Yana Matviychuk: how to create the best event agency and event industry team

The ARENA CS event agency owner shares her philosophy for the development of a successful business in today’s Ukraine

Yana Matviychuk: how to create the best event agency and event industry team
Yana Matviychuk is a businesswoman, TV host, and the owner of the ARENA CS event agency
ARENA CS event agency
Monday, 22 October 2018 12:32

Yana Matviychuk is a businesswoman, TV host, and the owner of the ARENA CS event agency. Yana created her multi-million business when she had only USD 300 in her pocket. More than 7,000 events have been implemented by her company over the past 14 years. Her personal mission is to help Ukrainians do business in Ukraine. Yana Matviychuk promotes this through videos on her YouTube channel “Business Arena”.

Yana asks her guests many questions in order to explore issues of business, economics and the lives of entrepreneurs. In 2018, the international magazine WOMAN featured Yana Matviychuk in the annual rating of Ukraine’s most influential women in the category "Big business and big personality".


Yana Matviychuk: ARENA CS known beyond Ukraine

The main business of Yana Matviychuk is the event agency ARENA CS, which has been operating all over Ukraine since 2004 as well as abroad in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Western Europe and Asia. Over the intervening 14 years, the company has become a real professional and expert in event management. 92.5% of customers give positive feedback about the event agency and cooperate with the company for more than four years. ARENA CS has its own material and technical base that many regard as one of the best in the market of MICE services in Ukraine. Thanks to these foundations, the organization of events is quick and efficient. ARENA CS has won dozens of different awards:

  • Winner in the "Best Conference" nomination at the national "Event Awards 2016"
  • Best company of 2016 at the national “Star of Quality” awards 
  • First place in Best Conference category at the 2015 Ukrainian Event Awards for the event: Civil Society Development Forum 2015 for ISAR Uniting
  • Second place at the Children’s Events Awards for the UNICEF Children's Day 2015 "Words Talk"
  • Company of the Year 2012 at the League of the Best
  • Winner in the national rating Eventization 2013
  • Winner in the "best scenario" nomination at the National rating Event Awards 2014
  • First place for best creative event at the 2014 Ukrainian Event Awards


Yana Matviychuk: corporate culture helps attract the best experts

The ARENA CS team has taken years to assemble and continues to improve every day. How can you gather the stars of the event market under one roof and help them realize their potential? Any company is a team or a set of teams and vice versa, a team is a company. Teams cannot take shape without coordination. They need to have a leader, motivation and direction. In business, this is the role of corporate culture, which determines the structure of the team along with the values ​​and mission of the company. This is the secret of building a star team and the secret of creating an industry leader among the events agencies of Kyiv and Ukraine.

Event agency ARENA CS conducts more than 1500 events throughout Ukraine per year and this is thanks to clearly regulated business processes. ARENA CS consists of several teams divided into sectors and types of events. At the initial stage of team selection, the focus was on values. Key values are freedom, responsibility, results and creativity. Understanding and describing these values ​​helped create an understanding of who might become a member of the team, how to motivate top managers, and how to manage corporate culture.


Values Create a Company

"Be free – act. Be responsible – systematize. Be productive – chill. Be creative – create". Like the columns of classical architecture, these values serve as the foundations of the company. Implementation is evident in all processes: in interaction with clients, in the working conditions of employees, in communication within the team. An employee may not be aware of all the values ​​of a corporate culture, but he is definitely under their direct influence.

"Be free – act." What could be better than freedom at work? Everyone wants to have freedom, but not everyone knows how to use it, because freedom implies having responsibility. ARENA CS exists without big bosses. Each member of the team enjoys freedom to act while planning their work time and making decisions. The ability to make decisions is extremely important in the event manager's work, because in this profession there are often unforeseen situations that require immediate action.

"Be responsible – systematize." For freedom, as with everything in our world, you need to pay - and not only with money. Hence, the second value of the company is "Be responsible – systematize." ARENA CS has developed a functional responsibilities map and a level of responsibility for each employee since the stakes are high including reputation, success, and the strategic goals of the event customer. You cannot make mistakes here. There is one event and it must pass perfectly.

From responsibility to "chill". As a reward for responsibility and systematic work, every event manager necessarily receives satisfaction from a job well done. What else to add? Everybody wants to enjoy the results of their work and the company does everything to make this possible.

"Be creative – create." That is not all. Event management allows you to show the creative side of your personality. The fourth pillar of the company is "Be creative – create." Creativity helps to find the most unexpected and non-standard solutions in different situations, creating new ideas for customers. Customers want to solve their own tasks and achieve their goals, which means that creativity is the key to the success of an event.


