How an Influencer on the Global Scene Makes a Difference | Terry Neese | Purse Power


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Ep. 223 - Terry Neese started her entrepreneurial career more than 30 years ago as a young woman with a dream. Today, she spends most of her time helping other women achieve their dreams and become advocates. Terry Neese is a serial entrepreneur, small business advocate, international relations executive, and past NAWBO national president. She’s also the founder and CEO of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW), which is focused on educating women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda. I had the pleasure of getting to know Terry and her fantastic operation when I was invited to podcast women during their Leadership Summit. I soon become a big fan of both Terry and IEEW. They are doing more for women's empowerment than just raising money and lip service. They have “boots on the ground” and have accomplished real progress within the countries. In this episode, Terry explains how the IEEW supports women entrepreneurs in Rwanda and Afghanistan plus the effects of the recent Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan. Listen in to learn how women entrepreneurs are being impacted by the takeover and how the IEEW is helping them be in a better place. You will also learn how to support Afghan women entrepreneurs mentally, financially, and educationally in any way you can.

Key Takeaways:

  • How you can become a mentor to women business owners in Afghanistan and Rwanda
  • How to support Afghan women mentally and educationally plus consider becoming their e-mentor
  • The importance of donating money to crucial courses that support those in need

"I think it's important as a non-profit to stay pure, clean, and very helpful to our mission." -Terry Neese

In this episode you’ll discover:

Terry’s career background and the history of the IEEW in Afghanistan and Rwanda [3:05]

How IEEW provides business training, mentorship, leadership development, and opportunities [5:53]

How selected US women business owners get to mentor their Afghan and Rwandese counterparts [7:40]

The impact of the Taliban takeover on IEEW women from Afghanistan [10:26]

Terry explains how they’re helping the Afghan IEEW women get visas to enable them to get out [14:03]

The challenges Afghan businesswomen are facing and how to help them as an entrepreneur [22:14]

The topics e-mentors teach the Afghan women plus how IEEW is currently helping them [26:38]

How they’re helping these women resettle in the US and possibly restart their business here [31:21]

Shannon explains how different organizations are coming together to help resettle Afghans [36:54]

Why Terry is solely focused on supporting only women business owners [39:38]

The top 3 actions you should take to support and impact the Afghan women [41:20]

The power of prayer for Afghanistan during these hard times [44:14]


Written up in Wikipedia, Terry Neese is a force to be reckoned with!

Terry describes founding her own business with $600, turning it into a "multimillion-dollar business", Terry Neese Personnel Service in 1975. In 2000, she passed on the company to her daughter, Kim Neese-Brown. She has said that her company has helped find employment for more than 24,000 people in Oklahoma.

Terry had created and led multiple organizations with a worldwide outreach. For example, she co-founded GrassRoots Impact, Inc. with Democratic National Committee member Barbara Kasoff. GrassRoots Impact provides a communications strategy for corporations and government agencies to effectively reach out to women and minorities in business.

In 1986, she founded a charity called Oklahomans Helping Oklahomans. The next year, she was named a co-chair for Business Partners Inc. in Oklahoma.

She is the co-founder of WIPP (Women Impacting Public Policy) which was created in 2001. According to Terry, WIPP has over 600,000 members and works to advocate for women in business.

Terry is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Educating and Empowering Women All Around the World which strives to educate women in business.

One of her most important groups is Peace Through Business, which is a business training and mentorship program for women in Afghanistan and Rwanda.


In 2001, she created the Terry Neese Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, and SBA Women's Business Center, in which she serves as the Chairwoman of the Board.


Terry Neese was inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame, sponsored by Enterprising Women, in 2004. In 2013, she earned their Enterprising Women Legacy Award. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 2007.

Neese has been recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the “Power 30” – the most influential small business people in Washington, D.C. In addition, she was 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. A three-time Fifty Making a Difference honoree, Neese is a member of The Journal Record’s Circle of Excellence.

She received the Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 50 Making a Difference from the Journal Record.

Sister Cities’ Global Vision Award luncheon honoring Terry Neese drew a full house to the 50th floor of the Devon Energy Center.


Greater Oklahoma City Article

Journal Record Article

Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women

YT Terry Neese Empowering Women

YT Terry Neese: Inductees of the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame

YT Terry Neese Testifying Before Congress

YT Terry Neese 2022 PTB Welcome



Donna Miller is the founder and CEO of Purse Power, Let's Share the Journey. Purse Power promotes women-led, women-owned businesses by providing a Google extension that allows everyone who visits your website to locate nearby businesses.

Let's Share the Journey holds calls at 10 AM Central every Friday to learn from national leaders to share expertise, ideas, and support. One week a month features Zoom Room networking. We support Donna's endeavor and have provided the speaker calls in a podcast format. Please join her on Friday mornings! You can register for the calls here.

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