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Key Workers of Initiative to Support Ukrainian Refugees Receive Special Recognition at the Northern Power Women Awards

Key workers of the United for Ukraine initiative, Okszana Nepijvoda and Marianna Vaszilyiv, received a surprise ‘Special Honour’ award at Monday night’s prestigious event for their dedication and support.

Now in its seventh consecutive year, The Northern Power Women Awards, proudly sponsored by headline partner, EY, and hosted by Nina Hossain, took place at Manchester Central Convention Complex on Monday 20th March. The Awards constitute the largest celebration of gender equality in Europe and celebrates the forward-thinking individuals and organisations who strive to create greater gender balance within their communities.


United For Ukraine was formed in April 2022 by a coalition of business leaders and organisations across the north of England, including The Growth Company, NWBLT, and Agent, to support Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK. It works to connect refugees in the region with employers who can offer good job opportunities in a supportive environment.


The ‘Special Honour’ award was created this year especially for Okszana Nepijvoda and Marianna Vaszilyiv, after Simone Roche MBE, Founder Northern Power Women heard about the incredible work they have done in relation to the United for Ukraine initiative. It was presented to Okszana and Marianna on stage by Simone, accompanied by North Market Leader and Managing Director for Manchester EY, Stephen Church.

Okszana and Marianna, both formerly from Ukraine, provide the day-to-day support services for United for Ukraine and listen to and advise Ukrainian refugees. They also help Ukrainian refuges navigate the culture gap between working and living in the UK compared to back home.

Simone Roche MBE, Founder of Northern Power Women, said:


There are two people who I especially asked to join us at the The Northern Power Women Awards. Two women, whose contributions in the face of such stark opposition, have absolutely blown me away. I had to honor them with this very special award at Monday’s ceremony.


Okszana Nepijvoda and Marianna Vaszilyiv, as part of the pan-Northern United for Ukraine initiative have directly supported over 1,000 Ukranian refugees with direct employment and advice in the North. It was my honour to give them the award.”


Mark Hughes, Chief Executive at The Growth Company Group, said:


“I would like to say a personal thank you to our United for Ukraine Key Workers, Okszana Nepijvoda and Marianna Vaszilyiv. The support they provide in the United for Ukraine initiative is the fundamental reason it has been so impactful.


“Okszana and Marianna go above and beyond to help Ukrainian refugees find work, reassure them, and help them to navigate a new life here in the UK. Okszana and Marianna really are the essence of what the Growth Company is all about, helping to create a better life for these people who have lost so much.”

Watch this short video more from Okszana and Marianna who tell us in their own words what it means to be part of the United for Ukraine initiative.

To find out more about United for Ukraine – and what support and jobs are currently available, visit the website, call 0161 237 4130, or email [email protected]  Ukrainian refugees can visit the website, call 0161 237 4131, or email [email protected]

Olivia McHugh
Olivia McHugh
Staff writer
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