Celebrating Women’s History Month: Staff Reflections on Annual Women’s History Month BWS Ladies Lunch

In honor of Women’s History Month, the ladies of Breakwater Strategy come together for the firm’s annual Women’s History Month Ladies Lunch. We use this time to celebrate the amazing women who are part of the BWS team and to host an open conversation around our workplace experiences and hurdles while also brainstorming practical ways to overcome them. 

It’s a unique opportunity to speak candidly with our leaders and peers about shared identity. It’s  invaluable to have dedicated time set aside for reflection, support and growth. Our conversations are mostly open-ended and touch upon a few key themes such as workplace confidence, imposter syndrome, work-life balance, and mental health. 

Since our first Ladies Lunch, the Breakwater team has grown and our conversations continue to introduce new and important perspectives that foster connection and supportive relationships that last beyond our time together. Below are reflections from the ladies of BWS on their experiences and value of our most recent Ladies Lunch:  

Amy Benziger, Vice President 

I just came back from maternity leave, so coming back to a Ladies Lunch on my second week back was such a sweet and supportive part of easing back into the working world. It feels wonderful to be co-creating an environment of growth for the women in the firm. It’s something I wish I had in the early part of my career and something I can appreciate is an incredibly rare thing in most jobs. It’s been a total joy to see all of the women on the team learning from and with each other. It’s definitely the embodiment of a rising tide lifts all boats. 

Simone Jackenthal, Director 

As a new employee at Breakwater, it was great to have this space for women in the workplace to discuss our experiences and recommendations for others. I’m moved by how supportive all of our colleagues are and while we all come from different backgrounds, it’s clear that we have so many shared experiences. I’m looking forward to the next Ladies Lunch! 

Caryn Leahy, Vice President

I’m inspired by all of my Breakwater colleagues on a daily basis. But watching the other women on the team grow into confident, compassionate, and authentic leaders is one of my greatest joys in being a part of this firm. We are not all the same – and there’s no one right way to succeed in the client services business. For that reason, it’s so important that we find opportunities to learn from each other and celebrate our unique skills, styles and personalities. Our annual Ladies Lunch does just that and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite times of the year.

Lydie Neill, Associate Director

I feel incredibly lucky to say that I genuinely get excited for each Ladies Lunch — not just time to spend with coworkers outside of work, but badass women sharing their success tips and how to get over some of the humps that we sometimes forget other women encounter. The validation and relatability is real. There are prompts to kick off the lunch, but mostly the conversation is loose and we always end up wishing we had blocked off an extra 30 minutes. It’s a nice break from the work day, but it’s also immensely important work that I personally feel contributes to my professional growth. 

Karianna Torres, Senior Associate

Working remotely can be isolating at times, but BWS Ladies Lunches closes that gap and allows us to have a space of inclusiveness and trust. Because of our conversation last year on workplace confidence, I always find myself using the tips and reflecting on the advice that were shared from my coworkers. This has helped me advocate for myself and put my best work forward. I leave each lunch feeling empowered and appreciative that my female colleagues are always willing to support my professional development every step of the way. 

Adi Volosov, Associate

There are certain experiences that can’t be fully articulated. It’s unique, and sometimes difficult, to have such candid conversations with my coworkers, but I come out the other side each time calmer, more confident, and with a more solid sense of identity as a young professional. Having a group of women around me who create such an immediately understanding, comfortable, safe, and supportive environment is one of my favorite things about Breakwater. 

Nora Wahlbrink, Associate Director

I always come away from Ladies Lunch conversations feeling incredibly inspired by the women around me, what they have overcome and how willing they are to help others succeed. The special part to me is not even the hour lunch itself (though it’s an amazing time). It’s the part that comes after, when we take what we’ve learned and talked about – whether it be workplace confidence, tactics for playing a bigger role in account work, or talking through issues happening real time – and use it when working together to support each other, remind each other of our value and hold ourselves accountable to being the best we can be. I would not be the professional or woman I am today without this group of women and our time together!