Ashley Payne's story is a testament to the transformative power of education, leadership, and community engagement. While at the University of Kentucky, Ashley immersed herself in various organizations, focusing significantly on leading the Mu Epsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. as the Chapter President. Additionally, she discovered her passion for mentoring and tutoring incoming freshmen through the Learning Services Center, laying the groundwork for her future endeavors.

Following her graduation in 2006, Ashley embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, a journey spanning 18 years. Despite her professional commitments, she prioritizes quality time with her family, relishing bike rides around the city and during travels. Ashley's dedication to giving back to her alma mater is evident through her active involvement as a Gatton Emerging Leaders Board Member, where she mentors aspiring students and connects with past alumni, particularly through Women in Business initiatives.

Reflecting on her student years, Ashley fondly recalls countless memorable moments, including a photo opportunity with Ashley Judd during a game—an experience that left quite an impression! When asked about advice for young alumni seeking involvement with the college, Ashley emphasizes the advancements at Gatton and encourages alumni to engage in various ways. She stresses the value of mentorship, highlighting the reciprocal nature of the relationship and the brilliance of Gatton students.

Ashley attributes much of her professional success to her experience at Gatton, where she learned the importance of networking and building meaningful connections. 

Looking ahead, Ashley envisions boundless possibilities for future Gatton students, urging them to engage with the intent of self-discovery and cultivate habits conducive to personal and professional growth. She emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusivity, particularly in observing Black History Month, as a means to promote understanding, dialogue, and the eradication of bias in the workplace.