Breezy Paulus, Assurance Director at CLA
WIPN Tampa/St. Petersburg Chapter Co-chair
As a longstanding member of WIPN, how has WIPN had an impact on you and your career? WIPN has inspired me to go further with my Certified Public Accounting career within the Employee Benefit Plan (EBP) space. Previously, my work in EBP was a secondary practice, but within the last 3 years, my love of the work and the people I’ve met within the space and within WIPN encouraged me to become primarily involved in EBP nearly 100% of the time.
Why did you step forward to volunteer as a co-chair in your local chapter? My boss and role model/mentor, Maria Morales, was previously involved in the local chapter committee and encouraged me to come to the events early on. She also encouraged me to take on a leadership role to help build my career, my knowledge, and myself from a personal standpoint. The local chapter has had such great events and I want to be a part of growing the WIPN Tampa/St. Petersburg chapter even further.
How important is it for you to be a role model for the upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry? Getting out there, in any industry, can be a scary and daunting idea. But knowing you don’t have to do it alone is what helps me push through to achieve my goals. I want the upcoming generations of women to feel the same way – that they are not alone and that they are powerful enough to do whatever they want.
What has been most important to your career so far – a mentor, a sponsor or both? My mentor, Maria, has been with me since early on in my career and has been with me every step of the way providing guidance, constructive criticism, encouragement and pretty much everything under the sun. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her support. I highly recommend finding a mentor that you click with – the benefits of developing that relationship will help you go further than you may think.
Becca Walker, QPFC
Internal Sales Manager Retirement Services, OneAmerica
WIPN NYC Chapter Co-chair
How has WIPN had an impact on you and your career? During my membership I have been truly amazed by the willingness of each member to connect and share experiences. It is truly inspiring to see the impact these women make in their personal and professional lives.
Why did you step forward to volunteer as a co-chair in your local chapter? I decided to volunteer as a co-chair soon after joining WIPN. The opportunity presented itself and I was excited to take it! I have seen from the outside, what an impact this organization makes, and I am honored to have the opportunity to take a leadership role in the WIPN Indianapolis Chapter. I am excited to watch our chapter grow.
How important is it for you to be a role model for the upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry? It is very important to be a role model for upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry. We have such a unique opportunity to engage with other women and keep them excited about the opportunity we have in an industry that has such a big impact on so many people.
What has been most important to your career so far – a mentor, a sponsor or both? Having a professional support system is a game changer. It’s important to have a group of people around you to share experiences with, get direction, and learn from. A mentor to me is someone who listens, shares, and helps to push you forward. Having a mentor is like having a professional coach on your side.
Any other thoughts you would like to add? In the short period of time I have been involve in WIPN, I have had the opportunity to take advantage of several opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. I am thankful to be a part of this group of women.
Yolanda Reyes White, QPA, QKA
Relationship Manager, Morley Capital
As a longstanding member of WIPN, how has WIPN had an impact on you and your career? Being part of WIPN for the past several years has been a major catalyst in getting me where I am today. From the very first time WIPN was introduced to me by my colleague, to the first event I went to at a conference, to the inaugural WIPN Oregon lunch meeting, I felt part of a strong community of experienced, resourceful, and powerful women. When one feels part of a group connected by shared experiences, inspirations, and goals, you feel supported. From this place of support and community, you are more likely to be successful in achieving your own goals.
Why did you step forward to volunteer as a co-chair in your local chapter? I felt honored and humbled to be asked to be a co-chair for WIPN Oregon by Andrea Nitta. I have long admired her ability to connect a group of like-minded people for a formal or informal conversation that typically leads to laughter, connection, and a new insight I hadn’t previously considered. I’d like to learn this super-power she possesses, and I think serving as co-chair for WIPN Oregon along with Lori Zeman will give me the perfect opportunity to learn from some of the best.
How important is it for you to be a role model for the upcoming generations of women in the retirement industry? This is an incredibly important aspect of what I see as achieving success in my career. I see being a role model for upcoming generations of women, especially women of color as my responsibility, honor, and contribution toward the path forward to equity.
What has been most important to your career so far – a mentor, a sponsor or both? Both my mentors and sponsors have been incredibly important in my career because they have come at different periods when I have needed them most. Looking back, I was so grateful to have a mentor to help me navigate a new company, career and role and being a new member to the industry. Later in my career, I have benefited greatly from having a sponsor that has advocated on my behalf for advancement.