When people ask me what I do outside of work, I tell them that I swim, cycle or run - either individually or, quite often, consecutively. In 2022 I qualified for and raced the “Ironman 70.3” World Championships in Utah, a triathlon race consisting of a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run. This year I will represent Team Great Britain in the same distance. Here's the story about how I got there.

Svenya passing through World Championships Finish Line.

My journey to a career at Amazon's Transportation Services

I was born and raised in Germany, but moved to Scotland for my postgraduate studies. Although I enjoyed my time in rural Scotland, I saw myself living in a metropolitan city and so kick-started my career at Boston Consulting Group in London. My journey at Amazon Transportation services began in June 2021. Here, I lead a team that supports over 115 Amazon warehouses by planning out their overall space capacity. This helps ensure that each warehouse has the resources to deliver large volumes of packages across EU and UK.

What I love the most about my job is working collaboratively on solving challenges and supporting and mentoring my colleagues and team members in achieving their goals. I truly believe that Amazon is a great place if you want to take on ownership very early on and I can highly recommend it to anyone who seeks that as an opportunity. Another skill you can really develop at Amazon is stakeholder management given the size and complexity of the business and the leadership principle “have backbone, disagree and commit”.

What work-life balance really entails

When people ask me about how I manage to keep up a work-life balance, I have this to say: it takes careful planning! Balancing a job with demanding training for Ironman competitions is all about keeping a tight schedule. I slot key training sessions into my diary in advance and I am flexible when work comes in the way. What I learned is that balancing your mental battery is similar to your phone battery. In the morning it's at 100% after you charged it and gets empty towards the evening the more it was used during the day. So that means that if I have a hectic day, it’s important to accept that my battery is emptier than usual and it can be more challenging to perform on these evenings.

Swimming in the open waters.

A passion to share the triathlon fever

My passion for triathlon doesn't stop there. My boyfriend and I have founded our own coaching business called Team Chronos Coaching, aimed at time-poor professionals who set themselves challenging endurance goals. People come to us and receive support to slot training around time constraints - even if it means taking advantage of a quick 20-minute lunch break or working around a lack of access to a pool. We advocate a holistic approach which doesn’t only consider training but equally emphasises sleep, nutrition, hydration, and time with family and friends as a balance to work and training.

Crossing Ironman World Championship Finish Line.
Crossing the finish line at Ironman in 2022.

Participating in such demanding races has taught me that no goal is too far as long as you are determined to reach it and work hard to get there with patience and determination. In 2021, I planned my goals for 2022 and didn’t think it would be possible to qualify for the World Championship. When I was lining up at the start line I recalled that memory and was truly amazed how far we can come in life.

Learn more about other inspiring female leaders at Amazon.