Home is where the office is: Where is your Breakwater Strategy?

The BWS team at the annual Summer Retreat in Virginia.

In the new age of hybrid workplaces, the question of where to live and work has evolved from a discussion centered around necessity and proximity to one more focused on opportunity and freedom. When you are not forced to live in one particular location, you start to examine your residence more critically: do I want to live in the heart of the big city, or do I want the quiet peace of the countryside? The Breakwater Strategy team has all had to contend with these questions, and many have made big moves within the past few years (as evidenced by the change in their Zoom backgrounds, which is always a point of lively conversation). 

Some of us have chosen to live near the office in Washington, DC, while others have opted to be closer to friends and family. Despite the team being so spread apart, we make the effort to meet in-person at least twice a year, as we did most recently at our summer retreat in Virginia. We’re all members of the same team, but these meetings serve as a reminder that we all live richly unique lives away from work at our respective homebases. 

Check out what some of our BWS team members have to say about why they love where they live and work: 

Arik Benzvi, CEO – Washington, DC

When you’re a parent, home is where…the kids are. Of all the many ways the era of remote work changed people’s perspective on where to live/work, for parents of young kids the change has been unique. In the before-times, we lived where the office was and then made kid-related choices like school districts, sometimes making trade-offs like commute times. Now, it’s more complicated. For my family, we were extraordinarily lucky to discover our pre-pandemic set up in Washington translated well to the new reality: we love our local DC public school (which did an amazing job through the worst months of 2020/21); our house allowed for remote work (although some colleagues/clients may have been disturbed at seeing my bedroom for the past three years); and we had enough help to keep the kids cared for during work hours (and if I’m being honest I love the interruptions that drew me from writing a memo to playing a quick round of Uno). It’s been a blessing that we never take for granted. The bigger takeaway is companies, government, society at large needs to keep parents in mind. We all have more choices, but that doesn’t mean things have gotten any easier. Now, I’m off to find some misplaced swim goggles….

Simone Jackenthal, Director – Potomac, MD

I chose to live in Potomac because it’s close enough to the city for an easy commute, but also has a more suburban feel. Our neighborhood has a lot of beautiful trees and birds that I like to admire from my window when I work from home. It’s also great living near the Great Falls and taking hikes with my dogs on the trails. We are incredibly lucky to have the flexibility to come into the office in the city or work from home! 

Jin Kang, Senior Associate – Raleigh, NC

Endless trees, limitless sky, North Carolina will always represent both the comfort of home and the thrill of adventure. Being centrally located in the capital city of Raleigh, I can take spontaneous trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Outer Banks on any given weekend. During the week, I can do my work from any of the many local coffee shops in the Research Triangle area. When I think of work, life, and balance, there is no better home for me than North Carolina. 

Lydie Neill, Director – Raleigh, NC

I live in Raleigh — not too far from my family across the state in Chapel Hill, Winston Salem, Asheville and Rocky Mount — and love my work from home “office” (see: a desk in a bedroom) with my space heater and 2-year-old pup Mack always in sight. Before 2020, I lived in DC and, like so many others, did the daily 9-6 in the office without thinking twice. I’m so grateful to work with an incredible team, mostly based in DC, who I can visit with a quick 45 min flight or 4 hour drive, but I’m also grateful to be an even quicker drive to family, lifelong friends and UNC basketball. 

Haley Prince, Associate – New York City, NY 

You may think I am crazy for paying NYC rent as my job does not require me to be there in any capacity… yet I still participated in the post-grad “Great Migration” to New York. Quite a few people asked me if I was hesitant about remote work, especially as my first job out of college. I told them quite the opposite. My experience as an intern at Breakwater Strategy demonstrated that working from home could be additive rather than subtractive. I still have the close relationships, mentorship, and banter of a fantastic work environment – but all that happens while I run a load of laundry and strut on my walking pad at my standing desk. 

Adi Volosov, Associate – Orlando, FL

Spending most of my time living and working in downtown Orlando means I’ve become very familiar with where I can rely on for the best balance of delicious breakfast and a quiet-but-not-too-quiet working corner. My morning walks on cobblestone streets by Lake Eola, energized by the prospect of a new day and some much needed coffee, have become one of my favorite parts of my work from home routine. In the best of both worlds, having the flexibility to pop up to DC and see everyone in person for our quarterly meetings offers a nice change of pace if I ever need it. 

Nora Wahlbrink, Associate Director – Washington, DC

Having the flexibility to work from home or go into the office on any given day is such a luxury for me. I recently have been going in 1-2 days per week. I love having the option of working from the office so I can chat with my coworkers and grab a delicious free lunch, but it’s also nice that I never feel obligated to. On days when I’m not in the office, you can find me working from the rooftop of my building, dogsitting and hitting 14th street or Adams Morgan for happy hour.

Steve Weber, Partner – Rhinebeck, NY

After almost 40 years living in the rapid race of Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Berkeley, living in a 3 stop light farm town is a wonderful change. A change that gives me more time and quiet space to ignore distractions and focus on a smaller number of more important things. Anytime you need to be ‘in the middle of the mix’, NYC is 90 minutes away. Most of the time, I prefer the quiet. And the fact that technology here is just one part of everyones’ life, not the center of it. Oh yeah and did I mention the farm breweries everywhere??

Ben Williams, Director – Washington, DC

Living and working in the northeast quadrant of DC is a great mix of quiet neighborhoods, lively restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, lots of green space, and easy access to downtown. I love having the flexibility of working from home or taking a short bus ride into Metro Center to visit the office. From home I have lots of great options to explore different areas of DC: dog walks in Capitol Hill, the Arboretum, or down by the river, food, drink, and market vendors at Eastern Market or the Union Market District, or new restaurants and bars on H Street. It’s a great home base for getting out and exploring.