Creating a Sense of Community Throughout The Appalachian Highlands

2019 Power Woman: Lori Payne

Lori Payne is a native of Southwest Virginia. She is the mother to her beautiful daughter, Austin Payne. She is the fiancé of Rob Arnold with AEP. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in accounting from East Tennessee State University.  Lori is the Financial Controller for GSM Filteration as of March 11, 2019, a manufacturer of woven and spiral link plastic belts for industrial and commercial dewatering applications and machines. She has over 20 years of service in finance, budgets, accounting, taxes and stategic planning. Lori has led several accounting and finance initiatives that have led to positive outcomes for various companies in Kingsport area. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Before manufacturing, Lori served as Director of Finance for Ballad Health. She led a team of financial analysts to drive positive impacts for each service line provided within hospital facilities. Lori supported the CFO & CEO of each facility with strategic planning, business plans, and financial analysis.

Lori has volunteered herself with several nonprofits in our area. She has been Chairman of the Audit Committee and Chairman of the Finance Committee for United Way of Greater Kingsport.  She is a past member on the board for Kingsport Community Foundation. Her love for our community started during her service with Fun Fest, then in 2012 she served as the Chairman of Fun Fest Executive Committee. She has been past Chair of Membership and Visit Kingsport for the Chamber.  Lori currently serves on the Kingsport Façade and Redevelopment Committee for the City of Kingsport. She also currently serves as Chairman of the Kingsport Foundation Board of Directors working to bring a positive impact to our community.

How much importance do you place on volunteerism and giving back to your community? Volunteering and giving back to my community is extremely important to me as an individual and as a business professional. It is a way for me to demonstrate my love for this community and region. As an individual it is important to give of one’s time, talents, and treasures. I do believe you cannot out give God and the benefits you reap when giving from the heart. Through networking within the community I have made so many business connections and friendships that will last a lifetime.

How and why did you become an entrepreneur? Was it something you always intended for yourself? I am living my passion. It has always been my drive to become a strong leading business woman. My desire has always been to create, drive, and conquer success for an empire. Overseeing a risk into reality creates endless possibilities. These possibilities are dreams that become opportunities. Opportunities then develop strategies for success. I have always been driven with a dream for success.

When did you consider yourself a success? I feel success is defined by a desire to achieve for every individual. My desire for success is a growing and moving target. Growth and opportunities drive me to aim towards that target of success. As long as it is moving forward, I feel I am succeeding and driving a pathway of success. I always feel the need to work harder to bring measurable value. I have always been someone who turns opportunities into success. My mind will never let me quit making dreams happen.

Define a great leader. What are some traits you think great leaders possess? A great leader is one that can empower those around them to make decisions in order to reach their own desires for success. Everyone has faced obstacles while trying to succeed; a great leader overcomes these obstacles. It takes all fruits of the spirit with strength and determination to accomplish a behavior for leadership. John Maxwell’s quote “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” has been my adopted motto for leading others. One with innovation to bring a sum of small efforts collectively together can result in a big impact.

What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? Every young woman has a dream. To every young woman I would say be loving and kind, but also fierce. Always treat others the way you want to be treated… no matter what. Following a dream takes being a woman of substance and determination to succeed. Every day I make a commitment to encourage and build up anyone that crosses my path. All in the hope that I could be the game changer for someone that day. If you encounter a hug or two from me along the way, it’s just me giving grace and being your encourager for that day.

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