Colette Payne is an organizer, leader, student, mother, and grandmother. Her passion is to educate families to build healthier communities.

Since 2014, Colette has acted as the head of the Visible Voices program for the CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers) Program and now serves as the Policy Associate for Cabrini Green Legal Aid. In her role, she helps engage those directly impacted by the criminal justice system to become agents of change and creators of solutions. She frequently speaks at community events on topics ranging from the reunification of children and mothers, reproductive justice, mental health care, the need for increased programming in prisons, and barriers to employment for people with criminal records.

In 2015 Colette joined the delegation to assess women’s prisons in Illinois, becoming the first formerly-incarcerated woman to serve in this role in the entire United States. Colette has appeared on television and spoken at conferences, churches and universities, as well as testified before legislative committees. Colette was selected as a 2016 Fellow for JustLeadershipUSA. She also serves as one of the co-chairs of the Women’s Justice Institute’s Statewide Women's Justice Task Force of Illinois. Colette is living proof that change is possible.

The Impact Award honors three leaders working to improve the lives of women and girls by expanding economic security, ensuring freedom from violence, and/or enhancing access to health services and information.