The Heroine’s Journey of Olga Rudneva

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

It gives me sense of life. It reminds me who I am and why I am. It fills me with amazing stories. It brings right people into my life. It gives me hope that every day has meaning and every life is priceless. And the last, but not the least: I am getting paid for making good things happen.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

To have all your relatives healthy, be in love, to work on a big project that makes you feel right and in spite of a long list of things to do be able escape for the weekend in a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere to feel the moment of perfect happiness before life sends you another trial.

What is my greatest fear?

I am afraid to run out of time before I am fully satisfied with what I did and what I accomplished as individual.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?


Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

I don’t know whether charity ever been a profession for Mother Theresa, but she is the one I will always admire the most. She is the brightest star on my horizon. She is not amongst living people, but I truly believe that people alive while we remember them. On a daily life, I am inspired by people, who fight drug dependence day after day, who face life-threatening diagnosis and move ahead, who have power to stand up after the biggest defeats and live full life.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Going to the gym at 7 AM every day. All my friends around think I am crazy, but I love my morning runs and I love to start my day with sport meditation.

On what occasion would I lie?

To protect people I love and to escape big social events with a dress code

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

I hate loosing people to AIDS. I hate lost battles. I hate to see people giving up. But very often these stories become my biggest motivator to change something. I hate to live the moment without understanding how this very moment can help me in my work one day. At the same time, my work taught me to connect dots looking back. As it was beautifully said by Steven Jobs “… you cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future”

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Every time when I accomplish something, I am the happiest girl in the world. When the life was saved. When the perfect solution was found. When people return me a smile. I remember the day when we did charitable concert of Sir Paul McCartney in Ukraine. It was the day of the worst rain in my life and we all thought that the concert would never happen. I stepped on the stage and saw crowd of people, waiting for Paul and I couldn’t tell whether it was rain or tears on their faces. The moment later I was introduced to Sir Paul, and asked him whether he thinks of cancelling the show. He gave me that look and said: I will do it. And he did. That was the happiest moment in my professional life: the moment when nothing could stop us.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

I would change the part of me responsible for implementing my craziest ideas. Millions of stories that live in my head have never being reviled. Thousands of ideas have never been implemented. This is my biggest sin.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Every time I do something cool, I tell myself: this is my greatest achievement. But I strongly believe that my biggest achievement is still ahead. And this is what keeps me running.

Where would I most like to live?

Kyiv is my very conscious decision. I was born in Eastern Ukraine, in industrial city Donetsk. All my connections with my home city are lost due to military conflict. I am not sure if I ever return there…

In my next life I will be a woman born in West Village in New York. If I ever have a next life.

What is my most treasured possession?

My memories about my travels and people I meet. I love coming back to the dearest moments of my life and find stories that give me energy to survive the hardest times

What is my most marked characteristic?

I am a storyteller and I am always surrounded by stories

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

My house in the forest and my reading zone there are the places where I am never bored. Every season there is marked by new life that fascinates me over and over again.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Kyiv is amazing city where every day new places pop up. Sometimes I just stop on a lights and notice something new, find parking and explore what is behind the windows. I love cozy places with their own atmosphere, with murmurous music, shelves full of books and distinctive smell.

What books influenced my life and how?

This year I finally read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and this is the book that I’ve been waiting for all my life. I strongly believe that I was under its influence long before I read through the impact this book made in the world.

Who are my favorite writers?

Different writers took over my mind in different times. When a teenager, I loved Mikhail Bulgakov, Francoise Sagan, these days I am enjoying Ayn Rand.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

The music of the ocean waves crashing against cliffs

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged is my hero. I wish she was real and I would have chance to meet her in person.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?


Oprah Winfrey. She is the one. For the phrase: “God, use me” For being a great example for women around the world. For outstanding charisma. For her sense of humor. For everything she did to inspire the world.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

My favorite one that I can watch time after time is “Forrest Gump” I love every moment of it and can never be tired of watching it. I would also recommend Crash by Paul Haggis that shows how everything connected in this world and documentary feature “Life in a day” (Ridley Scott/Kevin Macdonald)

What role plays art in my life and work?

It reminds me how beautiful the world is.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My friends and my ANTIAIDS team.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017?

I would love to meet people who change lives. Who are not afraid of changes and who is always open to something new. Someone, who can fill the air with energy and ideas and never complain.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017?

I would love to meet Bono, the singer, the activist, someone who did so much for the fight against AIDS in the world. And I would love to meet him in Kyiv and see him performing and spreading the message against HIV/AIDS and discrimination.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on?

I am looking forward to our new project with The Coca-Cola foundation to empower women. I am strong believer in women power and I want them to know that they deserve more, they can do more and they will do more if they have little more trust in themselves.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017?

I hope to finish my first book addressed to all girls who have hundreds of questions about life, love and happiness. This would be the book about people I met, stories that happened to me and about my work.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

It means that this world has chance to survive.

How can you contact me?

I am at Facebook:


Or I can be reached via email:


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