Terry Neese is a third-generation Oklahoman, conservative Republican, successful entrepreneur, and award-winning small business advocate. Raised on a farm in Southwest Oklahoma, Neese went on to start Terry Neese Personnel Services with $600 in her pocket. She turned that $600 into a thriving business that has found jobs for over 37,000 Oklahomans.
Known as a small business expert, Neese served as the national co-chair of President Trump’s small business advisory council and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the “Power 30”—the most influential small businesspersons in Washington, D.C. Neese is also the founder and President of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW).
Neese is the former president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Under her leadership, the organization led the successful passage of H.R. 5050, which President Ronald Reagan signed into law. This historic legislation made it possible for women business owners to obtain a small business loan or credit card without a male signature.
In 2013, Neese received the Enterprising Women Legacy Award, the National Women Business Owners Corporation Leadership Award, and the Journal Record’s “Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEO.” In 2013, Dr. Neese also became only the second woman to be honored with the Oklahoma Sister Cities Global Vision award. In 2017, Neese received the Goddess Artemis Award in Athens, Greece.
Neese has been appointed to numerous councils and positions with nominations by prominent leaders, such as presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Neese has served on the Board of Directors to the Euro-American Women’s Council, the U.S. – Afghan Women’s Council, the National Advisory Council on Indian Education, Les Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales (FCEM), Regional Commissioner for the Americas, and the National Women’s Business Council. In those roles, Terry has traveled to six foreign countries to work hand-in-hand with women who aspire to independence and business ownership, often within societies that too frequently limit those aspirations.
Terry lives in Oklahoma City, and in addition to continuing her non-profit work, is a proud mother and grandmother.