Moya Shatz Dolsby: Savvy Seattle Intern To Idaho Executive Director

Dena Ogden
Jan 12, 2017 · 8 min read

Editor’s note: With her dreamy job, busy family life, excitement for wine and Idaho (two things I also happen to be pretty fond of), and her sharp insights about life and love, Moya was a no-brainer for a profile. She and I are actually part of the same sorority pledge class, which means we joined at the same time with around 30 other women. You’d think that would mean I knew most of her story, but I actually learned — and gained — a ton from her answers. Now, please excuse me while I go work on my wine terminology.

Name: Moya Shatz Dolsby

Where did you grow up: Monroe, WA

Where do you live now: Boise, Idaho

What is your career path?: I’m the Executive Director of the Idaho Wine Commission, and I love my job. I’ve been in the wine industry since I was 21. I don’t know if I will ever leave it because people are happy in this industry. They’re in it because they want to be, not because they have to.

What other passions do you have?: I love to travel, read, drink wine, eat, exercise, and hang out with my husband and boys

We can we find you and your work online?: idahowines.org

Favorite thing about the PNW?: The people, especially in Boise. It’s all about your friends, family and dog. No one cares about the shoes you are wearing or the purse you are carrying. I also love the weather and our proximity to things.

How do you take your coffee?: Tall Americano with cream and half a shot of vanilla. Or, if I’m home, Whole Foods 365 coffee with milk and a little bit of hot chocolate mix.

How do you take notes?: Pen and paper in a cool journal

Favorite season in the PNW?: Fall, love the cool weather and crisp mornings.

How do you protect yourself from rain and inclement weather?: I’ve had both my red Sperry rainboots and REI black rain coat since college (LOVE them). Typically, I don’t bother with an umbrella because it doesn’t rain a ton in Boise.

What do you love talking about at parties?: I love talking about my kids and other people’s kids. It can be an easy and fun thing to relate to each other about. Plus, if I am talking to someone with older kids, I can often get good tips on fun activities, or parenting advice. I’ll take all the help I can get.

How do you describe yourself when others ask?: I say that I’m a pretty loyal, driven person, and a homebody who likes to travel. And, I analyze things to a fault. I can make a decision on a dime at work, however at home it can take me three weeks to pick out a rug. I’m trying to work on this!

What’s the best decision you ever made?: Moving to Idaho eight years ago. I left a great job at the Washington Wine Commission to do it, so people thought I was crazy. It was a pretty brave thing to do and I don’t usually consider myself brave. But, I met my husband a year after I moved and we’ve since built a beautiful house and we have two little boys. Not to mention, I have an awesome job and get to work with great people, so it’s worked out.

How did you come to a career in the wine industry?: I came to the wine industry in a roundabout way. Growing up, I thought I wanted to be an attorney, so I worked for three years during undergrad school at the US Attorney’s office in Seattle. One day during the end of my junior year, I decided I no longer wanted to be an attorney and was talking to my dad about it. He told me to see if the Washington Wine Commission needed interns. I thought this was so random since I didn’t drink very much and knew nothing about wine. That being said, I thought about it for 2 days and couldn’t find a better solution. Basically, I walked into the Washington Wine Commission and started working. I didn’t even interview. My first task was to call all the wineries participating in Taste Washington to verify their wines. I couldn’t pronounce half of them! I kept asking my boss how to say viognier over and over again. I ended up working full-time and going to school full-time my senior year of college. Over the next four and a half years, I did anything and everything in that office. When I was 26, I got recruited to head up the Idaho Wine Commission.

How have you changed/grown since you started your career?: I have had to learn how to manage and motivate not only my staff but an entire industry. I have had to listen more and let things play out before taking action, which can be difficult for me because I tend to get excited. I read a lot since I’ve had to find ways to continue to learn while managing my family too since both my husband and I work and have no family nearby to help with the boys.

