OUR TEAM

We are battle-tested strategists with a broad array of experiences. We don’t give cookie-cutter answers to questions no one is asking.

We get smart quickly to understand the challenge and plot a successful course. We’re directed by facts, shaped by insights, and execute at the right moment for maximum impact.

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  • Arik Ben-Zvi

    Arik Ben-Zvi

    PRESIDENT,
    CEO & FOUnder

    Arik is the President, CEO and founder of Breakwater Strategy (BWS), a boutique strategic communications firm specializing in helping clients navigate the complex conversations of today’s turbulent environment.

    An experienced strategic advisor, Arik partners with client’s leadership teams and boards to solve critical business challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities. That work includes developing and communicating compelling enterprise-level narratives, managing complex issues and crises, and building strong two-way relationships and coalitions with diverse stakeholders.

    Formerly, Arik was an Executive Managing Director and a member of the founding team at The Glover Park Group (GPG). Arik’s clients included some of the world’s largest and most dynamic businesses as they undergo periods of historic change in their industries, markets and regulatory environments. Past and current clients include Disney, Anheuser-Busch, USAA, Verizon, Ford Motor Company, UnitedHealthcare and 21st Century Fox.

    Over the course of a his nearly twenty years of professional experience, Arik has helped dozens of clients secure key business objectives, including landmark legislative and regulatory outcomes, successful navigation of potentially damaging crises, and measurable improvements to reputation among consumers, opinion leaders, investors and employees.

    In addition to his client-facing responsibilities, as President and CEO, Arik is responsible for developing the firm’s growth strategy with a focus on innovation, new business partnerships, knowledge management, and continuous improvement of client service.

    Prior to founding Breakwater, Arik worked on domestic and international political campaigns, including the Gore-Lieberman campaign and Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s 2001 campaign in Israel. Arik holds a BA in History and Political Science from Tel Aviv University. Arik serves on the board of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Victoria, and three children.

  • Abbie McDonough

    Abbie McDonough

    Vice
    President

    Abbie McDonough has more than 15 years of experience in strategic and political communications, and crisis management. At Breakwater Strategy, she helps corporate, association, and nonprofit clients with internal and external communications and strategic planning, project and crisis management, and message strategy.

    Before joining Breakwater Strategy, she worked for more than a decade on Capitol Hill for three different U.S. senators and members of Congress, constantly juggling the communications challenges that come with working for Democrats from “red” states. She served as a senior advisor, crafting and executing strategic communications plans nationally and locally, and communicating a broad array of policy issues and messages on a daily basis.

    During her time in Congress, Abbie served as communications director for U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for five and a half years. She drafted and implemented strategic communications plans to build Sen. Heitkamp’s brand in North Dakota while developing her national profile. Abbie amplified Sen. Heitkamp’s efforts on key issues including supporting energy development during the height of the state’s energy boom, boosting and protecting access to health care, supporting working families, and standing up for Native American children. Abbie also handled the strategic communications around significant crises during her tenure with Sen. Heitkamp, including in the aftermath of a major crude oil derailment in North Dakota and during the tumultuous nomination fight of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

    Prior to working for Sen. Heitkamp, Abbie served as national press secretary for U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) where she crafted and delivered messages on key policy areas, particularly health care, energy, and job creation efforts.

    Abbie also served as communications director and spokesperson for U.S. Representative Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), while he served as a subcommittee chairman on the House Financial Services Committee during the 2008-2010 financial crisis and during the passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. She led communications efforts to amplify Rep. Kanjorski’s work as he held the first congressional hearings on the Madoff scandal and highly publicized proceedings on AIG, and as a he was a key negotiator and writer of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.

    Abbie graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in history. She played varsity squash. The team won the NCAA championship her senior year. Abbie lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Jeremy, and two daughters.

  • Lydie Neill

    Lydie Neill


    Senior Associate

    As a Senior Associate at Breakwater Strategy, Lydie assists co-founders and senior staff in the development and execution of strategic communications campaigns. Main responsibilities of her role include content development, media monitoring and analysis. Additionally, she works as a project manager, providing organizational support for the boutique firm. Prior to Breakwater, Lydie worked as a strategic communications assistant at The Glover Park Group (GPG) where she provided administrative support and assisted client teams with media monitoring and other client deliverables.

    Originally from North Carolina, Lydie is a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in Media and Journalism and a minor in Hispanic Studies. While in Chapel Hill, Lydie worked as a Public Relations and Marketing Intern for the Family Enterprise Center at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and a Public Relations Intern for Largemouth Communications, a boutique PR agency. Within both roles, Lydie assisted with social media monitoring, press releases and brand building.

  • Nick Rosenberg

    Nick Rosenberg

    Associate
    Director

    Nick works on the Research and Insights team and develops, executes, and analyzes public opinion research to inform Breakwater’s strategic guidance. He crafts integrated research programs that leverage quantitative, qualitative, and digital methodologies providing valuable data, analysis, and insights.

