As one of the youngest Presidents in the history of the Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada (UYA), Olyana Grod is truly a dynamic and enthusiastic young leader. Her nomination and election into this position did not come however without years of hard work and dedication to the organization. Olyana has been a lifelong member of the UYA, starting as a member of the Mississauga Branch, where she began as a youth member and progressed through the ranks and became a counsellor and a member of their board Recently, Olyana became a member of the Etobicoke branch where she is an active member working wlth the program coordinators of the branch. Olyana extends her volunteerism into the summer months where she has been not only a counsellor but a camp director at the numerous summer camps the UYA runs. Most recently, Olyana was the camp director and leadership instructor at the counsellor leadership camp run through the Edmonton branch of the UYA. There Olyana had a chance to work with the younger members of the organization and teach them valuable lessons in leadership and volunteerism.
This direct contact with the younger members of the organization is where Olyana is able to motivate, encourage and mentor young people to take on leadership positions in the organization. On a national level, Olyana has been a National Executive member since 2007, where she was elected secretary of the board. Olyana also held the position of co-coordinator of druzhynnyky, a body that was responsible for uniting leaders of the organization aged 18+. In this position Olyana was instrumental in organizing the 2010 UYA World Jamboree in Vancouver during the Olympics as the main liaison between the world executive and the national executive and serving as logistics coordinator. In Olyana’s newest post as President, she ensures the smooth running of the UYA’s 10 branches and represents the organization on various committees and at various community events both nationally and internationally.
Olyana’s work within the Ukrainian Canadian Diaspora is not limited to the UYA. She was an active member of the Ukrainian Canadian Students Union, as their Regional VP-East from 2007-2008, during the national students union revlval. Olyana has also taken part in discussions with the consultative group to the Ministry of Multiculturalism on affairs related to the Ukrainian Canadian community. Olyana has taken on an active role in the Canadian Conference in Support of Ukraine, where she has assisted in the organization of events such as the flag raising at Queens Park to commemorate the anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence, the demonstration in front of the Russian Consulate General in Toronto, and Holodomor Education Week. She was also selected by CANADEM to be a short term election observer for Ukraine’s Presidential Elections in February of 2010, where she assisted in the overseeing of a fair and just electoral process. Most recently Olyana has been interviewed for an international youth internship opportunity in Ukraine with the Canadian Urban Institute.
Not only is Olyana fully involved in volunteering for the Ukrainian Canadian Diaspora, but she also has achieved many educational accomplishments throughout the years. Olyana has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto and most recently graduated with a Master of Science degree in biology from York University. During her graduate studies Olyana also published two peer-reviewed articles.
As a young accomplished woman Olyana has provided much to the Ukrainian Canadian community. Her innovative ideas, enthusiasm and leadership skills make her an excellent candidate for the UCC Youth Leadership Award. Olyana’s unwavering dedication in all that she does perfectly personifies leadership through action giving those younger than her the motivation
to strive for greatness and earning her the respect of those older. Through her leadership style and positive attitude Olyana is an exemplary mentor to those younger than her in the community