We sat down with the first-annual Women of BMW honorees to find out about their careers, insights and what drives them each day. We invite you to take a moment and learn about these dedicated women and congratulate them with kudos on Twitter with #WomenOfBMW.
NAME: Anja Kuechler
POSITION: Department Head, Customer Experience
LOCATION: Woodcliff Lake, NJ
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH BMW? 15 Years
Q: DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE AT BMW:
A: I am the proud leader of the Customer Experience department, a strategic hub that brings together a human-centric approach, consumer insights and innovation to design the BMW Group Customer Experience and equip our associates and dealers to deliver it.
Q: DESCRIBE A DEFINING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER AND HOW IT SHAPED YOUR PATH:
A: I have experienced many wonderful moments in my career that influenced my path and made me grow to the person I am today. But one moment absolutely stuck with me: I was expecting my first child and for whatever reason I was afraid to tell the vice president I was working for back then. His approval and support were very important for me and I was concerned he may think that I would be less committed to my job or disengaged once I had a baby. Needless to say I was nervous when I sat down in his office and told him the news. And then something wonderful happened: His face beamed with joy, he got up from behind his desk, walked over and hugged me and said one sentence that I will never forget: “Having a child will make you an even better leader.”Looking back to this moment years later, I wholeheartedly agree: While I kept my business acumen and determination, my leadership style became more compassionate caring about the work/life balance of my team and their happiness in the workplace.
Q: WHO IS A FEMALE ROLE MODEL TO YOU AND WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE ABOUT HER?
A: For the longest time I looked at my mom, who has been a role model for me: a woman, who worked hard to establish her own business in a much regimented system (I come from the former GDR) and who loves her family unconditionally. But over the last years I have been with BMW of North America, I also came to admire many of my female peers: we are often faced with decisions and challenges that impact the business, financials and/or people’s lives. Watching these women not being afraid of making important choices and taking the responsibility makes me very proud to be part of this company.
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?
A: Be yourself, trust in your skills and support each other.
Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING MOST OUTSIDE OF WORK?WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
A: All my time outside of work is reserved for the two most important persons in my life: My two children, who are 3 years and 18 months old (and yes, my husband gets some time, too). They are my source of inspiration and joy.