Where Are They Now?
Written by Debra Roth Kane
Where is he now? Ryan Brook, a Franklin High School 1999 graduate, is back home in Owings Mills, but he took the long route to get there, spending the past couple of years as a consultant in Australia. He has returned with his wife, Lindsey, and is now working out of the Washington, D.C. office of Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company.
Ryan met his wife, originally from Rhode Island, while at Syracuse University. He graduated from the University with two degrees — one in marketing management, the other in information management and technology.
iNSIDER: How did you end up in Australia?
Ryan: My company, Accenture, has a major IT transformation project in Melbourne and was looking for volunteers to come out and help deliver that work. I knew a bunch of people from a previous project that had moved to Canberra, Australia. My wife had just left her job, and we decided it would be a great experience to travel and live in another country.
And was it a great experience?
We had so many unique experiences there. Some of the highlights: watching my wife graduate from the University of Melbourne, attending the Australian Open two years in a row, almost hitting six kangaroos while driving in the Outback, climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge, holding a koala and petting a wallaby, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, going to a friend’s alpaca farm and having a traditional Australian lunch with Vegemite (an Australian spread made with yeast extract)!
Did you have any unique “Jewish” experiences in Australia?
There is a very large Jewish population in the St. Kilda area of Melbourne. My favorite spot in that neighborhood was the Jewish Museum of Australia, which included interactive timelines of Jewish settlement in Australia and a rotating exhibit of Jewish artists and displays.
What did you miss about Baltimore where you were in Australia?
I definitely missed my family and friends while I was in Australia, especially during American holidays. The incredible variety of things we take for granted in the States, like cereal, TV and movies, was not nearly as extensive in Australia. Since the population is low compared to the size of the country and everything needs to be imported, the instant gratification that we get in the States is not as available in Australia.
What was special about Franklin High School in the late ’90s?
Going to high school then was so unique because we were at the threshhold of a technological revolution with the Internet age, yet we weren’t totally overwhelmed with technology. That may seem strange coming from someone who works in the IT field. We had access to new technologies — the Web, e-mail, IM, mobile phones, word processors — but they were not fully integrated into our lives. Being at the start of the Internet age while at school, in my mind, is pretty special. I think it was this shift that contributed to a deeper sense of community that I felt with my class. We connected over being able to instantly communicate with each other.