staff

Vanessa Payne
(University of Maryland)
Experiential Staffing Coordinator

Vanessa is well positioned to serve in the Experiential Staff Coordinator role, as she is well versed with Thayer - she joined the Thayer Leadership team in 2019 as an Observer Controller for in-person programs and has since served in a variety of roles. She later transitioned into the roles of Observer Controller for virtual programs, Technical Support for virtual live sessions, and performed as an Online Guide for Thayer's online platform. Vanessa additionally now serves as the Experiential Staffing Coordinator overseeing support faculty for all online courses and in-person and virtual experiential programs.

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Vanessa began her leadership journey when she had the honor of representing her country as an athlete playing basketball - competing at the junior and senior international levels. Vanessa received her B.A. from the University of Maryland School of Journalism (Go Terps!). She has gained professional experience working in several countries in various fields, including athletics, education, communications, and even the fashion industry. All of these experiences and opportunities challenged her to develop unique and adaptive leadership skills essential for working with high-performing teams.

After having the privilege of living in the amazing military community of West Point for over 10 years, she relocated to Illinois, where she currently resides with her husband and two children. She is proud to remain part of Thayer Leadership, supporting the mission of “building leaders of character.”