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: Sky Foster
POSITION: Department Manager Corporate Communication
LOCATION: Greenville, SC
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH BMW? 25 Years
Q: DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE AT BMW:
A: I am a Company Spokesperson responsible for internal plant communication, public and media relations.
Q: WHAT PATH LED YOU TO BMW?
A: I was uniquely prepared and richly positioned for the start-up role and operations at BMW in South Carolina, because of my past experience in human resources, compensation, benefits, working structures, training and development, staffing, leadership assessment centers, executive coaching and cultural change management. Growing up and receiving my professional education and training in South Carolina provided much-needed insights into staffing and selection of the best talent, bridging cultural differences among American associates and German associates, and coaching leaders as they faced difficult challenges.
Q: DESCRIBE A DEFINING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER AND HOW IT SHAPED YOUR PATH:
A: I was the fifth person hired in 1992, so much of the early work was managed by our experienced but skeletal staff. The work required not only collaboration but reliance on local contractors. There were numerous “start up” tasks such as hiring and selection, development and set up of the assessment center, creation of HR benefits plans, determination of pay and compensation requirements, and establishment of policies, practices and procedures. The sheer magnitude of the challenges and tasks to be completed demanded a strategy to reach out and manage local contractors, capitalizing on their expertise and ideas. I learned the value of surrounding myself with the best people, and that building trusting relationships is the foundation of effective leadership. I learned to value different perspectives and implement programs and plans based on a clear vision of success. I continue to value the best lessons of the “start-up” experience –commitment to a vision, working hard but also smartly, building strong teams, and valuing multiple perspectives to arrive at the best outcomes. I now look for opportunities to stretch myself and to embrace my brand as an influencer and change manager.
Q: WHO IS A FEMALE ROLE MODEL TO YOU AND WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE ABOUT HER?
A: I admire Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg for her advocacy of women’s rights. She led the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and continues to advocate for women and the others whose voices need to be heard. She has set the course to end discrimination in the justice system, as she works tirelessly as a Supreme Court Justice. Her advocacy has far reaching appeal; her work with sensitive and conscious subjects has garnered for her a rare popularity in the public for her strong judicial decisions, but also her fearlessness, bravery, strength, and resilience. Justice Ginsburg is a model of courage and determination. She is also a reminder that leadership requires character and honesty, service to others and the relentless pursuit of the best possible outcomes. All of these characteristics are important to me as manage my daily responsibilities and entertain plans for the future.
Q: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?
- Be connected and politically savvy
- Be confident and stand up for what’s right
- Influence positive change, play to your strengths
- Build strong networks and high performing teams
- Listen for possibilities and different perspectives
- Build a reputable professional brand
- Embrace feedback for growth