Getting inside author Bremen Leak’s head

Bremen LeakA program officer at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Bremen Leak is one of Marriott Alumni Magazine’s go-to writers and a former BusinessWeek reporter. Before he embarked on another international voyage, I spoke with the “When Budgeting Backfires” author about his experience in Moscow, his undergraduate days at BYU, and Jim Gaffigan.

Q: So you graduated from BYU in 2005 with a communications degree. What was your most memorable college experience?
A: The campus newsroom was one of my favorite experiences. It paid almost nothing and demanded incredible time and effort, and yet it filled me with pride every time we closed an issue—sometimes long after our peers had gone to sleep.

Q: You wrote “When Budgeting Backfires” from Moscow. What’s your next international adventure?
A: Mali, West Africa, is one of the most interesting places I’ve been. I’ll return in July 2013 during the peak of the rainy season and a potentially volatile election. For Muslims, it’s also Ramadan, which means nobody eats until after sunset.

Q: How have you been able to use your experience working as a reporter for BusinessWeek in your writing today?
A: I learned from my BusinessWeek colleagues to be curious. I mean, I already was, but they taught me to embrace that and to let my curiosity enrich my life and those of my readers.

Q: What’s your role at the Bloomberg School of Public Health?
A: I’ve been privileged to help shape communication strategies for public health campaigns in Africa, using my journalism background as a springboard. One of my most exciting memories was attending the World Cup in South Africa to promote a malaria initiative. I’ve done similar work in Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, and Mali, and I’ve watched a lot of soccer.

Q: How do you wind down after a tough day at work? Do you have a hobby like running or are you more of a movie marathoner type of guy?
A: I’m a marathoner and a magazine junkie. Unfortunately, you can’t do those two things at once—and you can’t do them at all if you want to be social.

Q: What’s the best book you’ve read this year and what was the last great movie you saw in the theater?
A: Don’t laugh. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. And The Lone Ranger. Ok, you can laugh.