    Prior to joining Breakwater Strategy, Nick worked for several years at PSB, a global custom research and analytics consultancy and member of the BCW Group. During his time at PSB, Nick assisted on and managed a variety of expansive research engagements including dynamic crisis responses, global mixed-methodology studies, and stakeholder communications reviews for blue-chip corporations, leading non-profits, and government agencies. Nick’s introduction to strategic communications came as an intern at the Glover Park Group, where he learned to love public opinion research, and the importance of good backroom snacks during focus-groups.

    Nick graduated from Colby College, with distinction in Government and Economics. Nick was born in Glover Park, grew up in Bethesda, M.D., and is a long-suffering D.C. sports fan. When he’s not working, he’s probably checking the latest polling on RealClearPolitics, or listening to his favorite podcasts from the Ringer and Vox Media.

  • Nora Wahlbrink

    Nora Wahlbrink

    Senior
    Associate

    Nora aids senior staff and founders at Breakwater in developing and executing communication strategy. Her main responsibilities include creating client deliverables and monitoring media, as well as providing administrative support to senior staff.

    Prior to joining the Breakwater team, Nora worked as an account coordinator at LEVICK, a D.C.-based crisis communications firm, where she developed strategy and content for clients in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, energy, professional services and finance, cyber security, and more. She has experience communicating around litigation, mergers and acquisitions, executive transitions, data breaches, and other issues.

    Originally from Rockville MD, Nora graduated with honors from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a minor in Business. During college, Nora interned at Siemens Government Technologies, the government contracting arm of the German tech giant, where she managed internal communications channels and assisted with media relations and crisis matters.

  • Steve Weber

    Steve Weber

    Managing
    Director

    As Managing Director at BWS, Steve brings his core expertise in strategy and decision making to the most complex challenges facing organizations at the intersection of economics, technology, politics, regulation, and human understanding through narrative.

    Alongside a thirty year academic career at the University of California Berkeley (where he has a joint appointment as Professor at the School of Information and in the department of Political Science), Steve has advised global firms, government agencies, and non-profit organizations around the world on risk analysis, strategy, and communications, using a diverse set of qualitative and quantitative methods fit to purpose. Recognized as one of the world’s most expert practitioners of scenario planning, Steve has worked with more than 50 companies and organizations to develop this discipline as a strategy planning tool in uncertain and turbulent business environments. He started his advisory career at the boutique consulting firm Global Business Network in the 1990s and in the 2000s worked with The Monitor Group to help clients navigate transitions in information technology, finance, health care, consumer goods, and other sectors transformed by digital and by evolving global and national political economy.

    Steve served as special political advisor to the first president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He was Director of the Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley from 2003 to 2009, and in 2015 he founded the Center for Long Term Cybersecurity at UC Berkeley, where he directs a multi-disciplinary research program on emerging digital security issues at the intersection of new technologies, human behavior, and risk calculations made by firms and governments. His best known book, The Success of Open Source, was the first extensive study of how the open source software community works. His most recent book  Bloc by Bloc:  How to Organize a Global Enterprise (2019) explains how economic geography is evolving around machine learning, and the consequences for multinational organizations in the post financial and Covid crises world.

    Steve brings a research-based innovation discipline to strategy and communications problems, along with a deep commitment to creative engagement with how people understand their environment, change their minds, and ultimately change the world through narrative. Steve lives in Oakland California with his partner Regina and two Burmese cats named Napoleon and Mrs. Peel.  All four are life-long-suffering fans of the New York Football Giants.

  • Ben Williams

    Ben Williams

    Associate
    Director

    Ben is an Associate Director at Breakwater Strategy, where he collaborates with executive and senior staff to develop and deliver impactful communications campaigns and provide sound strategic advice to clients. In this role he regularly conducts research and analysis, and develops content, messaging, strategic insights and creative tactics to achieve client goals. Additionally, he works as a project manager for internal and external assignments.

    Prior to joining Breakwater, Ben was a Senior Associate in the Washington, D.C. office of High Lantern Group, a strategic communications and positioning firm where he worked with corporate, trade association and nonprofit clients across a range of industries and issues. At HLG, he worked on a number of global communications efforts and issues management projects. From 2013-2016, he was on the research team at Correct The Record, a research and rapid response communications organization working in support of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

    Originally from Massachusetts, Ben graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in History. When he’s not in Washington, D.C., he can be found catching a game featuring one of his favorite Boston sports teams, spending time on the Maine coast or skiing.

  • Jim Wyderko

    Jim Wyderko

    Senior
    Associate

    Jim assists senior staff and founding members in creating strategic communications campaigns and developing impactful messaging materials. His main responsibilities include producing content, tracking and analyzing media, and providing administrative support for clients and accounts.

    Prior to joining Breakwater, Jim interned in the Obama-Biden White House, US Department of State and UK Parliament, where he developed policy, messaging, and media content in a wide range of issue areas.

    Originally from Rockville, MD, Jim graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He also studied at the London School of Economics as part of the Hansard Society Scholars program, where he completed an undergraduate thesis analyzing the effects of the 2018 Chinese waste import ban on the infrastructure of the UK recycling economy.