This #OutofOffice monthly series highlights many of our
Today we're featuring Annamaria Gazda from
Hungary. By day, she is
We caught up with
Annamaria to hear all about her passion for swimming and how she combines the
skills she’s learned in the pool with her career at
When did your love of swimming begin?
My parents enrolled me in swimming lessons at the age of five, because I was terrified of water! What started as a way to counter my screaming at the pool-side turned into a life-long love of the sport.
After high school, I was offered the opportunity to study in
the US via a swimming scholarship at the North Carolina State University, so I
packed my bags! Being an athlete in the US was an amazing experience and really
boosted my swimming career. I was exposed to a different culture which was very
rewarding, on a personal and a competitive level. Following my bachelors degree,
I completed my masters studies in international business at the Georgia Institute
of Technology in Atlanta – just across the
Talk us through some of your top swimming achievements to date.
my bachelor studies from 2000 – 2004 I was swimming for the university team, where
I won several titles, which was a great experience. Once completing my master’s
studies in Atlanta, I started playing water polo, which was a lot of fun. In
2008, when I moved back to Hungary I needed a new challenge, so I set my sights
on the 2009 Hungarian Masters National Championships. At this competition I won
medals and set five Hungarian national records, qualifying for the
2010 Masters World Championships. This
event really motivated me to compete seriously again.
Since then, I have competed at the 2010 and the 2012 Masters Swimming World Championships. In 2010, which was in Sweden, I won two gold medals (100m and 200m backstroke) and placed 4th in two other events; while in 2012, in Italy, I placed fifth, sixth and ninth.
As I had 2 World Championships behind me, I knew that ‘only’ an Olympics is missing from my list of competitions. Italy was hosting the 2013 Masters Olympics, which I decided to train for. The training was full with challenges and obstacles, but I am happy to say that it was all worth it: the Masters Olympics proved to be the highlight of my swimming career. After winning my first gold medal, I did not think I could get any happier than that. Well, I was wrong… I end up winning all events I entered in, so I returned home with 5 gold medals.
Tell us about your role at Coke.
after I completed my post-graduate degree in 2007 I started working for
How do you strike a balance between your work for Coke and swimming?
When I am home, an average day for me begins at 4:45. I head straight for the pool doing laps until 7:30 and am at my desk by 8:30. Being physically active first thing in the morning gives me a lot of energy for my working day.
Since I am traveling with the FIFA World Cup Trophy it is quite challenging to find the time and a big enough swimming pool to swim in. However, I am making a very conscious effort to stay physically active and even if I cannot swim on a daily basis, I do work out very regularly.
Being an athlete has definitely helped me at work. It has taught me how to be organized and goal-oriented. I’ve learned early on how to manage my time, to set challenging yet achievable goals and work very hard to reach those… and to dream big, because nothing is sweeter then to fulfill those dreams.
As far as work-life balance goes my family would say I need to work on it! It’s sometimes hard to drag me away from my desk, or out of the pool!
What does Live Positively mean to you?
Optimism, positivity and lots of energy! I think I put Live Positively into action by taking care of myself physically and mentally. Feeling fit and having a balanced, active lifestyle are important parts of this.
I think it also means giving this positive energy back to the community and the people close to you. My current role is all about this and I am the happiest I’ve ever been. We are truly making a difference everywhere we take the FIFA World Cup Trophy and we bring people together to see and celebrate football’s most desired prize. It is amazing to experience how the power of football unites people around the world.
Did you catch any of the latest global sporting events?
2012 was a huge year for Europe, as both Olympics and EURO were hosted that summer. I had a chance to see two football games: one in Poland and one in Ukraine which were absolutely fantastic. It was amazing to be a part of it via Powerade and see the execution up close.
As for London 2012, my brother surprised me with tickets to the first day of swimming competitions, and I spent four days at the Olympic village with my family, watching any events we could get tickets for.
As the 2014 FIFA World Cup is months away I am very excited
to see all the
Seeing our brand's presence at these global events is incredible.
There is no other brand that can activate gigantic events like the EUROs, Olympics,
and FIFA World Cups in the way we do ―
these moments always remind me how proud I am to work for this company! When
I was a teenager I actually started dreaming about what it would be like to