Life at Breakthru

Celebrating the Women of Breakthru During Women’s History Month

women of breakthru header

Mar. 10, 2020

Introduction by Alison Hamm, Director of Integrated Marketing Communications, Breakthru Beverage Group

Here at Breakthru, we’re committed to telling the stories of the talented people behind so many of the brands consumers love. Over the years, we’ve profiled master whiskey blenders, winemakers, sustainability specialists, company founders — and more — with still more stories to come in 2020 and beyond.

It’s important to note that in an industry that has long been dominated by men, and their stories, that all the above-mentioned profiles are about women.

We’ll be highlighting these stories throughout the month of March, as we celebrate Women’s History Month. As we consider the exciting possibilities of an industry that’s more inclusive than ever before, we’re thrilled to also share the perspectives of our own talented associates and leaders that you’ll read below.

There’s not one answer to the question of “What does it mean to be a woman in this industry?” — there are many. And we’re excited to continue telling these unique stories, not only in March, but throughout the year.



Tara Marohl

Tara Marohl

Sales Manager, Breakthru Minnesota

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
Being a woman in the Wine and Spirits Industry is truly empowering, because historically, this was a male-dominated industry. Organizations such as Women of the Vine & Spirits provide a strong network of successful women and serves as a platform for the entire industry to recognize female leaders. In the eight and a half years I have worked for Breakthru Minnesota, I have been fortunate to have had amazing mentors, both female and male, and to have been able to hold positions in several different aspects of the business, including sales, trade development, and sales management.



Amanda Doll

Amanda Doll

Director of Learning and Development,
Connecticut Distributors, Inc.

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
The alcohol industry is so dynamic. Our products, our customers and our business are always evolving. As a company, we have really embraced the philosophy that a diverse group of voices at the table is crucial to our success. The more perspectives we include, the stronger we are. It is rewarding to see so many talented young women joining the business. I am personally grateful for the support and advocacy that the women in our company, and our industry, provide for one another!



Logan Furlong

Logan Furlong

Field Sales Manager, Breakthru Delaware

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
In my career at Breakthru, I have had a supportive team that has encouraged me to grow in my various roles with the company. The beverage industry continues to become more diverse and I am proud to be one of the many talented women driving change. Cheers to those who paved the way!



Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson

Trade Development Manager, Breakthru Maryland/D.C.

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
I started in this industry a decade ago as a college student doing tastings for extra money. I fell in love with the business and decided to make it my career. As the years have passed, I’ve seen how the industry has transitioned from a male-dominated field to one where women are the leaders at both the distributor and supplier levels. When I see a female distiller, winemaker, CEO, salesperson, master blender, retailer, brand ambassador—I’m so thrilled! It’s rewarding to be in the presence of other female beverage professionals. Women are incredibly knowledgeable on industry trends, and it’s great to see the trade recognize and embrace the female presence. Being not only a woman, but an ethnic woman in the beverage industry, I’m proud to bring diversity to this field. I hope that I provide the same motivation and encouragement to other women looking to get into our business, and look forward to being a part of the continuous growth of women in this industry!



Deborah Key

Deborah Key

Director of Event Management, Breakthru Florida

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
I have been truly fortunate to work with talented women and men during my eight years with Breakthru Beverage. From day one, I have been supported and encouraged by my managers, peers and suppliers while pursing personal and professional goals. I continue to learn more about the industry by attending courses, going to sales training seminars, and industry tastings with winemakers and master distillers. I am currently studying for the WSET Level 3 Wine exam. I look forward to growing and developing with Breakthru Beverage and the Events Team. For such a large industry, I am amazed at how it always feels like family.



Debby Wang

Debby Wang

Director of Analytics & Insights, Breakthru Beverage Group

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
Our industry needs brilliant people, and women are brilliant. To me, it’s a natural partnership…if we’re not close to 50/50 across our employee and leadership mix, we have a lot of upside to look forward to. Gender and other diversification is an opportunity not specific to our industry as studies have shown that hedge funds run by women consistently outperform ones run by men, and Goldman Sachs has just announced it will no longer take companies public without a diverse board. What it means to me is that I am proud to help BBG become stronger by promoting cultural diversity and finding the right echo chambers on important issues.



Therese Rednor

Therese Rednor

Senior Manager, Breakthru Colorado

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
I feel very honored to work in an industry for the past 20 years which has always been predominantly male-driven because it’s given me an opportunity to learn and absorb a variety of different management styles, as well as a variety of ways to analyze business results. I’ve learned how to have uncomfortable conversations in professional settings and be involved in meetings where tough questions are asked. It’s also been a privilege to watch this industry evolve and diversify to include more women and more people of various backgrounds.



