrative Operations in Bulgaria, was living in Ukraine when the Russian invasion began. Once she was able to relocate safely to Bulgaria, she joined forces with a group of RingCentral women to help relocate hundreds of Ukraine-based associates and their families to neighboring countries.
“I left Ukraine during the first days of the war and relocated to Bulgaria with my daughter. We stayed in a cafe with our dog and suitcases while searching for a shelter. I felt frightened and absolutely alone in a foreign country. It was really terrifying,” Natalya said.
With help from a volunteer, Natalya secured an apartment and then devoted her attention to helping other Ukrainians relocate to safety.
“As soon as I moved into the apartment, I immediately joined the ‘Ukraine Support’ chat group on the RingCentral platform and started texting my friends and co-workers to offer them help with finding apartments,” Natalya shared. “I wanted to help anyone who faced this terrible situation.”
The details of the rescue mission
Through the RingCentral platform and the ‘Support Ukraine’ chat group, a dedicated group that assisted with support efforts like getting people to safety and finding families housing, RingCentral associates were able to help each other.
“A lot of RingCentral associates requested help. My team of ~20 women and I devoted over 18 hours a day securing shelter and coordinating transportation to neighboring countries for everyone in need, ” Natalya said.
In addition to coordinating logistics and daily necessities, RingCentral also secured mental health and financial resources for RingCentral community members in Ukraine. RingCentral organized a corporate fund, and individuals donated funds on their own as well. Additionally, associates who lost their homes due to the war activity were able to apply for grants meant to reduce the burden of their lost homes. RingCentral also provided mental health services to those in need and have since brought on two additional corporate psychologists to help employees and their families.
“We helped all of our associates and each of their family members safely relocate from Ukraine. And we are still helping them,” Natalya shared.
An all-hands-on-deck attitude
Svitlana Grachova, HR Director of RingCentral’s Odessa office, was living in Ukraine when the war started; she now lives in Spain. She explained that the success of the emergency rescue effort stemmed from her close-knit team of focused do-ers along with RingCentral’s unwavering support.
“We spent hours strategizing how to evacuate people and discussing shifts for product running and support,” explained Svitlana. “As an HR Director, I needed to organize my team and the volunteer engineers to support evacuation activities. I am always proud of my team, and this event made me believe that they are the best people in the world. Our team of determined women were willing to go the extra mile and work 24/7 to help people evacuate to safety.”
We asked Svitlana how this experience impacted her. She shared that it made her stronger and showed her the power of people dedicated to a mission.
“Now I believe that there are no impossible things in life. I believe I am much stronger than I was. I believe that dedicated people can change the world.”
The ripple effects of taking action
It is always important to do the right thing for the right reasons. For RingCentral, the decision to help Ukraine was cut and dry: people in our community were in danger, and we needed to help them find safety. Living our values is always the right thing to do, especially when the outcome is as real as saving lives. In this case, it was also a clear demonstration of our workplace culture.
Ukraine native Olena Subchynska’s first day as a Junior Numbers Analyst at RingCentral was February 24, 2022, the same day that Russia declared war on Ukraine. Naturally, this was a rough day to start a new job.
“On the evening of February 23rd, I was full of worries about my first day at work. By the morning, my worries changed dramatically,” said Olena.
“Memories of the end of February 2022 are some of the most terrible ones in my life. But thanks to RingCentral’s support and the professionalism and unity of the employees, my reality was made much better,” Olena explained.
“After a week into the war, I decided to evacuate from Ukraine. I notified RingCentral that I needed help, and the next day I was given a seat on a bus and hotel accommodations for myself, my son, my mother, my sister and her children, and our dog. RingCentral thought of everything in advance, and the whole move was perfectly organized. AB Soft and RingCentral acted as one big family. Seeing that level of care makes me want to grow and work better.”
Standing united with Ukraine
RingCentral continues to stand united with Ukraine. We acknowledge the pain that has been caused by this distressing conflict and are committed to supporting Ukraine. When the invasion began, we immediately enabled free phone calls to Ukraine for all customers using our services and donated $250,000 to the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund.
When the RingCentral team of heroic women stepped up to help with relocation efforts in Ukraine, we supported them fully. This team includes, Natalya Kylymnyk, Head of Administrative Operations in Bulgaria; Lora Paslova, Senior Manager PM; Olena Subchynska, Junior Numbers Analyst; Anastasia Delkova, HR Manager; Nataliia Muzychuk, Sr. Product Manager; Svitlana Grachova, HR Director of the Odessa office; Veronika Strilets, QA Engineer; and Оleksandra Haidarzhy, Talent Sourcer.
On behalf of the RingCentral community, we want to thank these brave women for devoting their time and energy to help hundreds of people find safety during a devastating time in history. The work these women have done is a great service to RingCentral, and it also marks a humanitarian effort worthy of wider recognition.
Originally published Mar 09, 2023