Meet Dominique Giovine, Director of Champagne Strategy, at Moët Hennessy USA. Since 2016, Dominique has lead the Dress for Success Manhattan Branch’s Professional Women’s Group Program sponsored by Moët Hennessy. Since launching the partnership, Dominique and her team have worked closely with many Dress for Success clients to develop their job retention skills and provide them with various mentoring, networking and career coaching opportunities.
DFS: Talk to us about your path to success? Were there any major road blocks you had to overcome?
DG: Twenty-years’ experience as a woman in the wine and spirits industry is something! I call us “The Mighty Machetes”. Beating a path for others to follow. When I first started, my distributor would refer to me as “that woman”. Can you imagine? As a State Manager in this business, I worked with 18 peers across the trade and not one of them was a woman. The men were skeptical and a little exclusionary at first, but I worked hard, was always prepared and professional, and knew my business. I also played a bit of their game by learning my facts on college football, golf, and would talk like a sailor. And over time, we developed excellent working relationships and friendships. When I moved on to a regional position, their endorsements were very rewarding.
DFS: What professional and/or personal accomplishments are you most proud of and why?
DG: At the risk of sounding cliché, initiating the Dress for Success program within our company will always be my greatest accomplishment. Creating a program that has united our employees while benefitting others less fortunate makes me very proud. There were 2 key rewarding moments- when our first Professional Women’s Group (PWG) class was graduating and hearing what the women got out of the program was very impactful. And for the 2nd PWG class, I sent the company email out asking for 10 months’ worth of panelists at 6:00pm, and we were fully booked by 10:00am the next morning.
DFS: What does Success mean to you?
DG: I think success is elusive. It is about achieving your goals; however, goals do not remain stagnant. As one achieves goals, you tend to set new heights in your goals, resulting in a continuous pursuit. But there are milestones which one should always take the time to stop and appreciate. I also believe anyone considered “successful” is a happy person. You have to be happy in your life- personally and professionally. Happiness removes all the distractions so you can pursue your goals.
DFS: What is the most rewarding part about working with our women at the Moët Hennessy hosted Professional Women’s Group meetings?
DG: Very simple- when a woman comes in and announces a positive change she has made in her life due to something that inspired her from one of our meetings. We have had women get promotions, empowered them to discuss issues with their managers, motivated them to achieve goals and no longer be homeless, and even quit their job to become an entrepreneur! It is so inspiring to hear of their bravery and determination.
DFS: Is there one women you have worked with or bonded with that stands out to you? Tell us about your experience with her.
DG: Yes, there is a PWG graduate that I keep in touch with to this day. She is a minority, an immigrant and a single mother… with the kindest soul. Her energy and desire to improve her life and the life of her daughter is inspiring. She was already doing a great job at this, and during our PWG time her daughter was accepted to Yale! In speaking to her over the holidays, her daughter had come home from her first semester at Yale and was doing great.
DFS: Why do you continuously choose Dress for Success Worldwide to support?
DG: It is a natural fit for women empowering women. Our PWG classes have had women from all over the world with different cultural backgrounds. We have learned many of these women are not just overcoming educational/experience barriers, but cultural barriers. Fortunately, Moët Hennessy has great people with diverse backgrounds from all over the world. As a result, there have been many relatable moments. One of Moët Hennessy’s greatest asset is the diverse women who work here, and we feel Dress for Success is the perfect organization to share this resource with.
DFS: Why is promoting women’s empowerment and giving back especially to women so important to you?
DG: My parents and grandparents set amazing examples growing up, so this has always been a part of my life. I was always taught to appreciate others and have compassion for others. This particular program really excites me because it focuses on personal AND professional development and that can have long-term positive affects for the women and their families.
DFS: How are you opening doors for women at Moët Hennessey, especially in a male dominated industry?
DG: When I work with younger women in my industry, I am very genuine in letting them know that I can relate and if they ever have any questions on navigating the waters, feedback to get to the next level, resume writing, etc they can come to me. I work, am married, and have two boys- feel free to use me as a resource. I think it is working, I recently had a colleague call and ask my advice if she should have another child!
DFS: What are some qualities that make a good leader? What is the best leadership advice you’ve ever been given?
DG: I never ask anyone to do something I’m not willing to do myself. We are an event driven company, and I have always been willing to roll up my sleeves and do any set up or break down after an event. At the end of the day, the answer is very simple- do the work. Be prepared, put in the time, know your facts.
The best leadership advice was not told to me but shown to me. My first boss and now mentor always gave me credit and acknowledgement. As a result, my confidence grew and it inspired me to work harder. Having happy and motivated employees is extremely beneficial to your business and I realized creating that kind of environment is great leadership.
DFS: Is there a mentor who helped you on your professional path – who and how? What should people look for when searching for a mentor?
DG: I am very fortunate, the man who took a chance on this young, FEMALE, with no industry experience remains my mentor to this day. He too has progressed and is a President in one of the largest companies in our industry, but always takes the time to return my calls and answer my questions.
Keep in mind, it isn’t always about finding the most senior person. The key to a good mentor is finding someone who is magnanimous. Choose someone whose work you respect, they appreciate others, and are generous people: with their time, experiences, and resources.
DFS: What’s one piece of advice you wish you could tell your younger-self?
DG: Get very comfortable talking about money. Growing up I was taught talking about money was inappropriate. Therefore, I struggled in any monetary negotiations regarding pricing, sponsorships, advertising, and yes, even my own salary. Remember, it’s business and there is nothing inappropriate about talking business and knowing your worth.
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