Tamara Prater may be more familiar to some Oklahomans as Tamara Pratt, as she was widely known during her 12-year tenure in local broadcast journalism. Tamara served as an Emmy-award winning reporter and anchor at Oklahoma City’s CBS affiliate KWTV-TV before moving on to the career she says she “was meant for.” Since 2006, Prater has served as the Deputy Director of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism.
“I have an incredible opportunity to use the skills from my previous life, in broadcast news, to impact communities throughout the United States,” she explains. “The apex of my journalism career was covering the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Now I am able to share those stories as well as the lessons learned and translate it into a positive teaching tool for law enforcement.”
In her professional capacity, Prater oversees the day-to-day operations of the Institute, as well as all communications, outreach, community affairs, marketing and public relations. “The Institute is a well-kept secret in Oklahoma City,” Prater says. “On a near daily basis, we hear about threats to our security and the likelihood of another bombing campaign could easily be played out again. So watching the Institute’s training program build safer communities is incredibly fulfilling.”
Prater has been married to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater for 11 years, and says that her work outside the home plays a large role in her identity both in the community and as a mother. “I enjoy working outside the home and that experience, I believe, makes me a better mother,” she explains. “I know every minute I have with my children is precious and I savor it. I’m very content with myself working and that makes me equally content at home.”
Here’s more on how this 44-year-old mother of two works to balance work, family and the important mission given to the Institute nearly 18 years ago.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I like to quilt. My grandmother and I worked on my first quilt nearly nine years ago, when she was in her late 70’s. Seeing your handiwork come to life is very rewarding. Quilting by hand is truly a dying art.
What are you passionate about?
It may sound like a cliché, but family is my passion. My husband and I had our children later in life, and we are better parents as older parents. The pressure of climbing business ladders, being everything to everyone just isn’t there and we can focus all our attention on our babies and creating the best future possible for them.
Where are you from originally? What brought you to Oklahoma?
I grew up in Albuquerque and came to Oklahoma in 1986 to attend Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond.
How has motherhood changed you?
Motherhood has made me a better person—more compassionate, more attentive to details and better able to prioritize what’s important.
How do you banish stress?
I try to minimize the effects of stress with trips to the gym or a quick walk around the office complex.
What inspires you?
My daughter has an ability to look at life, take what’s given to her (good and bad) and really make lemonade out of lemons. As I watch her, it helps me move past my own insecurities and tackle more.
Along with your job as a mom, what do you do?
My most important job is raising Kathryn and Alexander, but I serve as the Deputy Director at the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. We were founded in 1995 by the family members and survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing who had the desire to create an Institute that would work to prevent terrorism in other communities. We train law enforcement around the nation in recognizing, responding to and reporting indicators of terrorism.
What is on your wish list?
Minimal craziness, happy and content children and a few restful nights.
What motivates you?
Telling me I can’t do something. There’s nothing like a challenge to get your blood going and motivate you to be better.
How do you find balance in your life?
I constantly struggle with this one. It’s important for my daughter to see how you balance life, work and family.
Advice for other moms?
Enjoy every moment. I constantly have to remind myself that no matter how crazy it may seem, this is the season of life I’m in. I know I’m going to blink and it will be over, so I try and find those grace moments to savor.
What’s the biggest challenge in your life?
Maintaining balance between work and home and everything else.
Quick Facts About Tamara
- What’s your favorite indulgence? Dr. Pepper from Sonic (I love the ice).
- What’s on your playlist? Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and everything Adele sings.
- What’s your favorite family outing? The OKC Zoo.
- What’s your favorite TV show? Modern Family.
- What’s always in your handbag? Hairspray and hand sanitizer.
Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor of MetroFamily Magazine.