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Inter(n)view: Helen Marchenko

Release date:
18 Jan 2024

Inter(n)view: Helen Marchenko People & ideas at Deutsche Börse

In our “Inter(n)view” series, our interns, apprentices, trainees, and students share their insights into Deutsche Börse Group. Meet Helen Marchenko, who found her way to us through difficult circumstances and now supports our Governance & Organizational Services department as trainee. In our latest Inter(n)view issue, she reflects on the journey that led her to us and gives insights into her traineeship, the challenges she overcame, and where she sees herself in five years.

Tell us a bit about the journey that led you to us.

I loved my life in Ukraine – a cosy house, my cats and dog Johnny, my favourite job – everything was exactly as I wanted. I worked as an English-Ukrainian interpreter for the last seven years in various international organisations and did not plan to leave my life in Irpin, a city located 13 km from Kyiv, to come to Germany. In January 2022, I joined Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Ukraine as a member of a project called “EU4Business”, an initiative of the EU and Germany to support small and medium-sized Ukrainian enterprises.

On 24 February 2022, my life changed drastically when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Luckily, I managed to get my family and our five pets evacuated to Kyiv on the same day. We stayed in the West of Ukraine for several days and when it became clear we had no place to return to, we started to consider moving to Germany as my German GIZ colleagues had already offered us a temporary place to stay When I arrived in Germany, I immediately started looking for work opportunities, as I unfortunately could not continue working for GIZ. I found an organisation called “socialbee”, which offered Ukrainians the opportunity to submit their CVs to check for available job opportunities. I have a lot of experience working in international companies, and I wanted to work in an office, which would be a familiar and stable environment for me. socialbee offered me a one-year programme to become project manager, which included a one-month online training and working in one of their partner companies for the remaining 11 months. In my case, this partner company was Deutsche Börse Group, and I am very grateful for this unique opportunity!

Which department do you support at Deutsche Börse Group and what are some of your tasks?

Currently, I work in the Governance & Organizational Services department. Some of my daily tasks are of a more administrative nature, such as onboarding external experts and supporting my line manager with daily requests. But there are also tasks where I can really express myself creatively and bring my ideas to life. Since I love to network and think outside the box, coming up with interesting team building ideas is something where I thrive. One of the ideas I implemented at our department Christmas party was to make gingerbread houses with our whole team and donate them to a charity in the region. They were planning a St. Nicholas party for Ukrainian children and our gingerbread houses were a great and festive decoration for this party.

I am very lucky with my team. My line manager was fully aware of my background and the reason why I came to Germany, and she is always very understanding and supporting. She also always finds the time to explain details about company processes that I don’t understand and is interested in my feedback as well. I feel respected and comfortable, and I consider myself lucky to have such a great caring team and line manager.

What have been some highlights and challenges so far? What has helped you to overcome challenges?

When I arrived in Germany, I was afraid that my lack of German language would become a big obstacle, so I immediately started to learn German. But when I started at Deutsche Börse Group, I was pleasantly surprised that my low level of German was not a problem at all. Another challenge which I was worried about was that I have never worked in the financial sector before. I mainly worked for NGOs and different social projects – a slightly different experience. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a place for myself, but my colleagues and line manager gladly supported me every day, helping me to understand better how the business works. All in all, I was able to overcome the challenges of starting in an unfamiliar field, in a foreign country, and a new company thanks to networking, and I consider my social network my main success. I am impressed by all the support and interest from my colleagues, even from those of other departments. I found not only colleagues who are pleasant to talk to, but also real friends, with whom I enjoy spending time also outside the working environment. A particularly nice highlight for me has been to get to know Ukrainian colleagues who are working at Deutsche Börse Group for some time now. Especially abroad, the opportunity to communicate with people in my native language is extremely precious for me!

Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?

socialbee allowed me to start working as a project manager, but I quickly noticed that this is not exactly what I would like to continue with. My line manager takes this into account and tries to give me tasks where I can both support the team and her well, but which are also interesting for me at the same time. 

I consider Deutsche Börse Group a great place to work as it focuses on the right qualifications and what drives people, rather than their nationality, gender, or previous challenges in life – I am a good example of it. As I like helping people, I regularly volunteer at a non-profit health care provider in my spare time, which offers medical advice and treatment for uninsured patients once a week and where I interpret for Ukrainian patients. But also in my professional career, I would like to support people, which is why I can see myself taking on an assistant role in the future – preferably of course within Deutsche Börse Group.

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