We had the good fortune of connecting with Fabi Payton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Fabi, what principle do you value most?
I value honesty most of everything. I believe honesty sets a foundation for building relationships. When you are being authentic and honest with yourself it promotes openness with those around you which creates a trust that allows real open dialogue that can create meaningful change. Honesty is impactful and is much more complicated than just not telling lies.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a teacher. I usually say this with a tinge of sarcasm by saying “I’m just a teacher.” Being a teacher is what has opened the door and given me the courage and insight into helping build relationships between the various aspects of my community and beyond. That is what sets me apart from other community activists I run into. What I do in the community is what I do in my classroom. Building relationships is one of the huge cornerstones of teaching.

It was not easy at all. At first I was terrified! I walked up to the chief of police after a public forum and just wanted to give him some ideas to help him build relationships with the community. I didn’t expect to follow through with all of this and I certainly didn’t plan to volunteer to help them and then soon after, police departments all over the world. I was terrified that I would lose my job. I was terrified my family and friends would all turn their back on me. At the time police and community relations was a very polarizing topic. While many friends did turn away from me, I gained new and better friends and didn’t lose my job. I am grateful that I work for a school district who heard and supported my heart. So whatever obstacle came my way, I was determined overcome it. I overcame the low points through lots of faith, personal prayer, and an insane amount of support from places I never expect! From my mom to my business coach, people will show up and surprise you in many great ways! But the day to day I overcome because of this deep fire inside me that just loves to help and pushes me to keep going.

Along the way I learned to take no for an answer. Fight for what’s right and just but don’t waste your time trying to convince or get the wrong people to understand what you are saying, just find someone else who will listen and out number them. There’s always someone else and there’s always another ear to listen and a heart that’s open. I learned that no matter what you are doing, you have a human responsibility to rise up. We all have in us the power to create change and when we don’t use that power, we are wasting our life.

What I want people to know about me and my brand is that we just wanted to help. That no matter how complicated it seems or silly, some of the things that we do, what the public actually sees is 25% of us just wanting to create something that helped people come together in a time when our nation felt like it was splitting apart to crumbles and my community looked as though it would soon follow behind.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh my gosh, yes! Say we only have one perfect sunny day. So we would start by grabbing and iced Harvest Latte coffee at Harvest to-go. Then, we run down the street to La Espiga Dorada to grab conchas and tacos and head over to eat them at the gardens on A&M’s campus. Then we rent a few bikes and ride around until our legs get tired or we get hungry. Once lunch comes we grab burgers at Charlie Mac’s burgers then back to campus with hammocks to nap near century tree. We go home to get dolled up the dinner at Cilantro, light dinner because Charlie Mac burgers are a whole day’s meal, but after a mango margarita we stroll downtown chatting and laughing and maybe popping in a store or two until Halo opens and catch the drag show. If it’s a whole week then we would definitely make it to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning and get to Lake Bryan to float and watch the sunset. If I say anymore my close friends will use this against me and yell at me for not doing this with them.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my husband whose unwavering love continues to push, encourage, and support me to the ends of the world and back.

Website: www.iheartbryanevents.com

Instagram: iheartbryantexas

Twitter: @IHeartBryanTX

Facebook: I Heart Bryan

Image Credits
Thank you Specialties Photography for taking our very first team pics.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.