Anita Carman knows a thing or two about new beginnings.
At the age of 17, following a childhood filled with emotional trauma and incredible challenges, Anita arrived in the United States to build a new life. Before coming to the states, Anita woke up on what she thought was a normal morning to find her world had unraveled in an instant: her mother took her own life.
Although Anita found herself in the land of opportunity, it came amidst tremendous pain and long odds for success. Like many young people who have to deal with emotional suffering, Anita's pain wasn't visible and she found few truly understood what she was going through.
But Anita was nothing if not inspired. She knew she had a choice, to give in to the suffering or to make something of her life by following God's call to an incredible journey.
"Imagine a world where every woman wakes up knowing her purpose," Anita says. "More than that, she has a friend who believes in her and will invest in her potential. I commit my life to building a lasting ministry where any woman can be educated to know God's purpose and find empowerment to live it to her fullest."
Her journey started in the corporate world, where she developed as a leader by pursuing both a Master of Business Administration from the State University of New York and a graduate degree in biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.
She spent seven years building a successful career, at which point she found herself at a crossroads: Would she immerse herself in a successful corporate career with companies like Booz, Allen and Hamilton and Exxon or would she accept a cross God offered her to carry that would forever keep the wounds of her childhood with her as an inspiration to help other women?
Anita followed God's calling and left to serve as a leader in Beth Moore's Sunday School class for seven years, then joined the College of Biblical Studies where she began as director of women's ministry and within five years became vice president of special programs and special assistant to the president.
Although she loved her time at the college, Anita knew God's vision for women was more than just the women at one college. With the college's blessing, she left in 2003 and took Inspire Women, the women's ministry started at the college, with no money in the bank but a crystal-clear mission to help women find their God-given potential.
Less than 10 years later, Inspire Women has invested millions in the ministry dreams of Houston women. Empowering many, the ministry challenges women to awaken their lives to God's purpose through year-round programs where they develop leaders for missions, ministry and community impact. An estimated 24,000 have attended an Inspire Women event and every year they reach more than 150,000.