How One Woman is Breaking Barriers to Redefine Success in the Male-Dominated Moving Industry
From Model to Moving, Dominique Reighard-Brooks’ talent knows no limits and her story captures the heart of what it means to be a woman in America today.
Every March for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, people around the world join together in celebrating women and honoring their contributions to our society.
However, since being given voting rights in America only a mere century ago, women have continued to face an uphill battle towards true equality with their male counterparts—both in and out of the workplace.
Our nation’s history is paved by the brave and brilliant acts of everyday women who championed equality and female excellence in their communities.
Today, many women continue to carry their torch and legacy, breaking glass ceilings in their industries and claiming their seats at the table.
We want to honor the achievements of one woman in particular who is doing just that in the Moving & Storage industry…Mrs. Dominique Reighard Brooks.
Meet Dominique Reighard-Brooks.
Born and raised in the Columbus, Ohio area by a family of self-starters, a driven, entrepreneurial spirit was instilled in Dominique early on.
But, her career didn’t begin in moving. In fact, it was her background in the entertainment industry, featuring a lengthy run in popular reality show competition “America’s Next Top Model,” that laid the groundwork for her success.
“After my career in television, fashion, music, and modeling I felt a deep calling for me to evolve…I wanted to explore, evolve, and use other gifts and talents that I knew were lying dormant,” Dominique said in her interview
with The Story Exchange. “I believed that I could find success in other industries by fusing my talents, learned skill-sets, life experiences, connections and a lot of hard work.”
And, that’s exactly what she did.
Dominique’s Key to Success with E.E. Ward
As a co-owner of E.E. Ward, a nationally-recognized leader in the relocation and transportation industry, Dominique now leads and manages a 50-70 person team across the company’s three locations.
Upon partnering with her husband Brian Brooks in 2014, she quickly seized the opportunity to enhance and evolve the E.E. Ward brand through strategic partnerships, philanthropy, expansion in other markets, and a new fresh marketing strategy. Her experiences in media and entertainment gave her a great foundation to energize the E.E. Ward brand.
Her key to success? Thinking outside the box. “It’s my goal to continue to push for unconventional streams of revenue and brand exposure that may not be typical for a moving company,” she says.
Dominique remains curious, always thinking about how the company can do things differently to become more effective, efficient, and cutting edge. “My fresh perspective on the business has been beneficial because I am not tied to the way things have always been done in the moving industry.”
Through it all, Dominique has been a driving force behind the company’s success—putting everything she has into their business and supporting the communities where they work and live.
In an interview, Dominique reflects on her personal experiences and imparts valuable wisdom that led her to thrive as a successful woman of color in a male-dominated industry.
northAmerican: What does this business mean to you?
Dominique: I feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure that the legacy of E.E.Ward’s being the Oldest Continuously Operating Black-Owned Business in America is never forgotten. It is important to me to keep history alive. It still gives me chills when I wake every morning to work. I know that what we do matters today because of what John T Ward embarked on in 1881. Brian and I are stewards of this great legacy.
D: I feel very fortunate to be a part of the northAmerican Van Lines network. Over the years, I have felt the spirit of inclusion and a sense of being welcome “at the table.” I attribute my experience to the fact that northAmerican Van Lines has women in management positions and the women owners in the agent network are very involved with many of our agent committees.
nA: Do you think companies benefit from having more women in leadership roles—if so, why?
D: Most certainly yes! A company needs to be diverse with its staff and strategy if it has any aspirations to sell to a diverse customer base and create the right culture.
There are many hidden advantages to having women in leadership roles, such as soft skills like emotional intelligence, creativity, innovation, and building trust within and outside the organization.
We must view diversity as an advantage if we want to continue to close the gender gap, create the right culture, and a brighter future for all. We must never forget that our differences make an organization's collaborations more dynamic and cutting edge.
nA: What advice would you give to other young women of color entering male-dominated or predominately-white industries?
D: Know who you are and your worth! It is essential to know the value you bring to the table. Women must continue to break glass ceilings and know that what they do today will matter tomorrow and inspire the next generation to dream even bigger.
Representation matters, and Women must never be afraid to expand their vision of life and business. I know it can be challenging when society likes to put people in a box and exclude them. Don't sell yourself short, we all have layers, so explore them. I hope to explore many possibilities in business outside what I have done and what I am currently doing.
I really would like to encourage women of all walks of life not to get stuck or become complacent. Women have incredible gifts, talents, ideas, and creativity; the moving industry would only become stronger if more women had seats at the decision-making tables.
nA: What motivates you?
D: The most significant step to keeping myself motivated is keeping the right perspective and mindset daily. I am an unapologetically hopeful and optimistic individual. I believe that Billy Jean King had it right when she said that "Pressure is a Privilege." I have always allowed the pressures of life to elevate me by using them as fuel and not failure.
My mindset is to either sink or swim, embrace challenges, and know that you cannot grow when you're comfortable! I refuse to drown myself in self-pity and being a victim. Like many, I have experienced great pain, challenges, and hardship, but I have always known in my heart the importance of keeping the right perspective on life's adversities, as they have always worked for me and not against me.
Imagining an outstanding outcome or a next-level success is where my mind charts a course as I expect only good things and more wisdom to come out of difficult times. When I am faced with obstacles, I refuse to worry or concern myself with things that I can't control. I shift energy and focus on what I can control or create! It is an empowering moment when we learn that our choices can shift our energy into creating new experiences for self and others. I challenge everyone in challenging times to take steps, no matter how small or big in the direction that you truly want to go.
nA: What do you attribute to your success?
D: For me it's all about connecting the dots, being curious, resourceful and having the belief that you are equipped to rise to any goal you put your mind to. I want to be proof that you can pivot from one industry, one job title or endeavor to the next and still find success by fusing your talents, passion, creativity, life experiences, adversities, connections – and a lot of hard work.
nA: And finally, what can the world expect next from Dominique Reighard-Brooks?
D: As co-owner, I have taken on the responsibility of ensuring that the legacy of our business is never forgotten. I am currently working on writing a children’s book on the incredible legacy of E.E.Ward and developing the next phase for the clothing line 1881 Apparel. The book will be released this year (2022)!
northAmerican proudly partners with 45 minority, woman and veteran-owned agent locations across 25 states.
Looking to increase your Diverse Supplier spend? E.E. Ward is a Certified Minority-Owned agent that qualifies as a diverse supplier for companies looking to satisfy corporate diversity requirements. To learn more, contact Bobbi Maniglia at Bobbi.Maniglia@northAmerican.com