MURRAY- Payton Arant, owner of Payton and Associates, an insurance company specializing in health insurance, met her husband Josh on the NASCAR circuit and they eventually moved to Murray, his hometown. Payton’s path to Murray was filled with adventures, but she eventually found what she calls “her passion.”
Payton was born and raised in Bristol, Tennessee.
“Bristol is the birthplace of country music, and of course it’s all about NASCAR,” she said.
Payton wanted to work in NASCAR.
“I went to Belmont in Nashville, Tennessee, to be a host,” she said. “But with my Bristol accent and my tendency to mumble, I had a discouraging teacher who didn’t think broadcasting was right for me.”
But Payton continued with her major and worked as an intern with CMT doing production behind the scenes.
“I graduated and moved back to Bristol,” she said. “I was trying to figure out what I was going to do. Then I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina because I still wanted to be involved in NASCAR. I ended up serving tables and after doing that for a I really wanted to do something else. I called a cousin who lived in Hilton Head and told her I wanted to move. She called back a few days later and told me she had a job. and a place to live, so I moved in. I worked there in the summer and made a lot of money.
A job opened up with NASCAR and Payton said she lives and works as the TV show “Real World.”
“We were eight and we traveled the NASCAR circuit. We were working for Nextel (telephone company), promoting their phones and donating merchandise to all NASCAR races. It kicked me out. I loved working for a marketing company and I loved meeting and talking to all kinds of people.
She then went to work for a few NASCAR drivers.
“I was working as a goalscorer,” she said. “Our job was to record how fast they were going each lap and we were flying in a private plane from race to race.”
Payton then started working for another marketing group and promoting Chevy. It was there that she met her husband Josh.
“Josh worked for the same company, but his job was for Speed Channel. He drove a big truck, set up the stage for the channel broadcast, dragged it around for a few days, took it apart, loaded it up, and drove to the next location.
Payton said they were all in Daytona Beach, Florida, and she was hanging out with friends. One of them told her they were meeting the Speed riders and that’s when she met Josh.
“When I left that night, I told a friend of mine that I thought I had met the guy I was going to marry.”
They started dating and Josh, who was from Murray, had a young son at home and wanted to move to Murray to be close to his son.
“We moved to Murray in 2008,” Payton said. “I started working as a waiter at the Big Apple Cafe, meeting real people in a real world.”
It was there that she met John McConnell who came with a mutual friend of her husband.
“I didn’t want to continue serving tables and John said he needed a secretary and offered me the job,” she said.
Payton started working as a secretary, but quickly learned the trade of an insurer. McConnell pushed her into doing insurance and she eventually decided to take it on and found that she really loved what she did.
“I felt like I was really helping people,” she said.
Payton said she was very grateful to John for pushing her into the insurance business and giving her a start.
“He saw something in me that I didn’t know I had, and he helped me get to the point where I felt like I could take the reins and run with it.”
Payton was stressed about leaving the agency, but she wanted to do something she was passionate about, helping people make health insurance decisions, caring for her family, and leaving a legacy for her children.
Payton opened its insurance office in July 2021.
“I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me and grateful to my clients. My goal is not only to do this for me and my family, but also to help people who do not know the world of l insurance. It’s comforting to be able to help people.”
Payton said referrals are the best compliment she can receive.
She said that in addition to enjoying getting to know people, she is good at multitasking, but she never thought she would be a leader. She named her business Payton and Associates because she wanted the opportunity to help others succeed, just as she had been helped.
“I’m a mourner and sensitive, but I think sometimes we need a feminine touch. We provide care, but we can also take care of many things at the same time. And being emotional is not a bad thing. You can connect with people and be real.
Payton said Josh supported her in everything she did. As she considered opening her own business, he told her he was sure she was going to do something awesome and said, “I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do.”
Josh runs his own construction business and they have three boys, ages 8, 10 and 14.
“We live on the ‘Arant Compound’ in Hazel,” Payton said. “Josh is a very involved father and my in-laws are wonderful and helpful. I’m a mom, but during Medicare open enrollment, Josh does most things at home. For someone to be successful, you must have a supportive spouse/partner.
Payton said that early in her career she felt she was failing because she didn’t get into broadcasting.
“I’m proud that I did what I did and I kept going until I found my niche. I fell in love and life took me on a different path than what I had I found Medicare a more rewarding path because there are so many people who need guidance.
“I strive every day to be a good mother, a good business owner, and a good leader in my business and in the community.”
Payton currently sits on the board of HOPE Calloway.
“There are always challenges, but I feel like that’s what makes us better at our job. I have employees to take care of, I take care of budgeting, marketing and I always try to maintain a schedule so I can give time to my family. My life of trying new things, failing and continuing to find my way and do something different has led me to where I am today.