100 Women, 100 Stories: Brianna Mobley
Where do you live? Orlando, FL
What is your profession? I help raise money for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.
How did you get this role and what was your path leading up to this? My journey with Planned Parenthood began when I was 15. I had been attending a very conservative Christian school since kindergarten. Not only was sex education non-existent in my life, there was a ton of shame around sex and certainly about abortion. We once had an entire school day dedicated to discussing abortion. Now, it wasn’t really a discussion or dialogue because all of the speakers told us that women who have sex before marriage are damaged goods and if we had an abortion, we were definitely going to hell. Period. End of story. No room for discussion because it says so in the Good Book. It made me furious so I spent my 16th birthday lobbying in our state capital, Tallahassee, for comprehensive sex education in public schools. I remained somewhat involved during college then after I graduated, I reached out to our former CEO to start volunteering again. After a couple of months, I applied to an open position and got the job. After some organizational transitions, our new CEO asked what I wanted my role to be in the newly changed organization. I’m really grateful to her for letting me choose my path and passion in the company. It’s truly the dream to be working at Planned Parenthood.
What did you study in school? Psychology and I will be starting an MBA program this fall.
How did you know you wanted to study that? All throughout my undergrad, I was convinced I wanted to be a Mental Health Counselor. Once I realized that wasn’t for me, I felt a little lost — okay, I felt REALLY lost. But when I started following my passion and working at Planned Parenthood, things just kind of fell into place. I realized that my ability to understand and connect with donors is an incredible advantage. Typically, psych majors are slow to judge because we can understand the psychological process behind behavior.
Has anyone been a mentor to you? What role did they play and how do you feel about mentorship now? Oh my goodness — yes! I have had so many amazing mentors in my life and still do. I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without my mentors and their support. I think it is so important to have a person(s) to bounce ideas off of and to give advice when tough situations arise. You cannot learn to be an effective leader when you are solitary. It takes a village to build a good leader. My mentors have been my rock when I felt like I didn’t have support coming from anywhere else.
What’s the hardest thing that you’ve had to deal with in your career so far? Women’s reproductive healthcare and justice has unfortunately been turned into a political weapon so navigating the hostility I sometimes get as a Planned Parenthood employee has been a learning process. The Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs shook me to my core. But my resolve is strong and I’m reminded everyday of the importance of my work.
What has been a really rewarding moment in your career? The most rewarding thing about my job, hands down, is when I come into work everyday and see patients walk into our front door. Our patients are so brave — they really inspire me. They walk through such hostility to get to our doors. It’s rewarding to know that we provide compassionate care to women, men, and families who need it. It’s that simple.
What do you want to accomplish in your lifetime? When I was 18 and feeling lost as ever, one of my mentors asked me, “What do you want to do with your life?” I answered, “I want to help people.” That answer still rings true.
What’s something you want young women to remember when thinking about their future? As young women, we learn how to perform our femininity and the power of it — the fragility. Our education at times is painful. We become aware of the ways we are on display when we move in public — the ways we perform our role as women. The awareness on the train, in the parking lot, our favorite bar. The spotlight can be difficult. Our performance, at times, stands in the way of our identity. Remember that your existence is not for the pleasure of others. Remember that it is our patriarchal society that taught you to compare yourself to other women. Don’t do it. It is our patriarchal society that has taught you to shame other women for being women. Don’t do it. We only succeed as women when we build one another up through friendship and love.
What’s one thing you want to try to make an impact on in your lifetime? I want to continue building on the progress we have made and MLK said it best: “an injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere.” We won’t move forward until we dismantle our shared injustices and oppression (while unpacking our privilege.)
Where can people find you on social media if they’d like to connect with you?
Instagram & Twitter: @briannamignon