Empower Mississippi Announces New Chairman of the Board

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Ridgeland, MS – March 20, 2024 – Empower Mississippi announces the election of Abb Payne as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors. Payne will succeed Gerard Gibert, who has served with distinction in the role for the last ten years. Gibert announced his decision to step down as Chairman at the March 18, 2024 Board meeting. He will remain on the Board. 

Under Gibert’s Chairmanship, Empower Mississippi has grown from a tiny start-up to an influential and respected advocacy organization with ten full-time staff and combined annual revenue of over $2.6 Million between the Empower associated entities. 

“Gerard Gibert’s leadership has been profound for our organization and for the state of Mississippi. His dedication to our work has helped bring about substantial progress in education reform, removing barriers to work, and public safety. I am deeply grateful for his service, his ongoing commitment to our work, and his friendship,” said Grant Callen, CEO of Empower Mississippi. “As we look to the future, we are thrilled to welcome Abb Payne as our new Chairman. Abb brings a wealth of experience, a deep understanding of our mission, a powerful entrepreneurial perspective, and a visionary outlook on Mississippi that will propel us to even greater impact.” 

Abb Payne expressed enthusiasm about his new role, saying, “I am proud to step into the role of Chairman of the Board for Empower Mississippi. It is my honor to lead Empower as we continue to make a huge impact on so many Mississippians.”  

Reflecting on his tenure, Gerard Gibert said, “It’s been an honor to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Empower Mississippi since the organization’s inception in 2014. While we’ve accomplished a great deal over the last decade, much work remains.  

I’m excited to remain on the board, working alongside Chairman Abb Payne, other board members and the Empower team as we advocate for sensible policies that will enable all Mississippians to achieve their greatest potential.” 

Abb Payne is a third-generation entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Payne Companies, a family office and investment manager to many diversified entrepreneurial endeavors. The company owns, co-owns, and manages home health, hospice, and private duty companies, specialty pharmacy operations, multiple assisted-living facilities throughout the southeastern United States and many other various businesses. Payne served as president and CEO of Camellia Home Health & Hospice for 16 years. With Payne at the helm, Camellia grew exponentially and eventually sold to Encompass Health in 2018. Payne’s most recent endeavor is Arden Home Health and Hospice, a statewide care organization taking care of Mississippians in their greatest time of need. 

Gerard Gibert cofounded Venture Technologies, a technology solutions provider headquartered in Ridgeland in 1986. He served as the company’s CEO from launch until its sale to publicly traded ConvergeOne in January 2019. Prior to ConvergeOne’s acquisition, Gibert engineered Venture’s acquisition of five companies between 2014 and 2018, increasing annual revenues to $225 million with a staff of 303 across 11 states. He currently hosts MidDays with Gerard Gibert on SuperTalk Mississippi, each weekday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.