This article was originally written by Heather Fuselier and published on tallahassee.com on March 28, 2022
When Monesia Brown considers her life and career in Tallahassee, her thoughts go to the people who inspire her. “I want to reflect the light of others through the work that I do," she says. As a result of her positive and collaborative approach, the light is now shining on her as one of Tallahassee's 25 Women You Need to Know.
Since arriving in Tallahassee in 1999, she has been an active participant in community and state affairs, never hesitating to accept opportunities or use her vision to make Tallahassee a great place for families to live.
After graduating from Illinois State University and the University of Wisconsin Law School, Brown began her career at the Division of Business and Professional Regulation. “I learned so much working in an environment with so much variety," she says. “It was a lot of fun."
After 11 years in government, and 7 years in private legal practice, Brown is now the Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Walmart, engaging legislative and executive officials on issues of importance to the organization's growth in communities across the state.
“As a mother of two, I know firsthand that exposure to quality early learning opportunities is essential to the development of young children," she said at the time of her appointment. “The impact that quality early learning programs have on children as well as parents, the community and the economy is undeniable."
Her name is on the leadership teams of organizations too numerous to name, including Boys Town North Florida, the Florida History Museum, Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation, Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce, Children and Youth Cabinet, Leadership Florida, and Volunteer Florida Foundation. Brown also sits on the State Board of Education.
Her strength lies in recognizing needs and collaborating with others to implement solutions. When schools moved to an online format in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown facilitated a collaboration with a small Miami-based technology company to provide computers for students who needed them.
“But we can't wait until they are in school," Brown said. “We have to start early and do as much as we can to pour in."
As a first generation college graduate, working to improve the lives of Florida's at-risk children and their families and increase public safety is a passion for her, especially when she can connect the Florida Prepaid Foundation and the Walmart Foundation to provide educational scholarships for youth involved with the juvenile justice system.
“I have a personal passion for education, and I have had a lot of support," she said. “I believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. I want to be that same support for other students."
The philanthropic side of her work has a special place on her desk. “At Walmart, we want to be part of the fabric of the community. Especially in the past two years, we have seen communities that are being left behind in access to health care. It's a humbling reminder that not everyone has access to what they need," she said.
She actively works to bridge those gaps by collaborating with community organizations that help on the front lines.
Brown's passion and boundless energy for philanthropy through her work are making a future for children and adolescents that she will never know, but will experience the impact of her work. As her legacy of service develops, she continues to reflect the light for all.