25 Women for 2023: Kara Payne 'passionate about storytelling'

Kara Payne fell in love with storytelling as a child. “I am a constant communicator,” she says, recalling being bitten by the communications bug as an anchor on her high school’s televised news program. “I was hooked and never looked back.”

The story of her life includes being a mother, pastor’s wife, volunteer, mentor, and now, one of Tallahassee’s 25 Women You Need to Know.

Meet the 2023 Class:Going 30 strong in Tallahassee: Meet the 25 Women, 5 Young Women for 2023

Carmelesa Crosby-Harley:25 Women for 2023: Carmelesa Crosby-Harley enjoys sharing time, resources

Pam Doffek:25 Women for 2023: Pam Doffek is a veteran, librarian and volunteer extraordinaire

Kara has called Tallahassee home for the past 16 years, after arriving as a freshman at Florida State University. “I enjoy the community. I fell in love as soon as I got here,” she says. “It truly felt like a wholesome, family friendly atmosphere. As an adult building a life here nearly two decades later I'm grateful that the warm community atmosphere has remained.”

Her communications career began as a reporter for The Florida Channel and continued at Florida State University, where she was a news writer. She currently serves as Communications Chair of the FSU National Black Alumni. “I am passionate about storytelling, meeting people, learning from and serving others. It has been a blessing to be able to grow my career here in Tallahassee.”

Kara Payne, one of Tallahassee's 25 Women You Need to Know for 2023.
Kara Payne, one of Tallahassee's 25 Women You Need to Know for 2023.

Her media and technology service was recognized in 2016 with the Emory O. Jackson Journalism Award, and she is a 2017 recipient of the Florida State University Notable Nole award. Kara now serves the Florida League of Cities as a Communications Specialist since 2019, where she has continued to earn accolades and recognition.

In her role as First Lady of Saint Paul AME Church, Kara works with the youth ministry, the Women’s Missionary Society, and with outreach partners including Second Harvest, and Cru Ministry. Kara recently established Enlightened First Lady, LLC, an organization that serves to support, educate and connect First Ladies and others in the community. “I hope this can be a platform to make connections and bridge some gaps,” she says.

She finds inspiration in her parents, whose footsteps she has followed. “My dad made his career as a photojournalist, and my mother is a fellow First Lady,” she shares. “I very much believe I follow her example and always say one of the greatest compliments I could receive is that I remind them of my mother.”

She carries that legacy through her work as a mentor at Pineview Elementary School and as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where she continues to encourage and foster a spirit of service and sisterhood.

If she could write the story of her own life, it would focus on finding joy in the everyday moments of life. “There is so much going on in the world and in society, that whether it’s in my son’s smile or encouraging a friend or co-worker, focusing on joy in the moment can really help us remember that each day is a blessing.”

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: 25 Women: Kara Payne is 'passionate about storytelling'