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  • Delores Maldonado, Cellar Supervisor

We all have those special women in our life who inspire us to be better, aim higher, and sparkle brighter. On International Women’s Day, these women of Domaine Carneros share their inspirations…

Meet Dolores Maldonado, Cellar Supervisor

When thinking about a woman that inspires me I find it hard to point to just one person. Three strong women come to my mind that have really inspired and helped to create who I am.

1. My Mom

I think first about my mom. She is a great woman who always tells me that if you have two hands anyone can do the job. Man, woman, it doesn’t matter, you can do anything with two hands. When I came to this country 21 years ago I didn’t know how to drive. In my hometown we all walked everywhere, driving wasn’t needed. When I came to Napa my mom pushed me to drive when she would visit from Mexico. Because of her encouraging me to drive I got my driver’s license and later my forklift license from Domaine Carneros.

My mom has taught me how to be a strong woman who speaks up for herself. Who raises a family with the support of her husband but is still her own woman with her own opinionated mind. My mom’s lessons about working hard and believing that those two hands can do anything helped me to start climbing the ladder once I was hired at Domaine Carneros in 2005. My mom has inspired me to build a strong foundation for women in the world.

2. Stacey Ellis

My mom’s lessons of speaking up helped to inspire me to ask for more. Within the first year of working on the bottling line at Domaine Carneros I asked the nighttime harvest supervisor Stacey Ellis if I could work the upcoming harvest. She said yes and during that first harvest while working the night shift, Stacey Ellis taught me all the details of working in the cellar. She inspired my love for creating sparkling wines. When harvest was finished, Stacey kept me on in the cellar and I was hired full time. She saw in me the potential to achieve great things in my career so long as I was willing to work for them.

Over the next 15 years Stacey taught me all she knew about cellar work. She insisted on the details and showed me, much like my mom did, that my two hands can do anything. When I wasn’t sure of myself Stacey told me that I am completely capable of doing the same work as my male coworkers. She was right and it’s something that I teach my female coworkers in the winery daily. Stacey later became the cellar master, then production manager, and now is the capital projects manager. While working alongside her I found inspiration from being able to see how a woman can grow and advance in male driven profession. We can all climb the professional ladder.

3. Shauna Sullivan

The third woman who has inspired me is Shauna Sullivan. Shauna and I started working on my leadership development in 2017 as coworkers. At that time my department had undergone some major transitions at the winery and we needed to develop a stronger, more unified cellar team. If my mom inspired my foundation and Stacey showed me that women have a career path in production, then Shauna inspired me to have no limitations. Shauna always talks about looking outside of the box to the bigger picture. Over the past three years Shauna has shown me how to lead my team through my own capabilities. She helped me to see that I am an extraordinarily capable leader. Shauna gradually built my confidence through encouragement, direction, and focused development on my supervisory skills. She showed me how to believe in myself and believe in my skill sets. She showed me that leadership doesn’t come from demands but can be more influential if you work in partnership with coworkers.

It started small by encouraging me to speak in front of small groups of colleagues about what I know best, sparkling wine production. Shauna pushed me to speak up about the things I see happening throughout the winery. She saw that I had all the experience, I just needed to speak my mind and show everyone what I knew. This gave me the courage to embody the leader I am becoming. I recently provided translation from English to Spanish for the entire company at a farewell event for our former CEO Eileen Crane. I never thought this would have been something I could have done even two years ago. Shauna inspires me to keep climbing the ladder and that the only person in the way of my success is me. I have been inspired to see the bigger picture and it feels like the blinders on my eyes have been lifted. I see that there is no limit to what any of us can accomplish if we want it and are willing to work for it.

-Dolores