The mission of ARENA CS

Values ​​are the pillars of the company. The company mission gives direction. This mission is simple: "We develop business activity in Ukraine to be in the spotlight of the global arena." The creative event agency ARENA CS organizes events with the participation of businessmen, investors, politicians, public leaders, and guests from all over the world. Therefore, every event must at the highest possible level. A successful event is not only a guarantee of the success of the company, but of the country as a whole. An understanding of this common mission helps members of the ARENA CS team to feel completely responsible for their work and their results. This means that the entire workflow is filled with meaning.



Of course, no company can exist without a leader. The leader has to advise, direct, and demonstrate. The company introduced a system of mentoring as an alternative to the outdated style of management summed up by the idea "I'm smart - you're a fool." All employees from the first day in ARENA CS have their mentor. The functional responsibilities of the mentor include comprehensive support for the new member of the team in order to convey all the principles of work, both internal and external. Moreover, the mentoring system by its structure helps to manage the corporate culture and pass on rules by word of mouth.


From values ​​to delegation

ARENA CS has a linear communication structure, which means that the principles of delegation are present at a high level. Nevertheless, the mass outflow of Ukrainians abroad creates a huge problem in the search for professional middle managers. The main quality of any manager is the ability to delegate and work in a team. In ARENA CS, all team members are constantly taught these principles. Unfortunately, there are not enough ready specialists on the market.

At the heart of successful delegation lies mutual understanding. When passing a task to someone, it is necessary to find out whether the receiver understood. If the performer makes a mistake, the director will be guilty, because they incorrectly explained and did not make the task clear enough. The quality of delegation determines the result. The clearer the task, the easier it is to work in a team. The process of delegation simplifies the use of the CRM system.

A common goal unites the team, but the achievement of this goal consists of an entire structure of tasks and processes and the corporate culture plays a part as well. The built-in autonomy of each team member is an important element in achieving the goal.

The next important principle in organizing events is the principle of non-interference. In other words, "do not interfere in someone else's zone, but be responsible for every component of your work." If a problem appears, you must exclude chaotic solutions. A system of problem solving where people listen to each other is very helpful.

The main rule of the ARENA CS team is to trust everyone to the fullest. While working, it is necessary to be as focused as possible and to work autonomously while differentiating zones of responsibilities among team members.

The all-star team of event industry experts at ARENA CS are professional project managers, people who know how to manage, set tasks, accept and transfer responsibilities. There are 67 such people within ARENA CS!

The satisfaction of the company's employees is part of corporate culture. On the labor market, modern job seekers are interested in the comfort of working conditions and the form of interaction with colleagues and management not less than the salary level, therefore event agency ARENA CS is constantly working on the development of the HR brand of the company. Every employee is responsible for this corporate culture, but the main flagbearers in ARENA CS are company director Yana Matviychuk and HR director Snezhana Sidorchuk.

ARENA CS seeks to recruit young, active and ambitious people, but this does not mean that there are no opportunities for others. Any person who joins the company falls under the influence of its corporate culture. If these values ​​coincide with the views and behavior of the new person, then the team automatically and subconsciously welcomes this person into their ranks. A well-established system of training helps them acquire the relevant professional skills. If the values ​​of the new employee do not coincide with the company's values, then the person simply cannot cope with the tasks and work they face freely and responsibly, because they must remain under the boss's control.

The main distinguishing feature of the new generation is a complete rejection of strict control and regimented nine to five office hours working schedules. The corporate culture of the ARENA CS event agency gives freedom, which is a real motivator.


How to recruit talent and keep the team together?

The company is constantly growing and staff recruitment is taking place on a regular basis. ARENA CS is always looking for talent so interviews and qualifying rounds for new employees are regular events. Of course, talent is not always immediately available, but talented candidates are on the market.

You can find talent, but it is more difficult to introduce them into the team and retain them. To ensure that the new person is not lost within the company, ARENA CS pays much attention to the initial period. Each employee undergoes a thorough program of adaptation.

A creative event agency is not only a matter of passionate work. It is also a whole life inside the company. The corporate online group helps to involve employees in the exchange of useful information in event management, to share fresh news from the life of the team, about current events, successes and setbacks along with useful tips on how to work with clients and contractors, and so on.

At the initial stage, professional support does not end – in the event agency there is a developed continuous learning process. How do you like the weekly "creative day" where you can learn a lot from the life of the industry in Ukraine and the world?

