Marlin Payne
Executive Assistant to the President and CEO

My job is to keep folks on task and manage a lot of moving parts. Our president and CEO is very active both externally and internally, so it is a major pet peeve of mine when people aren’t on time.

I had to hit the ground running when I started here at VPP, but I’ve tried to take the time to really understand the work we do. I am a thinker. I like to delve into a topic.

In this role, I’ve learned how to pivot; I’ve learned how to roll with the punches. Sometimes you have a to-do list and your agenda planned for the day, and then it all goes out the window.

Our work is highly collaborative. We have a small staff, but when we go to meetings and folks see the good work we’re doing, they think we have a staff of 40 or 50.

I see what we do as creating healthy environments for caring professionals to shepherd young people into being productive adults.

I come from an at-risk background. I was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. Growing up, no one told us that we lived in a city with high poverty and crime – or that we were poor. I understand the challenges that children and young people in the region face and helping provide an alternative future for them through my work at VPP is very rewarding for me.

After college, I got an internship doing communications work in the nonprofit world. I loved reading the feature stories in the newsletters we produced. I knew then I really wanted to do something where I could see the impact of my work.

I am the king of road trips. I have a little bit of a reputation around here. I love, love, love the open road. A couple of weeks ago, I drove from D.C. to Tallahassee and back in about four days. It gives me a chance to clear my head.

If I had to choose any organization to work for where I could make the biggest impact for communities in need, I would choose VPP. I would say I’m at that organization right now.