AlphaTauri F1's Dominyka Kukuryte: "I knew that I wanted to go higher and bigger"
© Joel Dale
From making the decision to follow her heart to celebrating her first full season in Formula 1, Dominyka Kukuryte, Partnership Manager at Scuderia AlphaTauri F1 Team, never gave up and always stood tall in the pursuit of her goals. In the recap of the journey that took her from Lithuania to F1, Females in Motorsport discussed the highs and lows of choosing your own paths, what it takes to succeed, and why you shouldn't give up on your dreams – no matter what people think.
If there was a perfect recipe for achieving dreams, Dominyka would be the one to master it.
● A heap of instinct
● A generous pinch of self confidence
● A dash of patience
● A spoonful of courage
● A cheerful and kind attitude to garnish
"Everything started in Italy, near Turin, where I volunteered the summer before my last year in high school," Dominyka tells Females in Motorsport. "I'd just turned 18, and I had no idea how that trip would change my life. I fell in love immediately with the city and occasionally daydreamed about what it'd be like if I moved here to study, even if my plans were going to Amsterdam."
“Before enrolling in a university, I decided to take a gap year. And it’s astonishing how life will present you with opportunities once you make the decision to act. People I’ve met in Italy have invited me to spend one year in Montevideo, Uruguay, and work with different social projects.”
“After a year in Latin America, a lot has changed,” she says. “Being alone in a foreign country, adapting to different culture and language, and overcoming daily challenges have grown me a lot. I’ve felt that I didn’t want to go to study again in a new country and new city, but I wanted to come back to Turin, where I felt I belonged.”
Dominyka decided to take on a new challenge and enrol in an Italian university without knowing Italian. She has chosen a Bachelor's in Languages and Cultures for Tourism in Spanish and French, followed by a Master's degree in International Business at ESCP Business School. "I remember reading notes from other students, translating them into Lithuanian, and returning to class with notes in Italian and Lithuanian to try to understand what the professor was talking about. After six months, I took my first exam in Italian and passed it. I'll never forget it."
During the second year of university, Dominyka needed to complete a curricular internship. “Among all the proposals in the job placement, there was a corporate events agency. I told myself it might be interesting, as I’ve always been very organized and worked at a few events in the past.”
Dominyka remained at the agency for another 4 years, organising different events, meetings, conferences, and incentives. “In one of the projects I was assigned, I oversaw logistics and hospitality for a sailing event in Italian venues. This was when I realised I wanted to continue pursuing my career in sports events. I loved the balance between working in the office and being on the field, the passion, adrenaline, and international sports setting.”
© Josh Kruse
Dominyka stresses how meaningful experiences are in life. “Never stop being curious about the world. Try new things, discover, explore, and change. You can’t be where you can’t see. Only by exploring can you discover your new passion that could become your career.” This is precisely what happened with Dominyka, who, after years of trying different experiences, finally discovered her niche – sports partnerships.
“The first step towards my goal was finding a sports marketing agency specialising in sponsorship management. I believe an agency is a perfect way to start in the sports business, as you learn a lot from different perspectives.” Dominyka fell in love with the job immediately, “I loved the variety of what sports partnerships includes, from pure marketing strategies, content creation, events, communication, relationship with different people, the balance between on-site and office activities. It’s just a perfect combination for a multipotential person like me.”
Dominyka believes that the career path is usually incidental – the little things happening throughout your life open new horizons. "I know my passion is events, sports, traveling, and organisation, and I just followed my heart. I'd never considered working in F1, but I knew that I wanted to go higher and bigger," she says.
"I must thank my partner, who is a mechanical engineer and is obsessed with motorsports. He got me hyped about F1 that I decided I ambitiously wanted to work there. And one more time, when you make the decision, the universe helps to make it happen. The position opened up in Scuderia AlphaTauri, and I immediately thought it would be an amazing opportunity to enter a global setting while keeping my roots in Italy."
And, as great things come to great people, Dominyka joined Formula 1 as Partnership Manager for the Scuderia AlphaTauri F1 Team. Currently, she supervises and manages sponsors for the Italian-based team, ensuring that they each get the most out of their partnership and achieve strategic objectives.
© Peter Fox
"Our job nature splits into racetrack and office," she says. "Meetings, emails, paperwork, organisation, and race preparation make up most of a typical day in the office. On race weekends, the world gets more exciting because you're constantly on the move and must adjust to new surroundings, people, and schedules. We focus on managing guests' on-track experiences and events. You can never get bored being a partnership manager in F1, as the job is very varied and always demands your best!"
However, just like any responsibility, it comes with difficulties, struggles, and exhaustion, so you need to maintain a healthy balance with everything. While those who work in F1 may seem invincible, we must remember that we're all human. Managing your time is one of the biggest challenges within the sport.
"Our work environment is fast-paced, and we're simultaneously working on different projects with multiple partners across multiple time zones and geographical locations," she says. "You might be managing the activation at the current race while overseeing the other partners' events for the following races or back at the factory."
© Peter Fox
Flexibility comes in first when Dominyka lists the qualities that a Partnership Manager must possess.
“It could start raining when you least expect it, someone could get lost, or there could be traffic – you must be prepared to solve problems,” she says. “It's not the end of the world; let’s see what's wrong and figure out how to fix it. Be adaptable not only to potential problems but also to your work, people, and customers.”
Moving on, Dominyka also adds organisation and communication to the list of requirements that are a must for anyone interested in working in partnership management.
"With numerous clients, races, and projects, if you aren’t organised, you’ll undoubtedly forget something,” she says. “We want to provide top-notch service to our clients and partners to show them our commitment and belief in the project.”
“I always say that we’re like a middleman, because we stand between the rights holder and the partner. Internal communication is crucial as we need be efficient working many different internal stakeholders both of partner and team. Only working together, we can make the magic happen.”
Dominyka battled to make it to Formula 1 but now she’s there, thriving and growing into a role that demands so much.
“Never listen to anyone else but yourself, or your heart,” she says. “It's a cliche, but Thomas Edison only succeeded in creating the light bulb after failing 1,000 times—and this is true. If you truly want to accomplish something, you must try and try again. Your personal success starts with the decision to make it, not the circumstance around you.”
© Peter Fox
Dominyka is marking her first full season with Scuderia AlphaTauri. “I've been reviewing the past year lately,” she says. “So many things have happened, that it seems I have at least three years of F1 experience. I feel grateful and honoured to work in this industry, with amazing and talented people. Learning and growing every single day, sharing the passion, and trying to give the best experience for our partners.”
“I definitely want to stay in the industry. Even though this world is crazy, I love my job and I feel like fish in a water. Maybe in 10 years, I’ll get tired, but we will see. In five years, I hope to have a family, my own team, and possibly hold the leadership position within Events and Partnerships. I know I can go further and bigger.”
Click here to find out more about the most recent open vacancies at Scuderia AlphaTauri F1 Team.
If you want to learn more about the world of partnership management, also check out our interviews with Elisabetta Bonetti, Barbara Clemente, Kat Farmer, and Victoria Rowley.