FACES OF PHILANTHROPY: Brooke and Lou Bremer

Photograph by ChiChi Ubiña

Brooke Bremer

I was born and raised in the heart of the Midwest – Kansas City. I am a devoted Kansan and will always consider it my hometown. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology from Miami University in Ohio.

Despite my major, I spent my professional career in recruiting, training and development. After a stint as a technical recruiter at an IT consulting firm in Chicago, I serendipitously landed a job at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in their MBA Career Services office. I was the Relationship Manager overseeing the recruiting efforts of all the financial services firms who hired the MBAs. It was here that I met a handsome MBA student named Lou Bremer who would later become my husband. His career took us to NYC where I worked both as an MBA Recruiter for Banc of America Securities and at NYU Stern School of Business in their Office of Career Development. When Lou accepted a job with Morgan Stanley in Los Angeles, I joined Wells Fargo and spent a year as their West Coast Recruiter followed by 5 years overseeing training and development for their Financial Analyst Program on both the east and west coasts. I left corporate America 3 years ago when our son turned 1 and am now a fulltime mom to Will. We have introduced him to simple ways he can begin giving back: helping pick out warm mittens and coats for families in the winter, stuffing back packs with school supplies for needy children in the community, and giving a portion of his savings to church.

I grew up in a very traditional, close-knit family and was the oldest of two children. My mother and father were both deeply involved in our community, serving on numerous boards, chairing events, and serving as a sponsor family for allied military officers who were stationed at nearby Fort Leavenworth.

My brother and I were taught at a young age the importance of giving back, both from a time and financial perspective. As a little girl, I can remember accompanying my mom to her volunteer shifts at the Junior League thrift shop where I would help sort and organize clothes and toys. As I got older, I was involved in our local hospital as a Candy Striper, and we were always active in our church community.

Growing up I was an avid equestrienne and showed on the hunter circuit in the Midwest. I now fill my days volunteering as Will’s class room mother, co-leading a small group Bible study, and have recently gotten back into tennis. Will shares my penchant for gardening and weeding, and we love to travel as a family.

2015-5-30_Bremer23940-as-Smart-Object-1-copy-3-683x1024Four years ago, I joined the “Under the Stars” committee which supports Greenwich Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Department, and have served for the past 2 years as its Co-chair. Many people don’t know this, but right here on our community we have a Level III-A NICU for sick or premature babies. It’s very rare for a community hospital to have this level of capability. Our maternity department expects to have 2,500 births this year and there are over 20,000 hospital visits to the Pediatric Department annually. As a mom, it’s a relief knowing that we have such a wonderful hospital with such a high level of care available to our children.

I’ve also been involved for 5 years with the Greenwich Land Trust’s “Go Wild Family Field Day,” twice heading up their Volunteers Committee. The majority of my recruits – about 125 kids – were from local schools. I think it speaks volumes that our schools are committed to developing kids’ awareness of and interest in being involved in the community.

Lou Bremer

I was born and mostly raised in the great state of Louisiana, although I lived on two separate occasions in the Philippines for a total of four years and in neighboring Texas for three years. I attended college at the United States Air Force Academy where I had grand ambitions of becoming an F-15E “Strike Eagle” fighter pilot. While there my professional ambitions changed, so I sought and ultimately received—to the surprise and chagrin of USAFA’s leadership—a cross-commission into the United States Navy.

I am currently a partner and global co-head of emerging markets private equity at Cerberus Capital Management, a large cap asset management firm headquartered in New York. Prior to Cerberus, I worked at several world-class asset management and advisory firms in both New York and Los Angeles. In 2008, I transitioned from investment banking to principal investing following a one-year appointment by President George W. Bush to the 2007—2008 class of White House Fellows. As a Fellow, I served on the Homeland Security Council (now part of the National Security Council) staff at the White House and worked on counterterrorism policy.

Prior to starting a career in finance, I served as an officer, platoon commander, and sniper in the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams for eight years. As such, I had the honor of leading some of America’s finest men and most capable warriors, first while stationed at SEAL Team Three in San Diego and then SEAL Team Eight in Virginia Beach. I deployed to the Middle East, East Asia and Europe, including the Balkans, where I commanded the Quick Reaction Force in Bosnia Herzegovina during Operation Joint Forge.

Seguing from the Military to the Financial World

I chose a full-time MBA program as my means of transitioning from the military to the private sector. I attended the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business where I received an MBA in 2002. I used the summer between years to complete an internship in investment banking and leveraged that into a full-time investment banking opportunity at JPMorgan in New York. I often recommend this path to other knuckle draggers who are considering transitioning from the dark side to business.

