Alex joined Breakwater Strategy earlier this year as a Vice President. She comes to Breakwater via Rivel, a data-driven investor relations consulting firm. During her time at Rivel, Alex oversaw the workflow and research activities for the company’s investor perception research business. In this role, she provided senior executives and investor relations professionals with customized communications solutions, distilling complex data into actionable insight.
For the next installation in our “On the Record” series, we talked to Alex about how she’s settling in and raising the barre — both at Breakwater and beyond.
What drew you to a strategic insights and communications firm?
Prior to joining Breakwater, I was working at an investor relations consulting firm. While there, I saw the power of effective comms and the way in which it can shape investor perceptions of a company and I’m fascinated with the way that minor tweaks to messaging or strategic approach can have a tangible impact. That said, I was operating in a very niche pocket of strategic advisory and was looking to expand my skill set beyond just investor relations, so what really drew me to Breakwater was the opportunity to get exposure to the broader world of strategic communications.
What’s one thing that has surprised you so far in your time at Breakwater?
While it’s not uncommon for companies to say they have a collaborative culture, something that’s surprised me is that Breakwater really “walks the walk” in that regard. The organizational structure is flat by design and I think that really speaks to the way in which the company operates. Colleagues who might not be assigned to a particular account are encouraged to brainstorm solutions to what can be really complex problems, and I think taking in the perspective of the entire firm and looking at it through different lenses is something that really sets the company apart. It breaks down this idea of “siloed business units” and reinforces the idea of collaboration, which has definitely been a great surprise since joining.
What topic could you give an hour-long presentation on with little to no preparation?
I could probably give an hour long presentation about ballet. I grew up dancing and love nothing more than attending performances at the Kennedy Center here in DC or at Lincoln Center in New York. When I invite friends to join me who might have limited knowledge of ballet I take on the responsibility of prepping them in advance for the performance we’re going to, letting them know the plot of the show, any iconic scenes they should be aware of, and basic ballet positions they’re going to be seeing on stage. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge of the artform and hope that they’ll appreciate it as much as I do.
Speaking of knowledge-sharing: what are your favorite non-traditional news sources?
I probably rely on the more traditional sources for the majority of my news, but having said that, I do love podcasts. There are a few — The Daily, Post Reports, Mo News and Up First — I listen to on almost a daily basis that will do an in-depth dive into various topics; whether it’s politics, business stories or cultural events. I also follow the twitter accounts of a few industry experts and journalists I trust so that I can get their perspective in the moment when there are breaking news stories.
Alex received her MS in international relations from Royal Holloway, University of London and her BA in political science from the University of Connecticut.