Welcome and thank you for stopping by! This is the third iteration of our series to honor and share the stories of empowered women, fulfilling roles as leaders in their country. The mission of this project is to inspire, educate, and connect women who are currently serving or considering serving in typically male dominated professions such as military, police, or fire service. 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.
If you would like to contribute to our project and share your story through Valkyrie Performance, please email me at email@example.com
Staff Sergeant Molly Koman
Inventory Management Specialist, United States Marine Corps
1. What do you appreciate the most about being a woman in a male dominated field?
I appreciate that I am blessed to step up to the challenge every day. It has helped me grow into a stronger woman, and because of that I am able to mentor those women who will follow in my footsteps.
2. As a woman in a male dominated field, what challenges do you regularly face and how do you overcome those challenges?
The first challenge that I regularly face is that I constantly have to prove what I am capable of as a Marine. I learned quickly that if I was physically fit, I would earn respect. I began pushing myself physically to become better at an early age in the Marine Corps. It wasn’t easy but once I had reached that goal I found my confidence as a female in a male-dominated environment went up.
Another challenge is not being a statistic. As much as we don’t like to speak about it, the statistics of females in male-dominated environments are not great. I decided to set a standard for myself. What type of woman I expect myself to be, what type of woman I wanted to become, and what types of women I wanted others to become.
One more important thing I learned was how to have thick skin. I learned that not everyone will like you for who you are and that is OK. I learned to stand up for myself, and remain true to my morals in hopes of laying a better path for others to follow.
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?
When I have those moments I like to look back on all my accomplishments. I remind myself how far I have come and all the great things I have done. I sometimes say it in my head, other times I look at my “I love me binder”, and sometimes I say a prayer asking for patience.
4. What are your top 3-5 priorities in life? How do you make time for the areas you value most?
1. My husband/family
2. My health
3. My career
I make time for the areas I value the most by ensuring I love myself first. Loving myself enough to know that those 3 things mean the world to me, where I can put other things on hold.
5. While serving, what has been your biggest personal victory? What about the best organizational/team victory and why?
My biggest personal victory was getting promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant before my 7 years in the Marine Corps. I never thought I would make it that far that fast and I worked so hard for it. The best organizational victory to me is with every unit I go to, creating a new family and taking care of all the new Marines I get to lead.
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?
I truly believe that I have found my calling in the Marine Corps. I am blessed with the opportunity every day to help open doors for those women who will follow in my footsteps. The road hasn’t and won’t always be easy, but I know this is God’s plan for me.
7. How do you combat negative self-talk, and pick yourself back up from failure?
When negative self-talk comes into play, I replace the negative words with positive ones. Instead of “I am not good enough for this.” I replace it with “I will overcome this". When I fail I count it as a blessing, you cannot grow if you never fail.
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?
Describing myself in three words.
Others describing me (I hope!) are those same three things. I work hard to live those three truths daily, no matter how difficult the day gets.
9. What changes would you like to see in the next 5 years for women in male-dominated environments?
I hope to see more respect across the board. That everyone is valued for what they bring to the table not the gender they are. I hope to see women stand up for themselves more, stand up for each other, and I hope to see the men do the same. I would like to see more women in leadership roles and for women not to be afraid to try even if they might fail. That failure does not happen solely because she is a woman.
10. What advice would give to your 19 year old self? Or to a young woman starting her journey of serving our Country?
You are more than what you are giving yourself credit for. You came into this organization to do amazing things! Don’t sell yourself short. Set goals, create dreams, dare to try and take that first step. The road will be scary and you will encounter a lot of self-doubt, but you will become stronger because of it all. Don’t be afraid to fall in love with yourself. Love yourself for who you are because who you are is what is going to take you so far in this world. When they say “she could never do that”, prove them wrong because you can. Keep close those strong individuals who lift you up! The ones that are meant to stay in your life will be there through it all. But most importantly, don’t ever be too afraid to fail that you never try. Don’t EVER sell yourself short.
Again, if you have questions or would like to share your story with Valkyrie, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org