• Carmen Graham

Q&A: Meet AnneClaire, CNN Senior Editor and Military Mama

Ever meet a woman and think "wow I want to know more about her." Us, too. All the time. So every month, we'll introduce you to a few good women who inspire and remind us that no matter how amazing it all seems, they're also just like us!

First up, a seasoned CNN reporter, mom of 2 (about to pop with number 2, actually!) and military wife, among many, many other things. We caught up with her recently via email and the first thing she said was "I love that it's not about leaning in or leaning out or whatever the catchphrase is."

Clearly, a woman after our own heart. Read on, to meet her.

Name: AnneClaire Stapleton

What You Do: Senior International News Editor at CNN, Mom to a 9 year old boy and another boy on the way, military wife, beach bred mermaid and wanna-be hippie (though I'm too controlling to ever live the laid back life I imagine in my dreams), and lover of travel 

IG and Twitter Handle:  @anneclaireCNN 

You’re super pregnant. How are you feeling? HUGE–I'm 4 weeks away from my due date and wouldn't be upset at all if he decided to come early. I've been in strict social-distancing mode the last few months–which for me means trying to work from home in a business that never sleeps plus homeschool my 3rd grader.

Lessons learned so far: Teaching is not my calling but wearing sweats and not washing my hair on the reg is. 

You also have a school-aged son, what’s he feeling about having a new sibling? He is SO excited. We've been trying to get pregnant for many years–a year of fertility drugs, a surgery or two, three rounds of IVF, three miscarriages, and on our final IVF round, boom, it happened! I had almost resigned myself to having an only child but it really killed me inside because I come from a huge family and my three sisters are my best friends (and worst enemies depending on the moment)–I so wanted that for my son. I think over the years he sort of figured this sibling we kept telling him we were trying to have was only in our imagination. So to say he's pumped would be the understatement of the year. He reads books to my belly and constantly talks about what kind of big brother he's going to be. COVID-19 threw a wrench in our birth plans because my son really wanted to be the first person to hold the baby after he's born (my husband is deployed and will likely miss the birth) but now he won't be allowed in the hospital. We're just trying to go with the flow and figure it out as we go. Like most people are right now I imagine. 

You also have a long career at CNN. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came up through the ranks.  October marks 12 years at CNN for me. I started right out of college as a CNN tour guide. It wasn't a glamorous job AT ALL but it got my foot in the door. I was so excited to tell everyone I was working at CNN, little did I know at the time, my younger sister (who went to the same college as me), was telling all our friends I worked at the fast food joint inside the CNN Center. Gotta love family.

But really, once I got my foot in the door, I was relentless. I networked hard inside the building and begged to shadow and essentially work for free in any department that would take me. I've done many jobs at CNN over the years–majority of the last 10 years have been in newsgathering–domestic (U.S. and Canada-focused) for many years and then almost two years ago I jumped over to international newsgathering.

My job is incredible–I get a front seat to history, each and every day is different, and I work with the best journalists in the business. I've been able to travel the world, for work and pleasure, but more times than not, no matter where I am in the world, I know someone. That's one of the beautiful things of working for an international network–the world becomes so much smaller. It's a family. 

What do you love the most about your job? What have been some of the more memorable things you’ve covered? Some stories that really stick out for me over the years are Newtown shooting and Boston Marathon bombing–I was still a very green junior reporter and also had a toddler at home during both attacks– it was difficult to get through the work day at times after spending hours learning about the children victims.

The 2015 Paris Attacks –along with a team of journalists, we managed to profile almost all the victims of the attacks, which is something I always try to focus my reporting on–versus the perpetrators of the attack. Hurricane Michael, which hit my home in the Florida Panhandle, and every presidential election since 2008.

Walk us through an average day. The good, the bad, the ugly. There is no "average" day in a newsroom. It's as simple as that. 

Your husband’s in the military…and deployed. Can only imagine how challenging that can be, making you both our heroes! What can you share about how you find peace? 

He left two days after Christmas and will be gone a total of nine months this rotation. He's missed the majority of this pregnancy but we send pictures to each other as often as possible and honestly, you just get used to it after a while. When we first met, I was already deep into my journalism career and he in his military career–so we knew what we were signing up for when we took our vows–which speaking of, included a line "in sickness and in health, in breaking news and deployments...."–we do not live in a military community so its difficult to relate to many of our friends– I work overnights, weekends, holidays, and so does he–our life is messy but we don't know any other way. 

What are some things that keep you sane as a working mom, military wife and just generally awesome woman?

When I'm regimented (which isn't often) on my yoga practice, it makes the biggest difference. I try to go with the flow as much as possible–my natural inclination is to control situations but in our life, it simply doesn't work. So being flexible and realizing I have zero control over many of the situations we find ourselves in helps. Also, in our marriage we take turns in whose career matters more at the time– the first few years of our relationship, his took a backseat to mine. Now I think I've taken a bit of a backseat to his. Not that I've lost my passion for my career, just that I've learned to be okay where I'm at. I'm not looking for the next big promotion or next big story. I'm content. It's weird to admit. 

What advice would you give your younger self? Enjoy the ride– it goes too fast. And don't sweat the small stuff. 

You’re Atlanta-based. What are some of your favorite spots you’d like to shout out?

Let's be honest, I don't get to many hotspots–pregnant, dragging a 9 year old, without a hubby? No thanks– I'd rather enjoy some good music poolside in my backyard. 

When do we get to meet baby?! Due date is June 2nd but I'm not angry if he comes early!!

Know someone we should DEFINITELY feature? Hit us up 


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