After completing her bachelor’s degree in computer science, Debra Bremer ’90 MBA dove headfirst into the corporate world. She described the experience of transitioning from college to the work world, without the benefit of an internship, as a “culture shock.”
As she has advanced up the corporate ladder, Deb has made it her mission to provide guidance for current students and recent graduates. “I get an intrinsic high from watching people develop, grow and reach their potential,” said Deb, who leads a team of 400 global employees who provide technology strategy, solutions and services for biopharmaceutical research, pre-clinical functions and clinical trials at Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company.
Her passion to serve as a mentor was reflected in a performance evaluation that included feedback from subordinates, peers and supervisors. The assessment described her as a “caring commander,” a term that paints an interesting dichotomy. “When a person thinks of a commander you envision an ex-military image,” explains Deb, who has spent 13 years at Pfizer. “Yet no matter how tough the message I have to convey, it is always delivered with care. This creates a better work environment, especially for students or younger employees.”
Deb began her career in a training program at General Dynamics. “It was my earliest experiences that caused me to say, ‘When I am in charge, this is something that I want to do,’” says Deb.
While pursuing her MBA at UNH, Deb ascended to her first supervisory position. At the time, she had switched her concentration from finance to management and organization, and “it all came together.”
“I am relationship-oriented and I believe we spend more of our waking hours in working relationships than just about anything else,” she says. “I really liked the practical nature of what I learned in the M.B.A. program.”
Deb joined Pfizer in 1998 as a Development Informatics Analyst and was named Associate Director in 2001. Later, as Vice President of Oncology Business Technology, she created an electronic medical record strategy for the unit. She reached her current post in 2009.
Along the way she was able to put into practice her plans to incorporate internship opportunities and develop programs that welcome young talent into the organization.
Deb and her husband, Rich, have four grown children—Richard Jr., Emily, Thomas and Jacob—along with two grandchildren. “As a mom,” she says, “I would want someone to help my children develop in a caring way.”
Posted Spring 2012