Terry Neese is a third generation Oklahoman, conservative Republican, successful entrepreneur, an international executive, and award-winning small business advocate. Raised on a farm in Southwest Oklahoma, Neese went on to found Terry Neese Personnel Services (TNPS), National Grassroots Network, and the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). Terry has found and created thousands of jobs for men and women in Oklahoma and across the nation.
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.
Throughout her 31-year career, Neese has been a leading advocate for the advancement of opportunities for women, men, and families here in America and across the globe. Most notably, Neese is the co-founder for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), an organization comprised of over a half-million women entrepreneurs and executives committed to strengthening their overall impact on public policy and on our nation’s economy. Neese was also a Distinguished Fellow for the National Center for Policy Analysis. During her tenure, Neese led the organization’s Family Policy Center and developed policies to help women, families, and small business owners save more money and make better financial decisions.
Neese has been appointed to numerous councils and positions with nominations by prominent leaders, such as presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, 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, the National Women’s Business Council, and the Advisory Council for the United States Committee for the United Nations Development Fund for Women.
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.
Neese is known as a small business expert and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the “Power 30”—the most influential small businesspersons in Washington, D.C. Neese was also named an Outstanding Business Leader by the Northwood University Board of Trustees in 2006, and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the university in 2008.
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. Other notable accolades include NAWBO’s Lifetime Achievement Award and an induction into the National and Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.
Neese and her husband, Earl, were pilots. They were married for 39 years before he passed in 2012. She is also a mother and grandmother as well.