Family

My dad is a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant and a wise man. He was born in Culver City, CA but raised in a tough area of Phoenix where he honed his street smarts and toughness. My mom is a nurse and has been practicing non-stop for over 40 years. She grew up in a family of coal miners in Charleston, West Virginia. They were poor and lived in a house off a dirt path with no running water. They met in the Air Force and currently live in Bossier City, Louisiana with my older sister. I also have a younger brother who lives and practices law in Seattle.

My upbringing was modest but very happy, and my parents taught me the value of hard work and giving back at an early age. We were of very limited financial means so weren’t philanthropic in a traditional sense, but my parents were both big-hearted and generous and always willing to help a person or family in need.

My wife, Brooke Bremer, is heavily involved in Greenwich philanthropic organizations. She is always on the go, and her commitment to the people in her life and the organizations with which she becomes involved is truly extraordinary and inspiring. In addition to her philanthropic activities and the hobbies she mentioned, she is active in two to three “ladies-only” poker groups [in the Navy, we call this a boondoggle!].

Our 4 year old son, Louis William “Will” Bremer III, is a recent graduate of the Round Hill Nursery School and is a rising Pre-K student at The Brunswick School. Will doesn’t know a stranger and loves books, sports, “pretty girls”, LSU football, and running around with his buddies at Round Hill Club. Supremely confident and verbal, he will engage virtually anyone in conversation and always has an opinion – “Dad, that green backpack doesn’t look good with your black suit.” He often likes to have one-on-one time with me on Saturdays, which he affectionately terms “just the boys!” No matter what we do or where we go in Greenwich, I feel as though I’m the father of a rock star, as “we” inevitably get greeted by people of all ages with “Hi Will!” and “Mommy, it’s Will!” Like his mom, he has a huge heart and stays very active with a variety of activities including soccer, taekwondo, golf, swimming, and back yard football and baseball. He also is an aspiring linguist, although when I quiz him about what he learned in Mandarin Chinese, he always reverts to the first phrase he learned – “Baba Wo Eye Nee” (Daddy, I love you) – and gives me a big hug. A master in counter-interrogation techniques and a shrewd negotiator, I think he has a bright future in business or politics.

Interests

I have a keen interest in national security, foreign policy and politics. Fortunately, my current role at Cerberus puts me right at the nexus of these issues. I spend a significant amount of time meeting with current and former senior-level government officials in the US and abroad and discussing how US policy affects our portfolio companies, potential investment opportunities, and America’s standing and the balance of power in the world.

I have an interest in car racing and have completed two formula racing schools through Skip Barber in Wisconsin and South Carolina. You may find me at Lime Rock this summer, breaking in a recent purchase of some classic American muscle—a 650hp Corvette Z06.

I also have recently taken up the frustrating sport of golf, so you may find me at the club littering the neighboring woods with white spherical objects, principally due to Will’s keen interest and natural aptitude for the sport. If given the choice, however, I would prefer to get in a workout on a nice day, or play football or baseball with Will. If I can do either on a white, sandy beach next to turquoise water, all the better.

I currently sit on the board of the White House Fellows Foundation and Association and help guide a variety of projects and activities, including our 3-day annual meeting for current and former Fellows that includes senior administration officials and other policy experts. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary this year and have over 700 active, living alums.

I believe strongly in giving back to our veterans and to those who wish to serve our country. I currently do this principally through a significant amount of informal mentoring, typically for veterans looking to transition to the private sector, but also for young men and women interested in serving. For the SEAL community, I mentor, interview and screen Navy SEAL officer candidates through Drew Bisset’ s SEAL recruiting program in Greenwich. Previously, I was a Co-Founder of the Navy SEAL Warrior Fund (now the Navy SEAL Foundation) and served on the board for 5 years. In that time, we established the Foundation as a preeminent veterans’ organization and raised over $12 million to support the families of deceased and active duty Navy SEALs.

I also feel as though it’s my moral and civic duty to volunteer for political campaigns that I think are important for the future of the United States. As such, I’m currently raising money for Jeb Bush’s campaign for President, as I believe strongly that he has the right vision for America. If you would like to join the team, please call me!

Finally, as the first person in my family to graduate from college, I believe strongly in the power of education. From 2009—2012, I served on the board of the Carson Scholars Fund, a national scholarship organization founded by renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and Presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, and his wife, Candy.

Brooke’s dress and shoes: Saks Fifth Avenue, Greenwich
Jewelry by Steven B. Fox Jewelers, Greenwich
Hair and Make Up by Jafaar Tazi Salon, Greenwich
2016-01-04T16:51:08+00:00