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: Katie Kokkinos
POSITION: Aftersales Incentive and Cost of Sales Lead
LOCATION: Woodcliff Lake, NJ
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH BMW? 7 Years
Q: WHAT PATH LED YOU TO BMW?
A: I worked in political advocacy where I lobbied and did community organizing around environmental and energy legislation. I became connected to BMW when we ran our “ActiveE” pilot program and was hired to work on clean energy infrastructure programs that support the electric vehicle, in anticipation of the launch of BMWi.
Q: DESCRIBE A DEFINING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER AND HOW IT SHAPED YOUR PATH.
A: I have been assigned a leadership role on handful of special projects, wherein I had a lot of responsibility and space to contribute, create, and lead. There were moments where I was unsure of how to proceed and felt overwhelmed, but I applied myself, figured out a path forward, and delivered on expectations. In hindsight, I felt empowered and motivated by these otherwise intimidating assignments. I have an entrepreneurial approach to my work, which my management has valued in me, enabling me to grow confident in myself and my contributions. Ultimately, this confident mentality has been both an essential driver of the way in which I have forged my career path, as well as a central component of my professional identity.
Q: WHO IS A FEMALE ROLE MODEL TO YOU AND WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE ABOUT HER?
A: For most of my life, I have identified very strongly as an athlete, playing competitive sports since a young age until just a few years ago. In my formative years, I drew inspiration from the US women’s national soccer team. Players like Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Carla Overbeck, Joy Fawcett, and more. They shattered the mold of what it meant to be an athlete, at a time when female participation in competitive and professional sports was not commonplace or well supported. I was obsessed with these women because they were successful, and they consistently demonstrated a dogged drive towards excellence with unrelenting hard work and dedication. They believed in themselves, supported each other as teammates, and served as role models for countless aspiring female athletes. For me, they served as the physical embodiment of everything it takes to be a champion, or the best at what you do, and their model behavior and attitude shaped my outlook on every aspect of life.
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?
A: Make time as often as possible to connect with people, genuinely. This practice will help you grow your network and will ground you in the human side of an environment that is very sales and profit driven. For all its technological advancement in the last few years, the automotive field –and, dare I say corporate culture in general –is still a people business. You will be more successful in what you do if you put in your time to build strong, trustful relationships. You will establish yourself as an employee with social capital, as someone who can understand different business needs and perspectives, and you will become exposed to diverse ways of thinking and operating, all of which will benefit you as you forge your own career path.
Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING MOST OUTSIDE OF WORK?
A: I love spending time with my dog, Chloe, I try to do everything I can with her –she is a kind soul, a true companion, and keeps me smiling and laughing every day. I am a bookworm –I read a book per week. I love to exercise and spend time with friends and family. I also volunteer on the weekends with a handful of non-profits in areas focused on youth and female empowerment and human rights.