Courtney Mooney says she didn’t enter the auto industry as a car enthusiast. But as an intern at BMW Financial Services, she says, “It took one hot lap at the BMW Performance Center to make me fall in love with the cars we build. Twelve years into life at BMW, I am proud to say I can drive a manual in high heels with the best of them!”
Earlier this month, Mooney was named omnichannel strategy and execution lead for BMW of North America. In her new position, she is working to break down silos to develop a cross-functional, cross-agency team, comprising the automaker’s marketing channels and partners. Or, as she says, “The initiative could be perceived as just throwing all of the good work created within those verticals in a blender,” with the goal to align the company’s marketing resources around a single mission, focused on the customer experience. “It feels very full circle for me because it’s using the tools and resources that marry best in class creative work with analytical intelligence and applied insights that drive value, and those are the developments in this space that are most exciting to me,” Mooney says.
She says of her new position, “This was a huge opportunity, vote of confidence and stage for leadership exposure, and it’s grown into a true passion project for me.”
It’s the second turning point in her career at BMW, which started with that internship position but saw her segue into her first love, marketing. She worked on marketing and CRM for BMW’s parts and service line, and during a corporate realignment had the opportunity to move into leadership in that area. “Both moments were somewhat unexpected opportunities to show what I could do, challenge myself, grow my depth and skillset, gain crucial visibility and also advocate for myself,” she says.
She’s a passionate advocate for the role of women in the auto industry. “I’m glad to see the automotive industry getting the memo that we have a powerful generation of women leading the way in a huge range of industries, savvily engaging in the luxury space as both consumers and business leaders, and deeply involved in the ways the landscape is evolving, from consumer privacy to marketing science to the speed of digital innovation,” she says. “We’re still under-represented in the upper echelons of the industry but I see a really strong contingent of smart, ambitious, hard-working women across the BMW organization today, and they’re well poised to start changing that leadership landscape in the coming years, given the right opportunities and development.”
Mooney has a personal investment in the future of women in the business. “As a mom of two very young daughters, I’ll note that the industry has room to grow when it comes to both attracting and retaining women doing it all. We CAN do it all, but we need to be considered as whole individuals. Opportunities for learning and growth, flexibility where it’s needed and mechanisms to recognize and cultivate talent are all key,” she says.
Her advice for women, especially young women, entering the industry? “I like to believe that I’m forging a path for my smart little daughters, and my advice to them would be the same across any field or industry: I would encourage them to nurture those relationships that will open learning and growth doors for them, even if they feel tangential to the path,” she says.
Mooney adds that women need to communicate clearly and be direct about what they need and want, both in thinking about day-to-day work but also in terms of career growth, and “advocate confidently for the things they can do well and want to do.”
One specific area she recommends focusing on: “Work hard to develop your presentation skills and presence in a room, regardless of your role and public speaking demands; those skills are so valuable and infinitely transferrable, but they’re a muscle that develops over time and with a lot of practice.”
Finally, Mooney says, “I would encourage anyone to treat everyone well and more kindly than needed. The business is a small place and the vast majority of us are working hard to do good work. All of my opportunities have come through my close network and I’ve also made lifelong personal friends along the way. It will only serve you to be someone people like working with, and it makes those long days much more fun.”