Each employee understands their importance and effectiveness for the company through constant checkpoints. What does it mean? These are individual meetings of HR and management with each employee of the company. Such checkpoints are necessary in order to give feedback to the employee about their work, as well as to find out what concerns the employee has, what they like do not like.

Any employee needs to develop continuously. ARENA CS has its own library constantly replenished with new copies of books.

The company provides opportunities to attend professional exhibitions and study internationally because experience comes with action. The best employees have the opportunity to go abroad. This helps the company to motivate staff while expanding the horizons of employees and fostering loyalty of team members.


Be an effective leader and build an effective business

Does corporate culture affect the growth and efficiency of the business? Companies do not appear on their own. They do not become giants on the first day, week, or month of their existence. Companies grow gradually, just as a person gradually becomes an adult. The parents of companies are their founders. If the manager wants his company to reach new heights, he must work out his business processes. With clear processes, the result is chaos and the rule of employees. A company with internal informal rules (or rather lack of rules) is doomed to failure at the first crisis. Therefore, we can confidently say that corporate culture should come from the manager. It directly affects the growth and efficiency of the business. The function of the leader is also to maintain the direction of the entire team. Even a huge corporation with automated processes and regulations will eventually miss the direction of development if a leader is absent. In order to prevent this, the leader should always be far ahead, have a vision of the future. The leader must be productive and effective.


Yana Matviychuk: eight simple ways to control effectiveness: 

  1. Do what you always wanted to do.
  2. Nothing is impossible. If you think this is not the case, then immediately get down to business.
  3. Prioritize achieving the goals of your life.
  4. Use the principle of 20/80 between time spent and result achieved.
  5. Delegate to other people.
  6. Be creative and leave monotonous jobs to others.
  7. Take on the experience of successful examples from other industries.
  8. Now or never: do things that need to be done.


What should a leader be like?

The effectiveness of any manager is just half the successful path. Yana Matviychuk says that reputation is of paramount importance. Success comes through a reputation earned over many years of continuous training, flexibility, making the right decisions, responsibility, leadership development, commitment, and many other qualities. The leader simply has to be wiser and more patient.

A successful leader has to follow these four rules: 

  1. Learn to give up your egoistic demands since the leader should be a mentor and thus be able to help other people.
  2. The leader must be able to help others so that employees feel successful and significant.
  3. If necessary, use force of persuasion and flattery.
  4. The most important thing is to be consistent, not to violate the rules, to be a source of values.

Corporate culture goes together with automation of business processes that will allow your business to leap to the next level. ARENA CS could grow more than three times in the next three years after the implementation of the CRM system, which covers not only communication with customers, but also setting tasks in projects, all financial accounting for projects, marketing strategy and all communications within company teams. The CRM system is an excellent tool for building linear communication and developing a corporate culture. Centralized management is a thing of the past. The company does not have any tasks that are set orally. All processes and tasks are fixed. This makes the process of delegation easier.

The main goal of automation is to increase the efficiency and productivity of employees and the company itself. This leads to improving quality and speed of customer service.

The CRM system is a huge database of information. It is a complete history of the company. Data analysis helps to adjust the strategy of working with clients, as well as to adjust marketing tools. In a word, modern business in the sphere of organizing events cannot be imagined without a CRM system.


Yana Matviychuk: "Grow otherwise you will be an outsider"

"Each business has one common feature: it does not stand still. A business either grows or falls. In order for the owner not to hamper his business, he must continuously develop," Yana Matviychuk said in a recent interview.

Life also does not stand still, especially in the 21st century. Life moves with the speed of a passenger aircraft. Knowledge is subject to daily updates. Dozens of books are published on a daily basis and hundreds become bestsellers every year. Yana Matviychuk emphasizes the importance of continuing education and says that she managed to reread almost all the most famous and recognized books on business and continues to do so. While other people give up most of their time for recreation and entertainment, Yana decided not to waste her time and entered the Executive Master of Business Administration for a full-time form of training, which she attended for two years. It is never too late to learn.

At the same time, Business Arena – podcats about business – was launched. For Yana Matviychuk, the Business Arena is not only a project designed to realize a personal mission, but also it is an educational project. Taking 100 interviews from successful entrepreneurs is another MBA school. "Having such a busy schedule, one must be able to plan your day accurately, especially to devote some time for rest, otherwise the mission of “do everything” can become impracticable," Yana emphasizes.


Yana Matviychuk’s biography: five steps to success

It is not an easy task to create a business and make it an event organization leader for 14 years. ARENA CS is an international agency with a multimillion-dollar turnover. How did Yana Matveychuk develop the company? Below there are five steps behind this success.


