Sisterhood in Leadership

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS

Stacey Payton is a graduate of DC 37’s first Women’s Leadership Academy. A Local 1359 member who has worked as a New York State housing and community renewal specialist for 29 years, Payton has served as her local’s recording secretary for 12 years.

Women’s Leadership Academy graduate Stacey Payton with 1359 President Dennis Ifill. Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera

Payton recently completed both the six-month intensive WLA training and the six-week Harvard Trade Union program after reading about them on the union’s website. “The idea was planted while I was attending Cornell University’s labor program,” Payton said. She applied for the Harvard Trade Union program and won the William Lucy scholarship. “My employer is very supportive. When I also saw that my union was offering AFSCME’s leadership training at DC 37 headquarters, it was a no brainer.”

“The camaraderie, our sisterhood, and relationships I found at WLA are so valuable,” Payton said. “I learned to empower, enlighten, engage, and improve.”

Payton balanced work, school, and family with her family’s support. She also has support from Local 1359 President Dennis Ifill, who said, “Stacey Payton works very hard and with these programs under her belt, there are no limits to what she can do to help make our union stronger.”

“Labor history is my passion,” Payton said. “My eyes are open to what’s possible when working people come together and speak truth to power and work for change. I’m open to the challenges ahead as part of the next generation of labor leaders.”

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