We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Carpenter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I found my new career 3 years ago and quickly realized that my schedule and time spent at home would have to change. Although it was difficult for my husband and me to rearrange our tasks as parents, I knew that spending more time on myself through my career was the right thing to do for my mental health, sense of self, and ultimately, for my family. My job is very demanding, I don’t have a “shut off” time but doing what I love has allowed me to be more present emotionally when I am with my family.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I worked as a teacher for 13 years. This profession served its purpose in my early professional and family life as the consistent schedule and routine allowed me to finish my schooling and gave me the stability I needed. My husband and I decided to leave Mexico, the place where we met, married, had our first child, and where all my family still lives, because of the violence plaguing the country in 2009. My brother was killed in that violence and that is what ultimately convinced us to leave.
Once we moved our family to the US, and I worked towards my citizenship, I gave a lot of thought to the type of country that I wanted for my children. My main concern for getting involved in political and legislative activism was gun violence. I couldn’t believe the lack of legislation on guns and how loosely they were regulated. I recognized this lack of regulation as the reason this country has more gun-related deaths than any other developed country in the world. So, I looked for someone who was doing something about it and found Moms Demand Action, a victim advocacy group that works to get sensible gun legislation passed. I decided that if I was to become an American citizen, I would be an ACTIVE citizen, working towards the country I wanted for my children. After the 2016 elections, I looked for a career change where I could work towards positive action as my main job and not only as a volunteer.
My first job in politics was working as a field manager in the Beto Texas Senate campaign. I learned so much along the way but more than anything, I regained a spark that I had lost within myself. I recognized that I could no longer sit on the sidelines of our democracy and thankfully, every campaign I worked on, opened another door and finally led me to work as the Campaign Manager for District Attorney Kim Ogg who was running for her second term in Harris County, Texas. After winning, first the primary election 2019, then the general election in 2020, I took a job at the Harris County District Attorney Office as the Community Engagement Coordinator because I believe that democracy requires citizen involvement and I find purpose in igniting that same spark that I found in myself, in others.
Among a lot of other projects, I am currently working on a Safe Storage campaign led by my boss, DA Kim Ogg. We are partnering with amazing organizations like UofH, UT, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston Media Source, and of course Moms Demand Action all with the common goal of creating awareness and education on how to responsibly store weapons in order to prevent deaths due to negligent storage of firearms. I know there is a lot more in store for me but right now, I feel I have come full circle and I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Unfortunately, COVID has made several of my favorite places in Houston shut down but I still have some favorites. Here in the city, I would take them to my favorite restaurant which is Ritual in Montrose. The food and drinks there are amazing as is the owner, Ken Bridge, and his staff! Best steaks and Old Fashions hands down! I would then take them to the Hill Country where we would kayak, hike, ride horses and enjoy the great views Canyon Lake has to offer. Back in town, I would take them to a Mexican folklore concert under the stars at Hermann Park. And finally, if they visited in October, we’d got to Feast with the Beasts at the Houston Zoo. So much fun!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There have been people along the way in my life who have given me opportunities to find my strengths. These individuals are not famous and no one outside their immediate circles will recognize their names but the Maquivar family in Monterrey Mexico was my guiding light in my early years as a young adult making up for all the lost years in my childhood (I was raised in a cult. A long story for another day). Jaime Mercado, one of the brightest political minds in the business, has my gratitude for seeing potential in me and giving me a start in my political career. I don’t know that he’ll ever understand the impact that his trust in me has had. And of course my husband Kevin Carpenter for his patience, understanding, second chances, and for working towards a partnership where we are not “one” but we respect and love each other as two separate individuals who actively work together for a common purpose. Lastly, to my two amazing sons who understand the importance of my work, share my passion for my causes, and give me hugs, kisses, and encouragement when I need it most.