Tracy Sturm

Tracy Sturm

Fine Wine Specialist, Breakthru Wisconsin

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
When I started my distributor career in 1993 at Continental Distributing in Chicago, we had 125 sales consultants and approximately 10 percent were women. My first supervisor wasn’t convinced we should have women sales consultants and when I was promoted seven months later, he told me that I had changed his view and we should hire more women. Throughout my career, I have held several positions both in sales and management and often I was the only woman in the room during meetings. I never felt alone and was lucky to have mentors—both male and female—who guided me along the way. Looking back, I have tried to approach my career with a positive attitude and passion for our industry, no matter the obstacles. As we start a new decade, I am heartened by the increase in women at all levels and will continue to support, mentor, and encourage women to develop their careers within our company while championing others to join our industry.



Marissa Brown

Marissa Brown

Sales Manager, Breakthru Illinois

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
It’s an exciting time to be a woman in our industry. I’ve had the pleasure of working for the Wirtz Family and now Breakthru Beverage for 9 years and I remember when I first became a District Manager it seemed like I was one of the only females in the room. Now, when I look around, I see more and more females in management positions. As a leader, I have the power to set an example for other young females in our company. I’ve been lucky enough to coach and mentor several ladies throughout their career here at Breakthru and it’s rewarding seeing them thrive in their current roles. I feel extremely fortunate to work for a company where inclusion and diversity are not just encouraged but lived throughout the culture of our organization. I have always felt empowered by our leadership team here in Illinois and have been given great opportunities to grow as a woman in the industry and for that I am thankful.



Liz Lockwood

Liz Lockwood

Field Sales Manager, Breakthru Virginia

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
To be a woman in the beverage industry is wonderful and empowering! We have the ability to be strong leaders through our own strength, compassion, innovation, creativity, and dedication to our work and families. Through these actions we are able to create a strong team and hopefully a powerfully ally in our customers.



Monica Naumoff

Monica Naumoff

Account Development Specialist, Breakthru South Carolina

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
Breakthru Beverage has empowered me to achieve and develop this Account Development Role into a type of hybrid position, focusing mainly on luxury resorts and high-end country clubs. This company has trusted my vision for this role and provided me every resource possible to support my success. I’ve also been able to attend outside conferences such as Women of the Vine, as well as an abundance of continuing education opportunities, which has helped grow my skillset and my career in this industry.



Supreet Hassler

Supreet Hassler

Director of National Accounts, Breakthru Arizona

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
It is exciting to be a part of this ever-evolving industry. It is imperative for us to continue to grow the number of women in our business and help to highlight different ways of thinking through leadership and mentorship. I feel lucky to be part of an organization willing to invest in women and the diversity of thought that we bring to our business.



Lorraine Ventresca

Lorraine Ventresca

Vice President of Sales, Breakthru Canada

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
Women bring a different perspective to management, leadership and business and these differences offer competitive advantages to our performance. I’m very proud to be have been a part of our industry for almost 25 years now. It has not been uncommon to be the only female in senior level meetings over the years. As a result, during my tenure, it’s been very important to be a vocal influencer as there have been few female perspectives available to be considered. I’m very competitive by nature so it’s exciting to see the increased focus of leadership to develop of more diverse workforce. Through this diversity, I believe we will set Breakthru Beverage apart and allow us to achieve a great commercial success at a more accelerated rate!



Maura Quinn

Maura Quinn

Sales Representative, Breakthru Pennsylvania

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
It’s an honor to be a woman in this industry. I feel that more women are stepping into leadership roles not only at Breakthru, but in the wineries and distilleries that we represent. Female winemakers are making a huge impact on the industry and it’s a privilege to be part of their representation.



Shalom Davidson

Shalom Davidson

Senior Business Manager, Breakthru Nevada

What does it mean to me to be a woman in this industry?
I’m often the only woman at the table, but I feel that is an opportunity and not a disadvantage. I strongly believe that gender diversity is one of the ways that we can unlock greater growth potential within our industry. A balanced workforce, that reflects our consumer base, provides a competitive advantage within our business. It is important to find champions within senior management that encourage gender diversity through growth opportunities for high-performing individuals within our workforce. Personally, I value working in a team with a diverse skillset and background. I’m grateful to the mentors who recognized my potential and invested their time to help me to grow in my career with Breakthru.



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