ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
Meet Thomas R. Payne Jr.
Life Coach and Adversity Strategist
Thomas R Payne, Jr. is the son of Thomas R. Payne, Sr and Elaine Payne. His father was honorably discharged as a Sgt. after 23 years in the U.S. Army; while his mother remained a homemaker, caring for Thomas and his eight younger siblings. As a military family they lived in Germany and throughout the United States, finally settling in Louisville. Kentucky when Thomas was fifteen.
Although he had never played basketball, entering Shawnee High School in 1966 as a 6’10 sophomore, he was immediately recruited to play on the basketball team. Ultimately, he became a high school basketball star earning All-State and All-American honors as a senior. In 1969, in an historic signing he became the first African-American basketball player at the University of Kentucky under the renowned coach Adolph Rupp and the second African American basketball player in the South Eastern Conference (S.E.C.) In his sophomore season he was named to the All S.E.C. 1st Team and was selected an Honorable Mention All-American.
At the end of his sophomore season, he entered the NBA hardship draft and was selected as the Number One pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 1972 to begin what was to be an illustrious professional career.
Along the journey to become a star athlete, Mr. Payne fell from grace and a potentially lucrative career, through actions that led to multiple confinements within the criminal justice system. He has spent more than 30 harrowing, demeaning years fighting for his emotional, physical and spiritual survival
Emerging from incarceration in early 2019, he has created and birthed the vision of Transformational Victories. With a clear and definitive understanding of incarceration, the serious and far reaching impacts of crime on all segments of our society, as well as the deep rooted and complex challenges of transition, Mr. Payne has dedicated himself to helping individuals and communities successfully adapt to the reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals and others facing tremendous obstacles.
Mr. Payne is active in several faith-based organizations and is also a member of Toastmasters, International. Through his personal speaking tour, “Lessons in Transformation,” Mr. Payne is sharing his personal experience, compassionate insights, and heart wrenching testimony of struggle, personal development, responsible and accountable behavior, daily faith walk, intellectual growth and emotional maturation that has led to his personal Transformational Victory.