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Kennedy Payne has a passion for horses and is hoping to take that love and parlay into a marketing position in that industry.

Payne was recently selected to be a part of the exclusive East Central University Business Scholars Program, not only because of her academic achievements, but her ability to show leadership skills in a manner of being an extension of the university’s faculty through the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business.

She actually developed leadership skills while attending Konawa High School. Not only did she serve as president of the local Business Professionals of America chapter for two years, she, along with a sponsor, helped resurrect the inactive group.

“We worked to build the organization and create more opportunities for involvement. We started running canned food drives and coat drives, as well as hosting the Veteran’s Day Assembly,” Payne said. “I helped organize and narrate the assembly as well as the meal provided to the veterans and their families afterwards.’

Through the BPA chapter, Payne was able to have a one-on-one visit with State Rep. Todd Thomsen and see the continual growth of the group and how it has made a difference in the community since she has graduated.

“Without the experiences and opportunities I gained from this organization, I wouldn’t be here at East Central University, pursuing a degree in business,” said Payne.

Through ECU’s Business Scholars Program, skills are developed in being an event volunteer such as assisting with career fairs, professional trips and student/faculty recruiting activities. Additionally, these students are department hosts or hostesses for professionals who visit the programs and for prospective students visiting campus.

They also serve as mentors, providing leadership for the Business Leaders Association (BLA) student organization and working with the younger ECU students in the Freshmen Scholars Program.

Payne says she was recruited by ECU’s Wendell Godwin, dean of the Stonecipher School of Business, for the Freshman Business Scholars Program, before she graduated from Konawa High School.

“I was hesitant at first, because I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting myself into. When I came to the Stonecipher School of Business for the first time to enroll for my first semester of classes, I was overwhelmed,” Payne said. “But meeting with fellow scholars and being surrounded by intelligent, kind and equally overwhelmed students calmed my fears. The opportunities and experiences gained through the Business Scholars Program are indescribable. I am ready to continue my college experience as an ECU Business Scholar, to chase my dreams and reach my goals. I believe the ECU Business Scholars will help me reach my career aspirations.”

Payne, who currently works as a compliance and funding associate at Kellogg and Sovereign, LLC, has already had the opportunity to apply communication skills learned from her communication in the workplace class at ECU and her computer application skills have been enhanced in her computer business applications class with Dr. Stacey Bolin.

“Lastly, although I am not an accounting major, financial and managerial accounting gave me a better understanding of how the business operates and how my job factors into those operations.



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