Meet the 2020 Women of BMW: Heather Lyndon

Here’s to the women who are empowering, inspiring, and leading others!

This Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating our Women of BMW! Each nominee exemplifies the pillars of movement and BMW and serves as an inspiration for the BMW family. Throughout the series, we will hear the stories and advice from women leaders who have broken stereotypes and shattered glass ceilings. We created the #WomenofBMW series to highlight the progress of women in their roles throughout the automotive industry while motivating change going forward.

Name: Heather Lyndon

Division: Launch Control, Plant Project Services, Change Coordination

Location: South Carolina

Q: In a few words, describe your role at BMW? 

A: I am the Department Manager for Launch Control, Plant Project Series, and Change Coordination for Plants Spartanburg and Rosslyn. We introduce new models and technical changes into production.

Q: How has your career grown during your time at BMW? 

A: I started my career working on the line in the Body Shop in the Metal Fit and Finish area as part of a new-hire trainee program.  After one year, I moved into Process Planning for the Body Shop.  I relocated to Germany for the original X5 Project and then came back to Spartanburg to launch the vehicle.  After this, I moved to Technology Total Vehicle, as the Project Steerer for the Z4 project for two years, and then I worked on a special quality project for a year before joining the department which I am manager of today. I relocated again to Germany for three years for these projects, and then returned to Spartanburg and became Section Manager for Launch & Change Coordination EK/EI group.  After four years, I moved to become Section Manager for Launch & Change Coordination EE/EF/EA for one year before once again relocating to Germany to take on the role of the Foreign Plant Representative, where I represented the Plant in the early phases of the projects.  After two years in this role, I returned to Plant Spartanburg and became the Department Manager for Launch Control, Plant Project Series, Change Coordination.

Q: As a woman working in a leadership setting and attending graduate school, what skills do you feel are most important to possess when handling multiple responsibilities in and out of the workplace?

A: Organization, time management, and prioritization.  There are times when school was more important than work or social and vice-versa.  The key was knowing which one was important at that time and to arrange my schedule for the week around it.  This helped me also manage the stress of many conflicting goals during this time.

Q: What advice would you give to women pursuing a career in your field? 

A: Engineering is not an easy field to work in or to stay with over the course of a career.  Of the many that start in the program in college, only a handful remain in the field after a few years in the workplace, and especially in manufacturing.  You have to make certain that this is what you want to do and then find ways to adapt the skills you learned in school to the environment.  Each person has to decide on the path their career takes – no one can do this for them.  Listen to your inner drummer, follow it with determination, and you will be successful in the path you choose.  

Also, keep learning new skills throughout your career and applying them to your area of the business.  This not only demonstrates your initiave, it shows that you care about the direction the business takes and your part in making it successful.  Every day, keep moving the business forward in any way you can as it helps not only you, but all of us to be better and bring better products to the market for our customers.

Q: What inspires you in the workplace and why? 

A: I am inspired by watching my associates and my team reach their potential and continue pushing for that next level of performance for our customers (both internal and external).  Our business is constantly changing, as is the technology around us.  Launch and Change coordination is extremely complex and is becoming more so due to the individualization we want to give to our customers. Watching my associates find new ways to use technology to make this complexity easier or their performance better inspires me to keep fighting for them, their ideas, and for our customers.

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