At one point everything changes

Simple things and a little bit of determination can completely turn lives around. When the event agency only started its work and the company was not a strong player on the market, it was necessary to act immediately. One American organization tendered an international event in Ukraine with the participation of more than 600 delegates from around the world. At that time, the chances of success seemed to be minimal and were close to zero. Yana Matviychuk decided to take that chance and try to increase the chances of winning. She called the head office in the US, but as usually happens in such situations, no one picked up the phone. There was an answering machine, so Yana recorded her offer to organize this event. Her courage and diligence were not in vain and the result was victory in the tender. Later it turned out that Yana Matviychuk’s ARENA CS was the only company with such a desire to work that they called to the central office with a clear and understandable offer. The offer was tempting, notably fixed prices for the next 2 years, a guarantee of meeting all obligations, 24/7 service, and costs calculated to the smallest details.


Organization of events: consistency is important

Organization of a huge international event with delegates from 139 countries is a big challenge. However, dreams provide inspiration and dreams can come true! For Yana Matviychuk, the dream was to take a break after two years of hard work and go to the Seychelles to spend a few months relaxing. The thought of fulfilling her dream helped her to wake up early in the morning, gave energy to go forward, and helped her refuse to give up.


Yana Matviychuk and her effective company

ARENA CS organizes events on various scales. The agency is growing year by year, but for the first few years, it was difficult to include the company on a list of Ukraine’s leading event agencies. In order to break into the leader group, something needed to be done. An obvious factor slowing down growth was low efficiency. The question was how to build an effective company?

How many employees does a company really need to be successful? Does it need dozens or will two or three be enough? Do you need a large office or can you get away with a couple of desks? Will expensive advertising or guerrilla methods be effective? What else can you do to improve the efficiency of the company? "Due to a lack of starting capital it was necessary to be effective, which eventually led to success!" Yana Matviychuk says.

One of the best decisions in achieving efficiency was the introduction of business process automation. The CRM system brought results and led to the doubling of the company in the first year.

Event agency, event organization, conference service: these are business ideas with minimal investment requirements. At least it seems so at first glance. In fact, this is not the case. In order to build an effective and successful business in this direction, it is necessary to have significant capital and experienced management in order to introduce innovations within the company.


Event company without employees

The growth of the company thanks to the introduction of business process automation caused resistance within the team. The number and amount of orders increased, but the efficiency of work did not increase. The fact is that employees with extensive experience in ARENA CS simply wanted to receive a salary for their long service. When things seem to be going well, not everyone wants to grow along with the company, because this requires special motivation. There was no time to search for motivation – the agency got dozens of contracts and it was necessary to work hard! In such a complex and paradoxical situation, a complicated decision was made. As a result, 19 out of 25 employees were dismissed. At some point, there were six people left in a team along with several event management contracts. But the paradox was that this decision led to the successful future growth and efficiency of the company.


New team: how to prevent old mistakes

In a company with linear management and communication, a highly qualified team of managers is an important aspect of the work. As was already mentioned at the beginning of the article, a strong team can be built with the help of a corporate culture. Yana Matviychuk, as the head of ARENA CS, managed to build a strong system of HR processes for finding and hiring employees. As a result, the hiring process takes place with the use of innovations in HR. Personnel management is built on five important points: 

  1. Status – position within the company.
  2. Justice towards all employees and rewards for successful performance.
  3. Definition of duties.
  4. Autonomy – ability to make decisions and be responsible for them.
  5. Clarity – an understandable system of work with other team members.


Innovations in event management

ARENA CS confidently takes a leading position among event agencies of Kyiv. In order to remain a leader, it is not enough just to be a good organizer of events and a creative agency. The ability to make innovations today determines the role of leadership. The leaders of ARENA CS continuously monitor all world trends and innovations while introducing them into event management.

Digital technologies quickly came into the life of every person. They continue to attract more of our attention. We cannot imagine the future world without information technology.

Mobile applications play an increasingly active role in the organization of events, which in turn reflect on the effectiveness of the event manager, the quality of the event itself, and the convenience for participants. Managers at ARENA CS advise clients to use mobile applications for events. Right now, we are talking about applications that perform the standard functions of the organizers: providing a program of events, signaling the beginning of the session, information about speakers, learning all about navigation, building your network, scheduling meetings, conducting online surveys, receiving feedback on the results of the event. Despite all the benefits of mobile applications, they do not have a personal approach. A new trend has appeared on the world scene of the event industry – chat bots.

Chat bots are suitable for integration into messengers, social networks, and SMS messages in any convenient way for the participant. Chat bots are designed according to an algorithm that allows bots to learn and conduct a dialogue with participants in their language and respond to individual requests. Users who have conversations with such bots do not always understand whether it is a real person or a bot.

