Sabrina Hartusch recalls her journey from restaurant dishwasher to Triumph boss, and the experiences and memories she has collected over the years

Sabrina Hartusch

What are you thinking about right now?

Right now I am thinking about how I will answer all these questions. I am also thinking about my two-week business trip tomorrow to South America, wondering whether I have done all my preparation and really looking forward to meeting my colleagues there.

What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is that my loved ones could get hurt and that I could fall ill with a severe long-term disease, now or later on in life. The scariest thing that ever happened to me was when I lived in London. I was actually on the Tube during the London bombings in 2005, on the Piccadilly Line. But I was some trains behind the actual incident, and on the opposite line going in the other direction. It did not seem unusual that the train was forced to stop, but all of a sudden a strange feeling came over in the train once we were asked to leave it immediately.

Once I was on the streets again, I realised that something was not right, especially when my mobile phone could not get a signal. So the fear, for me, developed afterwards. But ever since then I have been more aware that life can end abruptly.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Some years ago when skiing I fell off the T-bar ski lift when exiting, and the entire lift was stopped. It took me so long to stand up again that the lift operators had to come to carry me aside. Ever since then I have hated taking the T-bar ski lift (as many other people do).

What is your most treasured possession?

My experiences and memories built over time.

What makes you happy?

Having time to enjoy a relaxed dinner with my partner. Reading a good book. Skiing on a sunny day. Seeing a beautiful landscape.

What makes you unhappy?

It makes me unhappy to see less privileged people who do not have any chances in life, compared with others who have chances but complain all the time. It makes me unhappy to see people who do not have an eye for the nice things in life and the beauty of the world.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

The biggest risk I will take is to have an eye laser operation to correct my short-sightedness. I trust the technology and hope that it turns out well.

What is the worst job you’ve ever done?

During secondary school I worked for some weeks in the kitchen of a restaurant - mainly responsible for the dirty dishes - which was extremely straining. During that time I considered this the worst job ever. Today, I realise that there are other jobs that are much worse.

What is your greatest achievement?

The greatest achievement is probably to have moved bravely in my younger days from Germany to the UK and then to Switzerland. I made each of these places my home and made long-term friends in all of them. Last, but not least, I have learned from all these places.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned?

You should come across other people with no prejudices and treat others as you want to be treated yourself.

Tell us a secret?

I played the accordion for many years. After secondary school, I actually wanted to start working at the German Bundeskriminalamt (the German federal criminal police office), but it didn’t work out as I am short-sighted.

Sabrina Hartusch is global head of insurance at Triumph and a board member of the Swiss Association of Insurance and Risk Managers)