What would your best friends and loved ones say are your greatest accomplishments?: They would probably say my boys, who are eight months apart. I adopted a baby and found out I was pregnant a week later…crazy times. I never in a million years thought I would have a boy, let alone have two of them that close in age.

What has having 2 kids so close in age taught you?: We adopted my older son the day after I did IVF, go figure right? We only had two days notice and had nothing ready for a baby, so talk about crash course parenting. I sure got some funny looks when I was pregnant carrying around my 6-month-old. Times were pretty crazy for a bit, and still are for that matter.

I learned to judge people less and give people more grace. I learned to gather little bits of advice from everyone who was willing to give it to me, while taking it all with a grain of salt. I also learned to say “sorry” faster and do my best to lead by example to my children and friends. I think I have become more open and sympathetic having struggled with fertility and for going through the throes of the adoption process.

I am so grateful for my two little boys. I play on the floor a lot and tear them off each other. I am trying my best to teach them to be good, kind and tolerant people. I’m not perfect by any means. I let my kids work out their issues (sometimes), watch TV and eat play-dough (all in moderation right?) so I can sit and have a glass of wine with my husband or a girlfriend. Probably the biggest thing I learned though, is to never assume anything, like assuming I would get pregnant quickly.

What advice would you give yourself at any of these previous life stages?:

  • graduating high school and starting college? Network like it’s going out of style. Be nice because you never know who you are talking to. And, don’t get a boyfriend on the first day of school…!
  • graduating college and starting your career? Be willing to do anything, money will come later, travel, have fun, work hard
  • falling in love and getting married: Be open minded, be kind, marry an older man. They tend have their shit figured out (or at least the ones I dated have).
  • ending a relationship: Trust your friends and family even when you don’t want to. They know more than you think and they mean well.
  • starting a family: Have faith, be open minded. And, don’t judge people.
  • pursuing a new career/career change: No risk, no gain. Change can be very hard but totally worth it.

What hidden talents do you have?: I can roll wine barrels pretty darn well!

What brings you joy?: Picking my kids up from school and seeing them so happy, and then seeing their faces when they see me. I love the excitement in their eyes.

What are the most cherished parts of your day?: I’m a morning person, however since my boys are young, mornings are a little crazy at our house. I love cuddling on the couch and watching a show before we go upstairs to give them baths in the evenings. I also love coming back downstairs after they are in bed and enjoying my glass of wine.

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?: Recently one of the teachers at my boys’ school told me she was amazed at how smart and venerable the boys are. I think when you have kids, they are an extension of you and man, that sure meant a lot to me.

What’s your best advice for other women?:

  • on career? Be willing do anything. Be nice (kindness goes along way), however still talk shit nicely, no one trusts someone who only ever says nice things.
  • family? If you want to have children, make sure you pick a great partner. See how they interact with kids or dogs before you have your own.
  • home? Get a house cleaner, delegate as much as you can when your kids are young
  • love? Talk to your partner. Communication is key even when you sometimes really dislike them. And, marriage counselors can be helpful.
  • life? You can have whatever you want, if you are willing to work for it. And, be kind.
  • productivity? Breaks can be a good thing. Do what you want, when you want. I really like to multitask since I think it keeps me going. I have clipboards on a wall in my office listing the status of all our projects. I did the same thing at home for our pantry. It really does help keep me organized, plus it looks cool!
  • any other topic that you feel passionately about? I know to be open-minded because one never knows the circumstances of other people

What did you do today?: Woke up at 5:15am because my youngest son just transferred to a big boy bed from his crib. He loves the freedom (me, not so much). I dropped the boys off at school at 7:30am, went to work, took a barre class at lunch, ran by the library, went to a meeting at the Boise Chamber, got home, helped make dinner, did bath time with the boys, put them to bed, had a glass of wine, laundry, and was in bed by 9pm

Profiles from The Woodsy’s original run, 2016–2018

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