02/20/2009 AT 03:50 PM EST
Surrounded by a who's who of Hollywood's powerful women on Thursday, one little woman was on Halle Berry's
mind: her 11-month-old daughter Nahla.
"As a woman, I thought it was all about work and accomplishments," said Berry, 42, at Essence
magazine's Black Women in Hollywood luncheon. "Then this little baby comes along and says that it's not about that."
Tears streaming down her face as she held her Power award presented by the magazine, the actress said, "I'm complete. I have more to offer my craft because [my daughter] makes me indelibly better every day."
Berry was recognized for her acting, producing and philanthropic work. Colleagues like Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, and Warren Beatty all paid tribute to the actress, who admitted that she has "been [a] ghost for a while" as work has taken a backseat to motherhood.
Boyfriend Gabriel Aubry smiled in the audience as fellow honorees Diahann Carroll, The Secret Life of Bees
director Gina Prince-Blythewood and Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson fought back tears at the second annual event.
The luncheon ended on a note of anticipation when Henson was recognized for her Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
, as fingers were crossed for a win on Sunday.
"Halle Berry, girl ... I owe so much to you," said Henson, recognizing Berry's historic win for Best Actress in 2001. "I remember saying 'I want to do what she's doing'."