Integritates Stories: Tetiana Poudel

Updated: Feb 1

We are launching our Project “Story Sharing” with the first story about our CEO – Tetiana Poudel. Tetiana will tell about what inspired her to launch Intergritates and her personal story of integration with herself.

  • Tetiana Poudel, CEO & Founder, Integritates, Inc.

  • Home country: Ukraine

  • Adopted country: Germany & United States

  • Professional bio: Lawyer, studied at HU Berlin (J.D.) & UC Berkeley (LL.M.); worked at multiple major tech companies in Silicon Valley

What is Integritates and what inspired you to launch it?

We founded Integritates to build a community of immigrant women and support them in leading wholesome lives. Being an immigrant woman can be very challenging – building a new life from scratch in a different country, with a new language, culture, social environment, immigration system, etc. Many immigrant women struggle with identity issues such as: “Where do I belong, my home country or my adopted country? What does it mean when I’m the only immigrant woman at the table (e.g. in a board meeting, as an associate in a big law firm, at a dinner table with my partner’s friends)? How much extra effort do I have to put in order to make it?” Often it can feel extremely lonely and painful, especially when it feels like it must be a choice between identities, countries, families.

As the founders of Integritates, our intention is to show our community that it is possible to have it all – a wholesome, integrated life full of opportunities and connection.And when we say “integrated” we don’t mean integrated into one society or the other. We mean integrated into yourself: all the beautiful parts of you, all the amazing accents, cultures, friends and families – being whole. It’s not just about your career. It’s about your inner world. And that is actually what “integritates” means in Latin – “wholesome” and “complete.”

What is the “Story Sharing” project about and what other initiatives are you working on?

We believe that each immigration story is unique and important. Everyone has their own path to a wholesome life and their story deserves to be shared so that others may hear and learn from it. The “Story Sharing” project will share stories of immigrant women across the globe and empower them to share their struggles, learning, and wisdom with the world. We will create a safe space for women to discuss what’s coming up for them and support each other as we are going through our immigration and integration journey. It is our intention to create a movie or a book based on these powerful stories once our community has grown! Other projects for newcomers on our agenda include:

  • Mentorship and coaching programs

  • Personal development trainings

  • Virtual coffee chats

  • Networking

  • Podcasts

The possibilities are limitless and we invite everybody to join and share their ideas and contributions! It will be super fun, exciting, challenging, and supportive.

Tell us about your personal immigration journey. What challenges did you face and what are your personal learnings?

Part 1: Heritage

I grew up in Ukraine in the early years of its independence and transformation from a post-Soviet Union country into a modern European democratic state. As the daughter of a journalist, I developed passion for democratic principles such as human rights, rule of law, and freedom of speech. I participated in two pro-democratic revolutions in Ukraine—in 2004 and 2013—standing for the kind of Ukraine I cherished. At the same time, I was curious about the world, other languages, and different cultures. From a young age, I wanted to experience living abroad. I knew deep down that I wanted to study law and learn about the rule of law from exemplar democracies such as Germany and the United States.

That’s how my immigration journey began, brimming with excitement and clarity of vision. Somewhere along the way, however, I started feeling lost. Having lived away from Ukraine for many years, it felt like I had abandoned my home country. I faced challenges in my adopted countries, Germany and the United States–it felt as if I didn’t belong anywhere. My identity was fragmented. I felt compelled to “choose” between different parts of my identity. Was I Ukrainian, German, American, or was I none of these? I spoke many different languages, but somehow developed an accent in all of them (even in my native language, Ukrainian).

It seemed wherever I went, it never quite felt like home. There was a constant: I always dearly missed my family. Each time I left home and went back to the United States, walking away from my family in the airport shattered my heart and brought me to tears. This stabbing pain made me question my decision to leave.

Part 2: Career

My legal career goal was to experience practicing corporate law at a top Silicon Valley law firm. While many American law graduates of top law schools (including that of UC Berkeley, where I pursued my LL.M. degree) routinely got into these firms, foreign lawyers face steep obstacles getting in. However, I was determined to become the best lawyer I could be. I started at the bottom following my graduation from UC Berkeley, an intern at a small law firm, and climbed a difficult and often heart-wrenching career ladder to finally become a law firm associate at an iconic Silicon Valley law firm.

At the law firm, I worked alongside some of the best lawyers in the world on massive business deals, IPOs, mergers, and venture capital financings. This incredible learning opportunity was everything I had dreamt of for years. However, as time went on, I started to lose touch with my international roots. I wanted a full American work experience. I got that. However, it also meant that in my day-to-day interactions, I did not get to speak to other

international lawyers like myself. As a result, I started forgetting most of the languages that I had so enthusiastically learned over the years. I found myself working all of the time (even on weekends) and having no time for myself and the things I loved doing. It felt like I had achieved my ultimate goal of becoming a corporate lawyer in the United States, but at what cost? I had sacrificed my personal life and lost touch with why I wanted to be a lawyer in the first place.

It was time to make a shift. In support of the vision that I have for my life, I left the corporate law firm and started working in the tech industry—as a lawyer. It has been a welcome opportunity to bring my full immigrant and international self to work and use all of my skills and languages. The work is meaningful and impactful. I love supporting others in spreading joy and creative energy to this world through creative means of expression, and I love having space for a life outside of work. This decision to change careers was scary, but it created a dramatic improvement in my quality of life and helped me refocus on what really matters to me and the world around me.

Image: book cover of “Tetiana's Adventures In Wonderlaw (Quizmaster Point of Law Uniform Bar Examination Multistate Bar Review Exam)” written by Dr. Eric Allen Engle and presented to Tetiana as a sign of his “admiration of her steadfast commitment to justice and her faith in the rule of law” and to help prepare for the NY and CA bar exams

Part 3: Takeaways and reflection

As I look back on my journey, it took a lot of time, painful experiences, and meditation to create inner peace and realize that all of my experiences, languages, and cultures are me. I have my own Tetiana accent and language, and it is wonderful! I am a world citizen (Ukrainian AND German AND American). I am wholesome and complete, and I want to inspire and support others to create the same feeling in their lives.

We all have our different journeys. Our pathways are as diverse as where we come from, what we look like, and how we sound. There is so much to cherish in us—immigrant women who are lost, who are finding a way, and who are ready to give back and lead the way for others.

I am committed to creating a community of powerful immigrant women. To start off, I’ll be one of many mentors, and I welcome any woman who is interested in my mentorship to reach out to me directly.

Want to become part of our community, share your story, become a mentee or mentor?

Contact us at

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