A Book Apart

Get to know Eva PenzeyMoog

Aug 25, 2021

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Portrait of Eva PenzeyMoog in green dress standing against a wall.

Meet Eva PenzeyMoog

Up next in our Meet the Author series, we’re getting to know Eva PenzeyMoog—author of Design for Safety. She talks about trading screen time for play sessions with a new kitten, surrounding her workspace with plants, and reminding ourselves to rest, often.

ABA: What is your favorite thing about your workspace?

Eva PenzeyMoog: All the plants! I have a lot of plants crammed into my little office. I also have a dog bed next to my desk where my pup Hamlet spends most of his day napping, and occasionally waking up to howl along with sirens.

ABA: What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?

EP: Make coffee and then sit on the floor and drink it while playing with our brand-new kitten, Reptar. My screen time has suddenly plummeted since adopting her, which is among the many benefits of having a tiny playful kitten in the house!
Though it means I often have a routine and schedule that are diametrically opposed to the habits of my fellow New Yorkers, I’ve come to find it’s the only way I can sustain the writing and thinking that yields my best work. Plus, it means I get ahead of the jackhammering of construction familiar to every city dweller’s soundscape.

ABA: Is there anyone you’re following the work of right now, who you’d recommend others pay attention to?

EP: Active Voice and The Nap Ministry. I really love that they both support proper rest and the critiques on grind culture and capitalism more broadly. Especially as this pandemic wears on, the planet burns, entire countries get taken over by oppressive regimes, and so many of our leaders gaslight us into feeling like we should be able to operate as if everything is fine, I find the reminders to rest extremely vital.

ABA: In moments of self-doubt, how do you recharge and rally to keep going?

EP: I use a really great technique that my therapist taught me, which is to identify all the things I know. So if I’m anxious about work or worried about something else, I list out the things I know, like: I know I’ve gotten through situations like this before. I know that no one expects me to have all the answers. I know that I’m doing the best I can in this moment. I know bad seasons in life don’t last forever. It’s a great practice that helps interrupt anxious thoughts and reframe things a bit.

ABA: Is there a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night? What is it?

EP: The climate crisis. There’s a lot to be overwhelmed and intimidated by, but I think a lot about the fact that we know that violence against women and children drastically increases immediately after an area experiences a natural disaster. And that natural disasters are becoming more and more common because of the climate crisis. There are so many terrible things happening because of the climate crisis, but an uptick in domestic violence and child abuse is something that scares me a lot and doesn’t get much attention.

ABA: Is there a piece of professional or life advice you’ve gotten that has always stuck with you? What is it?

EP: The nonprofit where I had a short career before joining tech, City Year, had a lot of great little sayings. One of them was, “If you want to communicate powerfully, tell a story.” I’ve always remembered that, and rely heavily on storytelling in my work designing for safety. People will remember a story about someone being abused with IoT devices a lot more than if they’re simply told that it’s a growing problem. Another one of their sayings was, “Create your own environment for success.” I think about this one constantly when it comes to my workspace, my tech setup, how I structure my days—everything. Everyone works differently, and it’s important to think about what needs to happen for you to be successful, and to do what works for you and to create your own environment for success.


Learn more about all our authors—check out the rest of our Meet the Author series!

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