Art that instills leadership skills: the team of New Products Group attended a performance dedicated to Olena Teliha


Theatre performances for businesses offer a unique experience. Taking advantage of the power of art, companies open up opportunities for personal and professional growth of employees, inspiration and collaborative learning. They encourage employees to explore business topics, reflect on their role in the team, and create a space for collaboration and innovation.

The marketing team of the New Products Group attended the performance “Olena Teliha. Return” directed by Liena Lazovich. This theatrical piece was created in the first year of the full-scale russian invasion, therefore, many events from the writer’s biography correlated with the realities of today.

When the lights went out in the theatre hall, the poet Olena Teliha showed up on stage in an elegant white dress. She was reminiscing on how as a child she had been walking with her mother around the centre of Kyiv. And it was in this city that she performed on stage for the first time, reading poetry. Olena is young, charming and daring person, she is fond of literature, but so far, she does not perceive herself as a true poet. These traits and experiences of the girl have been masterfully embodied by the actress Malvina Moshkovych.

Throughout the performance, Olena Teliha has been changing her outfits several times, putting on a variety of extravagant hats, and showing off elegant shoes. Olena Teliha is a fashionmonger, a person who always creates festive atmosphere around her, and a true intellectual. Mykhailo Teliha, her future husband, falls in love with her at first sight. Her beauty and poetic gift deeply impress the ideologist of Ukrainian nationalism and literary critic Dmytro Dontsov, as well as the entire Ukrainian beau monde, which is forced to escape from Soviet regime to the Czechia and Poland.

In exile, Olena Teliha joined the OUN Сultural Reference Department. However, she was certain that it was necessary to protect the cultural front in the homeland. When the Nazis occupied Kyiv in 1941, Olena found the courage to go back to the city to fulfill her important mission. She became the Head of the National Writers’ Union of Ukraine and, despite the war, the editor of Lytavry (Timpani) weekly art-related supplement to the newspaper Ukrainske Slovo (Ukrainian Word), which had been published by the OUN. That period was like our present times. In winter, there was no electricity or heating in Kyiv, and people had to stand in line to get some water. However, Olena wrote to her friend living abroad that “life had been going on.” When the Nazis began to persecute Ukrainian patriots, Olena Teliha did not run away from the city, even despite the fact that her friends from abroad had been persistently asking her to escape. She could not leave the Writers’ Union to its fate.

The poet’s story ended tragically. However, her life was bright and full of adventures. She had developed the traits of a true leader, and was uncompromising in her fight. This was discussed during a session following the performance, moderated by Kateryna Yasko, organizational psychologist by profession. Kateryna told us that the play “Olena Teliha. Return” was selected purposefully, since Liena Lazovich’s workshop had been very innovative and focused on teamwork, and this was in line with the values of the New Products Group. The director does not impose her own vision of roles on the actors, but gives them space for self-organization and gaining insight into their characters. Besides, artists are experimenting all the way, they are able to perform various functions: in one performance they may play the leading part, and in another one they may engage in some administrative work. “Olena Teliha’s path is the path of the OUN team, since the OUN is about both self-organization, and the leadership. Despite the fact that they did not have enough resources, they were ready to keep on fighting against the Soviet and Nazi regimes for the sake of the independence of the Ukrainian State, and for us to be able to speek freely today”, said Kateryna Yasko.

There was a discussion among those present: was Olena Teliha a natural born leader, or was it her character traits she had been developing during her life? “Olena was living like an “ordinary woman”: she had fun, came up with some ideas, and then at some point she became so passionate? Or had she always been passionate, and at some point it just showed up?” asked Borys Tkachov, Marketing Director of the New Products Group. In response, Olena Seliutina, Communications Director of the New Products Group, pointed out that there had always been a certain share of leaders in any society. “The story of Olena Teliha, and the fact that it has brought us together here as a team of New Products Group of Companies, and the fact that the actors have jointly created this performance speaks for a high degree of passionarity. Passionaries are people who, despite any circumstances, are inspired with high ideas, they fulfill their mission. And since they are so special, they have special love stories, whirlwind and extraordinary ones. Our task today is to stay hard-working and efficient for as long as possible, so that not to join the ranks of those who need help,” Olena Seliutina stressed.

Natalia Vasylyshyna, the art historian who had been exploring Olena Teliha’s creative development, agreed that the poet was a natural born leader, but added that in her adult life, she made a conscious choice to be a leader. “Olena had been a leader since childhood, but over the years she had developed these strong traits even more. She didn’t want to be a quiet homebody, she was always striving for something high-spirited, for some incredible fire, she got constantly carried away with some ideas. When she had been entrusted with her activities in the OUN, and entrusted to go to Kyiv during the war, she felt happy. It was a chance to show her worth, to complete a very important mission, even though she was quite aware that she could be killed”, the art historian pointed out.

“Our company is also gets carried away now and again. Actually, carried away by proactive people, which is why we are growing at such a rapid pace. The very fact that 95 percent of people from the marketing team have come to attend this performance speaks for your concern, for your willing to develop on an ongoing basis”, added Polina Toropova, Training and Development Manager of the New Products Group.

At the end of performance, all the audience agreed that the performance had a strong emotional effect on them. “It was like a dialogue with me personally, and I was ready to respond to the actors at any time,” shared her impressions Yuliia Zhemova, Category Manager for Marketing and Business Development (snack production sector) of the New Products Group.

We should remind that Liena Lazovich’s experimental workshop was opened on the basis of the studio at the Theatre on Pechersk. The repertoire of the young team mostly includes theatrical pieces dedicated to the lives of outstanding figures such as Vasyl Stus, Lesia Ukrainka, Van Gogh. Today, the actors are working on the performance dedicated to Hryhorii Skovoroda. One of the initiators and literary adviser of the performance dedicated to Olena Teliha, the art historian Nataliia Vasylyshyna, delivered a lecture on the biography of the poet to the personnel of the New Products Group on the eve of the performance.

The team of New Products Group were lucky to be the first to see the performance. As a matter of fact, it will be available to a wider audience only in this autumn, as soon as the new theatrical season launches.