Olena Makarenko

Partner, Consulting, Head of Forensic, Sustainability and ESG, Head of Impact Committee, KPMG Insight Academy Leader

KPMG in Ukraine

With 17 years of experience in leadership and a personal mission of empowerment and improvement, Olena Makarenko’s experience in risk consulting and ESG has given her a professional insight into how dedication to improving gender equality, tackling decarbonization, and enhancing the rule of law can enable everyone to work together, for better.

Gender Equality

Beyond the boardroom, Olena Makarenko understands that her role as a leader makes her influential on a personal level. Feeling she had a duty to share women’s experiences of leadership; Olena has dedicated herself to revealing the value in the unseen and underappreciated stories of different paths to success. To this end, in 2021 Olena started KPMG in Ukraine’s flagship inclusion, diversity, and equity project: “Breaking Glass Ceilings”.

As Breaking Glass Ceilings entered its second season in 2023, Olena built on this momentum to become a member of Women on Boards Ukraine: a not-for-profit organization that shares her goal of empowering women in leadership roles and seeks gender equality by promoting the presence of more women in corporate boardrooms. A natural fit with Olena’s agenda of amplifying the voices of women in business, this appointment affirmed her conviction that, as she put it, “women in management play an outstanding role in the process of transformation and building a strong, resilient and trustworthy country and business community.”


This passion for equality is matched by Olena’s hard-working dedication to promoting environmental measures like decarbonization initiatives, where she seeks to use her position to help implement global best practices and unlock Ukrainian innovation in the face of a challenging environment.

Olena’s involvement in environmental initiatives has included close pariticipation in analysing and implementing the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA, in Ukraine. The first global market-based emissions reduction measure in any sector, CORSIA is significant undertaking and Ukraine’s inclusion as one of the first signatories to the pilot phase in 2021 demonstrates its maturity as a future-minded nation and its serious approach to combatting environmental issues.

Through her decarbonization work and as a natural progression from the innovations developed via CORSIA, Olena has successfully managed projects calculating the carbon footprint of international conferences held in Ukraine. In providing proposals for emissions offsetting Olena incorporated insight she developed through her collaborative work with experts on multiple projects, enabling her to deliver local solutions for problems with worldwide implications.

In recognition of this effort to effectively realise the carbon offsetting potential of Ukraine’s different economic sectors, Olena’s efforts were shortlisted in the “Planet” category of the V Partnership for Sustainable Development 2023, a competition run by the United Nations Global Compact.

Effective Governance and Integrity

Unifying her overall goal to improve Ukraine’s international standing through ESG objectives, Olena has also worked hard to develop and implement anti-corruption systems and anti-fraud controls in Ukraine. In doing so, Olena has tried to present a bold and forward-facing country to the world, one where entrepreneurship and innovation can thrive. In order to achieve this goal means making a practical difference, and Olena is doing so through her day-to-day work in anti-corruption compliance reviews, through financial investigations, and her analysis and optimization of and internal control systems.

This work to improve business processes and enhance anti-corruption measures also entails a willingness to call out bad actors and hold a candid mirror up to faults in the local business environment. Olena has done just that by standing with regulatory and law enforcement authorities and taking on projects to identify parties with reputational risks, and involvement in illegal and ethically questionable activities. In doing so, Olena helps clients to navigate a complex business environment and promotes global engagements with reliable local and regional companies, contributing to Ukraine’s improving reputation as a modern, business-friendly country.

Olena shares this extensive expertise, developed through over nearly two decades of work in a dynamic field, by serving as a member of the Executive Committee at the Ukrainian Network of Integrity and Compliance, or UNIC. An initiative to foster transparency and promote doing business in Ukraine ethically and responsibly, the UNIC provides a platform and a community for like-minded professionals. In this way, Olena is proud to contribute her experience and make no secret of her dedication to making integrity and compliance the norm for Ukrainian businesses.