Contributed by Dr. Carrie Santos, CEO of Entrepreneurs’ Organization
In late March, Entrepreneurs’ Organization CEO, Dr. Carrie Santos, traveled to Poland and Romania, along with EO’s Chairman of the Board, David Anderson, to support the selfless volunteer efforts of EO members from Poland, Romania and greater Europe, who are sharing their time and resources with thousands of Ukrainian families displaced from their homes. They met with some of these members, as well as other compassionate, agile entrepreneurs from around the world, who are—together—stepping up to support people in this time of great stress and need. Here is what Carrie shared upon their return:
Although my professional background is largely in humanitarian and refugee relief work, in these times when we see so much suffering and growing need displayed in heart-aching color across our television and computer screens, I have to remind myself that the Entrepreneurs’ Organization is not in the business of disaster response and relief. Yet, we are a global fellowship of leaders trying to move the world forward by unlocking the full potential of entrepreneurs. We are bound by a set of shared values and an impulse to act.
It was so moving to see the many members of EO taking time away from their own businesses and using their problem-solving skills to create solutions for the refugees who are fleeing the violence in Ukraine. This agility and innovation is exactly what’s needed right now and will be essential to alleviate the human suffering, while governments mobilize (often more slowly).
As I walked through the makeshift shelters in Bucharest and Warsaw, spoke with some of the women, children and elderly people whose lives have been so upended, and watched the truckloads of supplies coming in to lend comfort, I was struck by the unique talents of entrepreneurs to create solutions in chaos. Here are 10 of those entrepreneurial superpowers at work in Eastern Europe to benefit refugees from Ukraine.
1. Value autonomy, freedom and self-control
We used our voices to remind the world that refugees are people. And we don’t just put people in camps without options to move forward. We want them ready for recovery. That’s the goal.
I noticed striking parallels between how both displaced people and entrepreneurs strive for freedom, autonomy, and control in their lives. Even in the face of extreme tragedy, this is what people need most. It’s fitting that entrepreneurs are helping to empower these strong people.