Svea Becker knows all about starting over. A passionate runner, finding her dream job turned out to be more of a marathon than a sprint. After 17 years as an assistant, Svea Becker took her career in a totally different direction. Now she is an SAP Community advocate managing the social network for SAP professionals.
Svea first trained as a business administrator. She then began a university degree – only to abandon her studies to try her hand as a tourist resort entertainer instead. That ended when she and her partner relocated from northern Germany to Heidelberg in the south, where, as a certified fitness instructor, she began teaching exercise classes.
After a while, it was time for something new once again, and Svea joined SAP in Walldorf where she worked as a team and management assistant for 17 years. Being a great organizer, Svea loved supporting her team and manager so they could focus on their main priorities. It was a role that suited her at the time. With a young family to bring up, her experience and routine at work helped her balance work and family life.
For 17 years, she was also the team’s chief problem-solver. “Whenever someone wants to know how to do something, they ask the team assistant,” she says. She moved departments several times, switching between being a management assistant and a personal assistant. Until, at some point, it no longer felt right. Svea longed for a new perspective.
Video produced by Natalie Hauck and Alexander Januschke
Jumping Over Career Hurdles
When a chance to do something new came along, she jumped at it. At the time, she was working as a team assistant for SAP Community, an online network connecting three million people who work with SAP – customers, partners, and employees. One of the managers there offered her a job as an SAP Community advocate.
SAP Community advocates moderate discussions, share content, encourage community members to share ideas, onboard new members, and much more. Advocates need to be communications experts, but they do not have to be technology specialists.
For the first time in her career, Svea was planning and devising projects all on her own. She found herself on a steep learning curve. “At first I felt out of my depth, I simply didn’t know how to go about it,” she says. “Learning to work autonomously was the biggest hurdle. Now it’s what I love most about the job.”
The next hurdle was holding presentations in her second language, English. When it comes to sport, Svea never turns down a challenge. But speaking a foreign language in front of an audience was the one thing that would make her nervous: “On the outside, I’d appear to be totally at ease. So I’d tell myself that no one could see that my heart was pounding.”
Today, Svea is just as confident when presenting in English. “I never completed my studies, but I have seized every opportunity, worked hard, and faced up to every challenge. What I’m most proud of is the fact that I’m now in a senior role,” she says.
Finding Your Passion
Assistants, especially management assistants, often must follow their manager’s schedule. The role is still predominantly female, with U.S. statistics showing that 95.4% of assistants are women.
The job as an SAP Community advocate offers Svea greater independence and the flexibility to set her own schedule, which, alongside being able to work from home, is a big help when it comes to juggling family and career.
During the pandemic, Svea discovered something else that helps her deal with everyday life: “Meditation helps me stay focused and calm, given the challenges of homeschooling and home office, and it lets me reflect on the day.” It is now part of her daily routine. She is also active in SAP’s mindfulness program as an SAP mindfulness ambassador and offers meditation classes.
Svea advises younger people starting out on their careers to find their passion. “Maybe that’s why I changed jobs so often – I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do,” she says. “But now I am. I love working for SAP Community because I’m in contact with so many people all over the world, and I really enjoy that.”
Svea has gotten to where she wanted to be.
SAP Women in Technology
“As a woman working for SAP, you are a ‘woman in tech,’ regardless of what you have studied or graduated in,” says Christine Regitz, head of the company’s global initiative, SAP Women in Tech. The new Women in Tech series covers the successes and opportunities woman have had and the clichés and challenges they’ve encountered. Some entered the IT industry after studying computer science, others via very different routes. Let their stories inspire you!