In addition to the Agenda Project, Payne is also the founder of the Tesseract Group, a boutique consulting firm that provides strategy and communications expertise to select public policy and political organizations.
Past Tesseract clients include: the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, Roosevelt Institute, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Center for Independent Media, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and America Votes.
Prior to founding the Agenda Project and the Tesseract Group, Payne co-founded the Democracy Alliance, a donor collaborative whose partners have invested over $100 million in progressive organizations.
Her early career included serving as Deputy National Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 presidential re-election campaign and as a consultant to a number of campaigns and political organizations. In addition to her public sector work, Payne has held senior marketing positions in the private sector.
Payne is the author of The Practical Progressive: How to Build a 21st Century Political Movement, which Jonathan Alter of Newsweek called “a blueprint for a progressive conspiracy to help save the country.”
She is on the Board of Advisors of the Public Diplomacy Collaborative at the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Payne has a MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (2000) and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1991).