Board of Trustees welcomes two new members

Aug 11, 2022
Edie Rogers

The two newest members of the Brenau University Board of Trustees are a longtime Hall County-area community leader and a former financial services CEO and current executive coach.

Hart Wilheit Payne and John Addison will begin their three-year terms in November 2022.

“With the addition of these two new trustees, Brenau continues its tradition of being guided by a board of trustees who understand the value of higher education and the dynamics that drive the institution,” Board of Trustees Chair Mike Smith said.

Payne has volunteered within Gainesville and Hall County, Georgia, for the last 20 years and has held a number of leadership positions across various organizations and boards. Since 1999, she has served on the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Auxiliary as president and in various positions within the organization. She was president of the Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County in 1999.

She is a past member of the boards for Quinlan Visual Arts Center and Sisu, formerly known as Challenged Child and Friends, and is currently on the House Committee of Chattahoochee Country Club. She has been active in the lives of the youth of Hall County through her work as auction chair for Lakeview Academy and as a Girl Scout leader.

Payne is a 1999 graduate of Leadership Hall County and a 2006 graduate of Leadership Georgia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in third-world studies from the University of the South. She worked for former Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal when he served as a member of the U.S. Congress.

Payne’s father, Philip Wilheit, is a trustee emeritus of Brenau. She and husband Jeff Payne, M.D., a retired cataract surgeon and ophthalmologist, live in Gainesville, Georgia.

Addison, former co-CEO of financial services company Primerica, joined the company in the early 1980s and helped navigate its North American expansion. He later worked with other company leaders on the 2010 initial public offering of Primerica Inc., a multi-year effort recognized as one of the most successful IPOs of the decade.

Addison developed a passion and talent for motivating others that allowed him to inspire and empower more than a million people during his career. In addition to his stellar reputation as a businessman, Addison has made a name for himself as a top-rated speaker, renowned for using his down-home delivery and humor to provide insight and wisdom on leadership, personal development and success. Addison also served as leadership editor for Success magazine, where he wrote regular columns and blogs.

Today, he is focused on his passion for helping people become the best they can be. He truly understands how to inspire and motivate, and wants to share his insight to help others achieve the success they crave.

Addison earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Georgia and was honored by the UGA Alumni Association as one of the Bulldog 100. He also has a master’s degree from Georgia State University.

Addison and wife Loveanne live in Clermont, Georgia.

“I’m pleased that Brenau continues to recruit and retain high-quality trustees, and we are most fortunate to attract trustees of distinction,” Brenau President Anne Skleder said. “The experiences and insights of Hart Payne and John Addison, both of whom have long service as community leaders dedicated to Gainesville and Hall County, will be beneficial to the university as we move forward with our new strategic plan. I look forward to working with them and our entire Board of Trustees for the continued betterment of our university and its students.”