Alumni Profile: Breeanna Wallence Ebben '97

  • Breeanna Wallence Ebben '97 Breeanna Wallence Ebben '97

History Major, WGSS Minor, 1997 , Global Director of Regional Marketing for Reed Smith LLP in New York City, wife, and mom to Ryan (6) and Eleanor (3)

Some of the fondest memories of my life are from my years spent at F&M. The friends, relationships, and life lessons that I acquired during my days at college are forever with me. It is difficult to comprehend that I graduated 20 years ago. I reflect upon and vividly recall my first time on campus, knowing that F&M was the place for me. Excitement overwhelmed when I applied early decision and received that acceptance letter!

Arriving as a first-year student and deciding on a major and what would be the best decision for me at a liberal arts college was more difficult than I imagined. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to meet many of the professors in the History and Women’s Studies departments, including Louise Stevenson and Maria Mitchell, and the decision became quite easy within a few short months.

When you are young and in college, it’s easy to believe that “real world” jobs are the ones you often hear about: doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, etc. It can be extremely hard to see beyond those ideas of a typical career. There’s more to life than those jobs and a world of endless possibilities are available to you. As a history major and women’s studies minor, my first and only inclination was to apply to law school after graduation. What else would I be able to do with that major? I decided to take a hiatus for a year before applying, and during that time I contacted an alumnus who suggested that I work at a large law firm before applying to law school to see if the environment was for me. I was able to secure a position as a paralegal at one of the largest global law firms; relationships and opportunities that I never imagined grew for me there. Soon after, the chance to apply for a legal marketing position at the firm opened, a relatively new department emerging in law firms, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Almost 20 years later, I can say I was someone who helped grow and expand the profession for marketing and business development teams in multiple law firms. I work every day to make sure my teams are respected by the attorneys who utilize us – helping my firm get recognized for the contributions to the clients we serve.

A liberal arts education affords you incredible skills from team building and time management to multi-tasking and critical thinking, not to mention the ability to speak in a public setting with confidence. My women’s studies minor allowed me to work as part of a non-profit team in the lobbying organization of Planned Parenthood and create a brochure and communications plan for a bill going to the House. My leadership position in my sorority gave me the public speaking confidence I need every day in my current position, including my ability to manage time and juggle all that a large law firm working across multiple time zones requires. 

I truly do believe as a woman you can do it all and be successful, if that is what you desire. In my personal and professional life, I oversee small amounts of disorder every day, and I can honestly say the skills I acquired at F&M help me be successful at work and at home.  If you are wondering what your next step is in life, take a breath and know the possibilities are out there and you will find the right path even if it is not what you first planned. Take advantage of the alumni network and the endless opportunities of internships and networking. And most of all have fun and believe in yourself.

"A liberal arts education affords you incredible skills from team building and time management to multi-tasking and critical thinking, not to mention the ability to speak in a public setting with confidence."
Breanna Wallence Ebben '97
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