Hello all! My name is Andrea Writt and I am currently working with Valkyrie Performance as the Education Coordinator. I am extremely passionate about education and love learning. I believe that there is no better way to learn, than to listen to the stories from those around us. The mission of this project is to inspire, educate, and connect women who are currently serving or considering serving in typically male dominated professions. Over the next ten weeks we will share the stories of ten amazing women who have served, or are currently serving our Nation, providing unique perspectives into the inspiring realities of these women's lives.
Captain Samantha Domingue
Troop Commander and Training Officer in the United States Army
1. What do you appreciate the most about being a woman in a male dominated field?
I appreciate the challenge. It’s only challenging because you experience resistance in the subtlest of ways, and it is that much more rewarding when you succeed. Also, learning a new career field in the combat arms community is a challenge in itself. There is so much to learn to become tactically and technically proficient, and I feel like I’m behind the power curve because I didn’t grow up in the field.
2. As a woman in a male dominated field, what challenges do you regularly face and how do you overcome those challenges?
I face the challenge of having to continuously prove myself. Possibly self-imposed, but due to the nature of my position, I feel like it is my responsibility to be the best. Not only for my own self worth, but to prove that gender is not an indicator of success in combat arms, hard work is.
3. What practices do you have, to re-center yourself when you’ve had a tough conversation or someone has given you an ungrounded assessment or unsolicited advice?
I focus on what I can control. I remind myself of my role and that I’m in the position I am in because I deserve to be, not because anyone gave it to me. That quick reminder helps me maintain composure and not give-in to negative thoughts.
4. What are your top 3-5 priorities in life? How do you make time for the areas you value most?
- Family- every time I am home is precious since I’m frequently away. During weekends I spend time with my husband. We like to workout, shoot, or do anything outdoors with our two dogs.
Physical Well-Being - regardless of time of day, I make time to workout. It’s important to me to stay fit and stay physically prepared for anything the military throws my way.
Work - I give my best effort every second I’m at work. It’s important to me to be dedicated to my job and know I’m contributing to the team. I only say best effort, because I learned that maximum effort is not sustainable without trade offs.
5. While serving, what has been your biggest personal victory? What about the best organizational/team victory and why?
My biggest personal victory was completing the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, at Fort Benning. It is a big deal because although I did well and it is a requirement for all Captains, no one knew the struggle and stress I put myself through. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and put every ounce of free time to studying and reading to keep up with my peers. It’s my win proving to myself I belonged, although I was told I would not.
As far as an organizational victory, I think that is yet to come. To me, nothing I have done has had a direct impact on my organization. I think it is a win that the Army finally opened all branches to females, but there’s work to do to normalize it.
6. Do you feel like you have found your “life’s purpose/calling” yet, or do you still feel like you are continuing to discover and unravel what unique gift/niche you bring to the world?
No, I feel like I still am figuring out what I want to do with my life (although I am now 28 years old). I think these next few years will be telling. Follow up with me in a couple years.
7. How do you combat negative self-talk, and pick yourself back up from failure?
I recognize failure is normal. It’s only a failure if I don’t learn anything from it. For me, trying again is how I pick myself up and avoid dwelling on whatever mistake or failure it was.
8. If you could describe yourself in 3 words what would they be? If others described you in 3 words what would they be? Are they congruent with the way you think you are portraying yourself in the world?
I would describe myself as hard-working, disciplined, and assertive. Others would describe me as dependable, trustworthy, and hard-working… and maybe a little bit of a hard ass. I think its congruent with what I want to portray, but I know that my demeanor can come across as unapproachable. I’m working on finding that balance.
9. What changes would you like to see in the next 5 years for women in male dominated environments?
I would like it to become normalized and an expectation to see women in all branches. I want gender to no longer be a topic of discussion and frankly be irrelevant when we make assessments of Soldiers.
10. What advice would give to your 19 year old self? Or to a young woman starting her journey of serving our Country?
Understand why you want to serve. If you don’t know, go in with every intention to give your best effort. The men and women who have served and are serving, deserve that from you.
If you have questions or would like to share your story with Valkyrie, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org