Hello, I am Monika.
With more than 15 years of experience, I help leaders define and successfully pursue their professional goals by breaking through their barriers and taking bold, new steps.
Through cycling challenges, I want to show what it takes to achieve great goals.
In 2018, I was the first woman to ride the Vuelta a España on the same day as the male pros, just a few hours earlier. Many thought it was impossible.
In September 2022, I cycled all 124 Swiss passes in 26 days, which required courage, leadership, concentration and sustained motivation. A film documentary has captured the story and will be released in May 2023.
I am honored to share the experiences and lessons learned from these cycling records as a speaker with my audience.
My book, What It Takes to Make Dreams Come True, tells my story about a seemingly perfect career path after working for the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and IBM, but it didn't make me happy. A scary and courageous change in my life ignited my inner fire.
Originally from Germany, I have lived in the USA, Australia and Spain and now live in Bern, Switzerland.
- Born in Germany
- After graduating from high school with a volleyball scholarship to the USA
- Studied security studies with a focus on nuclear weapons at Georgetown University.
- Worked for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
- Professional cyclist in Germany
- Master in Sports in Minnesota, USA
- Became a management consultant with IBM in Switzerland and Australia
- Midlife Crisis at 30 - Moved to Malaga, Spain by bike to find my life purpose
- Set a seemingly impossible cycling record
- Moved to Switzerland
- Now work as a mindset coach, keynote speaker and author
- Set a second cycling record in 2022
This is the longer version....
Originally from Germany, I moved to the U.S. after graduating from high school to play volleyball for a university team. Since I must have watched too much James Bond, my dream job was to become a secret agent, so I studied nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. But I realized during my studies that the reality was a little different than in the movies. So after I graduated, I started my career at the International Monetary Fund and then at the World Bank.
When I worked for the World Bank, a friend gave me a road bike and said I would like it. At first I thought that road cycling could not be any fun, but when I got dropped after 5 km on my first group ride, I decided I couldn't leave the sport like that.
So week after week I came to this very group ride and after 1.5 years I had the opportunity to race professionally in Germany.
My friends and family tried to convince me not to pursue a pro cycling career but a tax-free career with the World Bank, as this sounded more feasible and financially stable. Still, my heart told me to go for it.
So, contrary to what others thought, I moved back to Germany and gave professional cycling a try.
For three months. Then I realized that it wasn't for me.
I felt like I had failed when I turned down a career at the World Bank to become a professional cyclist, only to realize that this was not what I wanted either.
But I knew that sports was my passion, so I decided to study sports.
I moved back to the U.S. and studied kinesiology at the University of Minnesota with the big goal of finding my dream job in sports.
But I just couldn't find that dream job.
With the urge of my family and friends to finally get back on the "real" career track and no other option at hand, I applied everywhere and became a management consultant at IBM in Switzerland and later in Australia.
But that just wasn't my world. I no longer had any passion for my work and lost my energy for life.
Then, at 30, I was sitting unemployed in the Botanic Garden in Melbourne Australia deep in a midlife crisis. What am I doing with my life? Was this really it now? I felt no fire for what I was doing - no passion or purpose. With at least 35 years of work ahead of me, I didn't want to keep doing what I was doing. I needed to make a change. So my goal became to find my purpose.
I looked at a map of the world and decided that Spain would be a good place to start to find that destination.
I bought a one-way ticket and took my bike and a small bag and moved to Malaga, Spain. I didn't speak a word of Spanish, didn't know anyone and had never been there. Only one hotel stay and a six-week car rental were planned and the search for my life's purpose.
While I was searching for my own destiny, I met many people who felt the same way. But fear of the unknown kept them from finding their purpose.
My mission was born: To inspire and empower others, especially women, to step out of their comfort zone and have the courage to reach their full potential.
To put my own words into action, I decided to set a seemingly impossible cycling record to show what it means to set, pursue and achieve a great goal. Moreover, also what it means to take the risk to fail, what it means to go against the opinion of others and break barriers that seemed untouched before.
80% of the people told me it was impossible. But I did it anyway and wrote a book with the whole story.
Since then, I have been coaching motivated leaders to achieve their professional goals - whether it be advancing in their current position, searching for a new meaningful professional goal, or developing into a purposeful leader.
In 2022 I challenged myself again by riding all 124 Swiss passes in 26 days. That was 1389 km and over 56000 meters of altitude.