Wildcat Tracks: Brooks Wallace ’89
The years after graduating high school are an exciting time. So much happens in life as we move forward, fulfilling the plan God has waiting for us. For alumnus Brooks Wallace, that plan took him more than 4,000 miles across the world. Living in London, England for the past 20+ years, Brooks has come to love the city he calls home. “I moved to England in 1996 to open the first Enterprise Rent-A-Car office in West Yorkshire,” he says. “I then moved to London in 1999 to work for an internet start-up and have been here ever since. London is my favorite city in the world. It’s truly a melting pot of culture, society, history, arts, entertainment, education, and travel. We are on the doorstep of Europe and adventure is literally outside your front door. I travel home from the office and am still amazed by the London skyline and how fortunate I am to live here.”
Making the decision to move internationally took a leap of faith. “I made a commitment to myself to stay abroad for the first 12 months,” Brooks says. “I finally travelled home to the U.S. around month 18, and by then I had decided I would end up staying in the U.K. indefinitely. I spent time traveling around the U.K. and Europe and was having so much fun I didn’t have time to get homesick!” Brooks lives in southwest London, between the River Thames and Richmond Park, with his wife Katie and children Sophie and Henry. He says there are a few things he misses about the U.S.: “Family, friends, decent peanut butter, toasted ravioli, and good pickles!”
Looking back, Brooks credits his high school years with laying the groundwork for success.
Westminster taught me respect for others, humility, and integrity. In your teens, these are lessons that are sometimes learned the hard way, but the learning sticks with you for life.
“Westminster gave me a good life foundation at the perfect time in my life, and I have built on that since I graduated. It was also a time that created life-long relationships. I was at Westminster from 1987 to 1989—we had a great class and the friendships I formed then remain some of my closest. I learned to appreciate how close our classmates were in those couple of years at Westminster. When you go to university, start moving around, get a job, family, kids, etc., the time you have to spend building new friendships becomes less and less. You realize how important those early friends are. My class still gets together throughout the year in St. Louis—I have been to a couple of the events and we have a good turnout!”
Brooks now serves as the vice president of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Deep Instinct, a cybersecurity company. “Our company uses Deep Learning, a subset of Artificial Intelligence, to predict and prevent cyber attacks before they happen,” he explains. “We prevent malware, ransomware, and other attacks you read about in the press weekly. Our technology really is cutting edge; we are the only cybersecurity company in the world with Deep Learning patents at the core of its business.” It’s a job which normally involves travel, something that has been put on hold as the U.K. is currently under a lockdown due to COVID-19. Despite the restrictions, Brooks says it’s business as usual. “Cyber threats don’t stop for a pandemic—if anything we have seen an increase in attacks with home workers being more susceptible. Those attacks are then used to access corporate networks, so network security is now more important than ever. We miss the face-to-face interaction and relationship-building, but we all recognize that this is temporary and we’ll be through it soon.”
When asked what advice he would give to anyone considering moving abroad, Brooks enthusiastically answered, “Go for it! The experience you gain both personally and professionally gives you a better perspective on life and the fabric of our society. But be careful—you might not want to go home!”