Our Company Beginnings
Transport the listener into the journey of contemporary history-makers by bringing to life the memories and “recollections” of the barriers encountered and the strategies employed to go under, over, around or through every obstacle encountered. It is our shared hope that these stories will work to inspire others to lean-in and keep on living their best life!
Nan has been President of Nan McKay and Associates, Inc. since 1980. She started Nan McKay Connects LLC in 2019 and has started 6 other businesses over the last 50 years. She has received numerous awards including the Allan Anderson Award of Merit from Minnesota National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the Section 8 Administrators Award, in 2018 the National Association of Women Business Owners' (NAWBO) Signature Award for Southern California, and in 2019 she was selected by NAWBO as the California Woman Business Owner of the Year. She was co-founder of Minnesota Women in Housing and has served on the Board of Directors for the National Leased Housing Association for many years. She has two buildings named after her in Minnesota, a 10-story elderly high-rise, the Nan McKay Building, and a family subsidized development, McKay Manor
Nationally recognized entrepreneur, social change agent and women’s activist, Dee Dee Strum has to her credit a portfolio of accomplishments in the field of community development and business ownership as evidenced by many notable awards to include Small Woman-Owned Business of the Year (U.S. SBA-Indiana District); Indianapolis Mayor's Award for Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year; ICIC Top 100 Inner-City Corporations; Women's Enterprise Business Network Council (WEBNC) Great Lakes Region Outstanding Business Owner of the Year; NYC Network Journal's Top 25 Black Women In Business; NAWBO Indianapolis Trailblazer Award. Dee served a four-year term as national president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., serving as thought-leader and principal spokesperson, connecting 60+ chapters nationwide with national
Kent Watkins is the Founder and Chairman of the American Academy of Housing and Communities. With a long history of government involvement, starting with his involvement in writing the original Civil Rights Act to his championship of applied urbanism today. He has advised Capitol Hill, the White House, HUD, and various interest groups to advocate for adequate budgeting and rulemaking in the area of affordable housing, transit-oriented development, climate/environment including education, jobs, solar energy, urban cybersecurity and block chaining. He worked closely with the French embassy in D.C. as a co-sponsor of the recent bi-national urban climate change conference and was nominated for the French Legion of Honor for his participation. He has lectured worldwide on a variety of topics.
Dr. Terry Neese has been a global leader for decades. She is the woman behind the IEEW organization. She is a serial entrepreneur, founding both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Terry's two most successful organizations are Neese Personnel Services, now run by her daughter, Kim, and her current venture, the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women. She has instilled a sense of empowerment into everyone she meets; including, empowering women in war-torn and developing countries. She has received numerous awards and honors over the years including an Honorary Doctorate from Northwood University and a seat on the U.S. Afghan Women's Council alongside Mrs. Laura Bush and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Most recently she has received the Enterprising Women Legacy Award, the Journal Record's ''Oklahoma's Most Admired CEO's'' and the Sister Cities Global Vision Award. In 2018 she was honored as one of 100 Oklahoma Women Trailblazers, by the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma, in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Oklahoma women winning the right to vote. She has also been voted in the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Oklahoma since its inception in 2012.