#UWC news
April 8,2022 574

TORONTO – The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) has recently appointed Sonya Soutus as the new Executive Director.

In response to Russia’s invasion and atrocities against the Ukrainian people, UWC has dramatically scaled-up its operations and staff to meet these new challenges.

UWC President Paul Grod said, “We are very pleased to have Sonya joining us at the UWC. Sonya brings valuable international, corporate, and community experience to UWC. She has already shown herself to be a major asset to our organisation and her dedication to the Ukrainian cause is clear for all to see. We look forward to working with her during this time of crisis and rebuilding of our country.”

Sonya joins the UWC in the midst of their latest fundraising campaign, #UniteWithUkraine which is raising funds to supply protective equipment to those Ukrainians fighting on the frontline including: IFAK – first aid kits; bullet-proof vests and helmets; night-vision goggles; communication equipment and fuel, among other things. The UWC is also leading global coordination and logistics for the Ukrainian community and other NGO support efforts.

“At this most difficult time for Ukraine, I am humbly honored to have been appointed Executive Director of The Ukrainian World Congress which historically has fought for Ukraine’s freedom for over 55 years. The over 20 million Ukrainians in the diaspora, are committed to supporting Ukraine and its freedom, and The Ukrainian World Congress represents that unified voice” said Sonya.

Mariia Kupriianova will assume the newly created role of Director of Operations for UWC and will be a member of the UWC leadership team reporting to Sonya.

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About Sonya Soutus

Sonya Soutus has over 30 years of experience in business and communications. Her career includes leading communications, public affairs, government relations, brand communications, M&A communications, investor relations and corporate social responsibility strategies for multinational corporations, as well as building and restructuring teams to meet the changing demands of those corporations.

Prior to taking on the role of UWC Executive Director, Ms. Soutus has worked as UWC’s director of communications and prior to that as a volunteer in establishing the Ukrainian World Foundation in Ukraine. She also worked in Ukraine as a consultant for various Ukrainian and foreign businesses.

Prior to returning to Ukraine in 2018, Ms. Soutus was a Senior Managing Director with Teneo. There she led teams supporting several global clients including The Coca-Cola Company and Verizon. Prior to joining Teneo, Ms. Soutus was Senior Vice President and Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer for The Nature’s Bounty Company, which was owned by The Carlyle Group. There, she led a team that supported the organization through a number of business-critical situations, including: acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, a rebranding and name change of the company and, ultimately, the sale of that company to KKR & Co. Inc. As part of this effort, Ms. Soutus built out the corporate communications and brand communications efforts and established an in-house government relations function. She also led efforts to successfully receive $60 million in New York state funds tied to job growth.

Immediately prior to her tenure at Nature’s Bounty, Ms. Soutus served as Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications for the Coca-Cola Company, leading the Coca-Cola North America Business Unit. In that role, she oversaw corporate communications for the business unit, as well as media relations, brand communications, government relations, community relations, corporate social responsibility and corporate giving. During her 20-year career with The Coca-Cola Company, Ms. Soutus held roles of increasing responsibility and worked globally, managing critical issues in several countries, including: the USA, India, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, China, Canada and throughout Western Europe.

Before joining The Coca-Cola Company in Ukraine, Ms. Soutus was Group Director with Burson-Marsteller in Ukraine, where she led public education programs for USAID and later helped establish the agency’s first commercial office in that country. Immediately prior to joining Burson-Marsteller, Ms. Soutus served as Press Secretary to the Patriarch and Cardinal of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Rome and Ukraine. She also worked at KDKA-TV in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Ms. Soutus is a graduate of Duquesne University where she earned a degree in journalism and English Literature.

Ms. Soutus recently returned to Ukraine and lives in Kyiv where she has been consulting for companies investing in Ukraine. She is a recipient of the Order of St. Olha from President Victor Yushchenko.