The chat bot can respond in different languages, talk about speakers, surrounding exhibits, provide access to Wi-Fi connection, help with parking, broadcast the event in real time and perform other individual functions. The user does not need to install a chat bot on a mobile device, they do not discharge the battery, do not need the authorization of the user, work without passwords and other additional actions.

On the other hand, the organizers have the opportunity to get statistics on the number of appeals and specific questions that the participants were interested in while learning what problems arose during the event. All this is useful information, which is necessary for improvements to the service and quality of the organization and holding of any event.


How to follow all innovations?

The modern world continues its development exponentially. Every day it becomes increasingly difficult to capture all the technological changes and transformations introduced in business. As already mentioned above, in order to become and remain an industry leader, it is necessary to be able to promote and implement innovations. Yana Matviychuk, as an entrepreneur and business owner, continuously monitors innovations in many areas and not only in the sphere of event organization. The introduction of successful practices from other areas can give new impetus to the development of the company from a completely unexpected side.

To keep up to date, Yana Matviychuk tracks the following business areas where changes occur:

- Approaches to creating a network of contacts

- Business model – how a business generates income

- Asset systematization

- Company product features and functionality

- Organization of work

- The creation of products that complement each other

- Customer service

- Promotion channels

- Customer involvement and interaction


Social responsibility issues: Business Arena with Yana Matviychuk - why not take 100 interviews?

In the Business Arena program, Yana Matviychuk realizes her mission to help Ukrainians open and develop their business in Ukraine through a detailed review of successful businesses.

In late 2013, Yana Matviychuk set herself a new goal, to record 100 podcasts on the creation and development of successful profitable businesses from scratch in Ukraine. As a result, by 2018 Yana Matviychuk’s Business Arena had become a Ukrainian brand on YouTube about business development.

Everyone who is looking for answers to the question of how to start a business in Ukraine will come across the Business Arena channel. Creating a small business in Ukraine is the main goal of the Business Arena project. The mission of the project is to motivate Ukrainians to open their business in Ukraine. Via this channel, you can find answers to various questions such as how to start a business, what business ideas are viable, business ideas with minimal investments, how to establish business processes, and which business books to read. Through these videos, Yana Matviychuk shows that the situation in the country is far from the best, but this does not mean that you cannot achieve anything.

As a result, over the past four years the goal was achieved. Among the famous guests of Business Arena you can find Evgeny Chichvarkin, Andrei Zdesnenko, the founder of Nova Posta Vladimir Popereushnyuk, Dmitry Potapenko, Mikhail Kukhar, Gennady Balashov, Andrei Palchevsky, Dmitry Borisov, Sasha Dergousova, Alla Klimenko, Andrei Klimenko, Kirill Kunitsky, Elizaveta Yurushev and many others.

Business Arena is about business people and the projects that have challenged accepted wisdom and achieved great results. Those featured are open-minded people. They gladly share their secrets on how to start a business from scratch, explain business ideas, and offer advice on useful business books.

A new feature called Breaking News Ukraine, which Yana Matviychuk hosts along with Russian businessman Dmitry Potapenko and economist Eric Naiman, was launched in March 2018 on the Business Arena channel. This feature discusses business and economic news from Ukraine. It continues to grow and has more than 70,000 subscribers.


Developing small and medium-sized businesses in Ukraine

Business Arena is a public project. It does not bring profit. More than 400 people started their business due to Business Arena activity. Councils of entrepreneurs are an invaluable opportunity to learn new and actual business trends, but this social contribution of Yana Matviychuk does not end here. In 2016, Business Arena, in partnership with the Ukrainian Women's Fund, began the implementation of a grant project to help victims of the military conflict from seven regions of Ukraine.

The goal of the project is to help people affected by the conflict to run small businesses, and to facilitate the employment of internally displaced persons (IDPs), demobilized soldiers and members of host communities, including women and people with disabilities (LIDs).

Project figures:

  • 2 years of support.
  • 121 business project supported
  • UAH 8,330,000 total support
  • all initiators of business projects have completed the program under the guidance of business coaches
  • more than 800 people have completed the business course for beginners

It is necessary to remember one aspect of life in our reality: at first, there was nothing, but today there is everything. Business is a part of life. If you truly want something and have the intention to achieve it, in the beginning there will be nothing. We need to go through the stage from nothing to the result, to have the patience to endure it. Yana Matviychuk can confidently confirm it: "How to make USD 10,000,000 out of USD 300? Work hard!"

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