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: Azita Khalili
POSITION: California Vehicle Environmental Regulatory Manager
LOCATION: Oxnard, CA
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH BMW? 21 Years
Q: DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE AT BMW:
A: My job is to provide detailed insight and outlook to BMW process partners both on what the future emissions and materials regulations might require of BMW products whose market launch could be as far out as a decade or more, and to inform and interpret current regulations. I represent BMW as a technical liaison in the public rulemaking processes of government agencies both at State and Federal levels.
Q: DESCRIBE A DEFINING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER AND HOW IT SHAPED YOUR PATH:
A: After eight years working in production facilities of the Ford supplier and BMW to improve engine casting components, I wanted to move upstream in the product development process to better influence the product design. Changing from BMW foundry in Landshut to BMW R&D in Munich to work on light weight design in the very early stages of product design was an interesting turn in my career: changing from solving production issues to helping in design and long-term planning of products.
Q: WHO IS A FEMALE ROLE MODEL TO YOU AND WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE ABOUT HER?
A: My late mother! She was a very bright math teacher. It is from my parents that I learned the “why not” approach. I didn’t feel my gender was supposed to be an issue when I chose materials engineering as field of study, opted to get my Ph.D., or when I chose my first position in the foundry industry. 26 years later, the foundry, mining, and oil industries continue to be the most male-dominated industries in the engineering sector.
Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING MOST OUTSIDE OF WORK?
A: I feel my ‘calling’ is about empowerment and choice. I am a passionate volunteer for the Special Olympics, and I feel the greatest joy when I can spend time with the athletes as a volunteer in the Special Olympics Regional, National, and World Games.
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER WOMEN INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?
A: Don’t be afraid to be different or in minority: it could be your strong suit.