You may not know the name Oksana Shadrina yet but hers is one that should be on your radar, not just for her business acumen but for her volunteer work, her creativity and her ability to balance her achievements so well with her growing family.
Originally from Ukraine, Oksana achieved academic success at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, the leading contemporary academic hub of Ukraine with a distinct research profile. Following her graduation, she became a corporate recruiter and business trainer, shortly reaching the top of her field as a Human Resources Manager and Trainer for Vodafone.
“The Russian Invasion of my homeland made life difficult for everyone in Ukraine. I left Vodafone and Ukraine and started to work in our family business here in Ireland.”
Oksana and her husband, Miceál O’Hurley, built and developed their business, Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour, and a fantastic business enterprise it is! Multiple food critics, newspapers and magazines named their business venture one of Ireland’s best ice-cream parlours and even One of Ireland’s Four Great Ice Cream Parlours. The duo and their business have previously won Food Awards Ireland 2017 and were just named a finalist in Irish Cafe Awards!
Posted by Fantastic Flavours on Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Just last year, Oksana and Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour, of which she is the co-owner and proprietor, were selected to represent both Ireland and the US at the launch of the Inaugural Transatlantic Flight between Cork Airport and the US. This made Oksana and her business Tourism Ambassadors and so it is no surprise that she has since gained an Executive Producer credit on an ABC Television Network show.
“I have just finished some fun and creative work, developing and serving as Executive Producer for a television series, People & Perspectives, which will premier shortly on the ABC Television Network in the USA. It’s a human interest show to help promote Ireland by letting its people tell their personal and business stories.”
With an ever-expanding award display and trophy case – including US Congressional Recognition – Oksana has established herself as a skilled businesswoman and restaurateur, having brought much of her skills gained and exercised at Vodafone with her.
“I worked for many years in customer service – first in front line and then as a business trainer and HR manager. Seeing service from different angles helps me stay customer-focused.
“In 2015, the call centre where I was a Trainer and HR manager received the Best in Service Award – first in Europe and then in the world!
“The same corporate skills I learned in a Fortune 500 company I brought Fantastic Flavours. My husband is my business partner and we divide our responsibilities. I lead customer service, helping us create the best customer experience, every minute, with every customer. Leadership also means paying attention even to smallest details and that is part of our core ethic.”
Aside from running a successful business, Oksana makes time to provide training for Ukrainians and Russian-Ukrainians that were forced to flee due to violence and combat. She makes it her mission to assist in their transition and resettlement here in Ireland, knowing how difficult it can be to be forced from your home.
If you watch the World Cup in Russia, consider another June not so long ago… This is the family of the Kostiantyn Mogilko. He was a Pilot. His plane was shot down by a Russian missile in June 2014 during the illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea in Eastern Ukraine. He, his crew and all the paratroopers on board died. His son never had a father to teach him soccer — because of Putin and his Russia. Putin is using these games to legitimise Russia in the way Hitler used the Olympics. More than 10,000 Ukrainians are dead because Russia is the only European country since WWII to invade another. The UN has proof of summary executions without trial. Russia transported Ukrainians from their native soil and have imprisoned them in Russia with sham ‘trials’ in violation of International Law. Russia shot down a civilian airliner killing all aboard – children, women and men. Ask yourself — is watching games hosted by such a regime worth helping Putin? Remember who we are dealing with — murderers bent on domination — not international and humanitarian norms. Turn off the games — don’t enjoy them knowing the price has been the lives and liberty of over 10,000 souls.
“Ireland and Ukraine have many similarities. We lost millions through starvation in Holodomor and the Irish in An Gorta Mór and it shaped our national psyches. We are both agricultural economies and emerging into the high tech sector.
“Faith is important to both of our people and we both value family. And, having struggled under hundreds of years of occupation, we both love freedom. So, it was easier to adjust than imagined, largely because of the constant support of my husband.
“Having gained our independence, which Russia recognised, only to have them invade and occupy part of my country, is heart breaking. Until they leave, we must endure. I was both honoured and proud to help to make resettlement for some refugees and displaced persons a little bit easier.
“My corporate background, skills and being fluent in both Ukrainian and Russian helped me relate to them, build trust and assist with their readjustment.
“Trainings helped them to be more competitive in job searches. Some participants opened their own businesses and started life anew, which was a source of great pride!”
Oksana met Miceál, her now husband, in Kyiv. They began dating, with Oksana visiting Ireland and falling in love with it as much as she had with Miceál. “We married in Waterford and made our life and business in Youghal, which we love!” She and Miceál are now the devoted parents to Bláithnaid Saoirse O’Hurley-Pitts.
In her spare time, Oksana is a sponsor of several youth sport teams and is a charitable donor to several organisations, including the Red Cross, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ukrainian American Veterans, Catholic charities, and more. But how does this Wonder Woman do it all?
“I love my family and our business. I lead our charitable and volunteer works, which is important to us both. We volunteered at a soup kitchen on Christmas day. We donated a complete kit-out for a RNLI volunteer on Youghal Lifeboat. We support local arts, charities, clubs and athletics. Far from exhausting me, it gives me a lot of inspiration and energy.
“With a new baby coming, we will see if there is any balance after the new addition!”
And what’s next for this charitable activist, businesswoman, wife and mother? Right now, she and Miceál are working on expanding Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour by franchising it.
“I’m also donating and working with a humanitarian charity in Ukraine to help civilians and soldiers wounded in combat to get critical medical care. We even contacted Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who invited us backstage when he played in Dublin in August!” Brian autographed a number of surfboards to then be auctioned off in aid of Youghal Lifeboats.
“Continuing to be creative in supporting Youghal, building our business, keeping up my volunteer work and growing our family may prove as much perspiration as inspiration!”
We’re sure Oksana has many ventures and achievements ahead of her yet. Watch this space!
Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour
74 North Main Street, Youghal, Cork
086 107 0017