“Leadership is not a position or a title, it is an action and an example.”
– Cory Booker


Michelle Clarke Payne coordinates and disseminates information about the Junior League of New Orleans as the Communications Council Director on the organization's Board of Directors. During her year as Communications Council Director, she hopes to continue to grow and evolve the perception and understanding of the impact JLNO has on the community. Michelle combines her strong management and communication skills with her professional experience to oversee promotion of JLNO's events, businesses, and community projects via traditional advertising, social media, press releases, the Lagniappe publication and the organization's website. Working closely with the President, Board Members, committee chairs, and staff, Michelle reviews all print and digital materials and provides guidance on additional opportunities to extend JLNO's influence.

After joining JLNO in 2013, Michelle spent her first Active year on JLNO's Touch a Truck fundraiser, which she would eventually co-chair. She then began using her career talents for the organization's branding and public relations efforts. She believes the Junior League provides her with the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals who are focused on advancing the wellbeing of women in our community. Through her involvement, she has met some incredible women that she respects and admires greatly. She's learned that when a powerful and determined group of women come together, anything can be accomplished.

Michelle is Senior Director of Investor Relations at United Way of Southeast Louisiana where she creates, plans and executes key communication strategies to grow and cultivate donor relationships across a seven parish region. She also oversees both Women United and Alexis de Tocqueville Society, two affinity groups of civic and philanthropic community leaders. From 2006 to 2016, she was the Management Supervisor at Peter Mayer Advertising in New Orleans, where she specialized in account development, strong client relationships, strategic planning, collaborative thinking and producing great creative that delivers results. Michelle's passion also lies in giving back to the city she loves. She is an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University New Orleans where she teaches the advanced advertising campaigns class. She sits on the board of directors for both New Orleans Ad Club and American Advertising Federation District 7. In addition, she sits on the Loyola Alumni Board of Directors and is involved in many local nonprofits. She has received the Account Executive of the Year Award through the New Orleans Ad Club, the Spirit Award through American Advertising Federation District 7, and the Young Alumna of the Year award from Loyola University.

Originally from Lafayette, La., Michelle received a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University New Orleans and her Master of Public Administration from University of New Orleans. She now lives in Lakeview with her husband Nick and their two-year-old son Clarke. They are also expecting their second child in July. She says her parents, sister and friends inspire her daily through their compassion and unwavering support.


Michelle Clarke Payne, Community Council Director