35 Under 35: Bri Hanley, Health and Physical Education Teacher, West Fargo Public Schools

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself. Tell us who you are and what you do.

Hi, I’m Bri! In my personal life, I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a cat mom, and a friend. I love traveling, and a full calendar of events of the time with friends and family— weeknight dinners, “The Bachelor” watch parties, concerts, my book club, my bowling league, and rugby shenanigans are my favorites! In my professional life, I am a 10- year Health and P.E. teacher within West Fargo Public Schools! I teach students how to lead healthy, happy lives through physical activity and positive actions toward their minds and bodies. With the variety of classes that I teach, there’s something new every day! I love to show students they CAN!

Who are some people who have been influential in your journey and why? Who inspires you?

I have four parents who impacted my childhood and really made me who I am; they showed me loyalty, grace, and unconditional love. I also have three younger siblings who helped shape who I am; they taught me the importance of creating our own fun, forgiveness, and the importance of having each other’s backs. I have a husband who daily inspires me to be the best Bri I can be. He is patient when I am not, he is strong when I am scared, and he makes every day fun. .

What drives you?

In my personal life, I’m driven by learning about and exploring what the world has to offer; I love traveling, trying new foods, and experiencing new cultures! As a teacher, I crave the “aha” moments when the lightbulb switches on! These moments drive me because when students see that they can, it builds their confidence!

What do you think can be improved in our business community?

I think our business community could improve itself by networking and being more involved in our schools (specifically at the high school level). High school students are given the tough task of figuring out what they want to be when they grow up at the age of 18. This is a daunting task for many because there are MILLIONS of options. If businesses got into the school and showcased their job options (along with tasks, income, pros/cons, etc.), it could help students see what they like and are interested in! They enjoy that in-person interaction!

Tell us about 1-2 books, podcasts, or professional development experiences that have changed the way you view leadership.

Our first session with the 35 Under 35 Program was the most impactful professional development experience I’ve had. In this session, we dove deeper into our leadership strengths, identified barriers, and pointed out blind spots for our strengths. I appreciated this professional development experience because it was 1000% tailored to me and my leadership abilities.

What are some important life lessons you have learned?

The most important lesson that I’ve learned and work to live out every day is to be in the moment and not wish away time.

What are you hoping to gain from the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program?

I’m excited about what the 35 Under 35 has in store for me! I’m hoping to become a more confident leader by learning and owning my leadership strengths. I’m on this adventure with 34 other stellar women, and I’m also excited to make new friends, network, and make positive impacts in Fargo together!

What are your passions outside of work?

I’m passionate about a lot of things outside of work! I am passionate about a full calendar booked with traveling and quality time with friends and family. Road trips, weeknight dinners with friends, Bachelor watch nights, game nights, bowling league, and book club are my favorites! In addition to a full calendar, I am passionate about crafting.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.