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Grace Payne, SSGM, Special Olympics Asia Pacific

Grace Payne

Sargent Shriver Global Messenger

Grace is a 24-year-old who has been with Special Olympics New Zealand for 13 years as an athlete, coach, volunteer and leader, competing in basketball and powerlifting. Since she completed her Athlete Leadership training in 2017, she has been involved in numerous leadership roles. With SONZ, she is Co-Chair of the Athlete Input Council and an Athlete Representative on the Board of Trustees. With Special Olympics Asia Pacific, she was previously Co-Chair of the Regional Athlete Input Council and plays an advisor role in the council now. Currently a member of the Asia Pacific Advisory Council. Grace was awarded the inaugural Ray & Stephanie Lane Award in Global Inclusive Leadership in 2022 in recognition of her exemplary contributions to the movement to of inclusion. She was involved in FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Human Rights Risk Assessment consultation, Global Youth Ambassador for Global Charity Their World - advocating for every child around the world and unleashing the potential of the next generation, Disability and Inclusion Advisor, Sport Hawkes Bay, Research Project – talking about people with disabilities participating in sport and about their coaches and NZ Food Network Athlete Ambassador – Pitch in Campaign – feeding hungry kiwis nation-wide campaign. Grace is excited to continue her leadership journey, working with athletes around the world towards the shared goal of inclusion.

“I have a passion and drive for Athlete Leadership and inclusion, and I'm a very determined person. I like working in a team environment where we can work together to achieve our goals. I want to create change in society and make our world a better place for all. I also want people to know about Special Olympics and why we do what we do and fight for inclusion.”

Sargent Shriver Global Messengers 2024 – 2027


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