Meet the IEEW Team
Get to Know our Oklahoma City Team
Dr. Terry Neese
Founder & CEO
Serial entrepreneur Dr. Terry Neese is a lifelong Oklahoman and has spent over 30 years finding careers for men and women. She is the founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services (TNPS), National Grassroots Network, Women Impacting Public Policy and the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). Terry’s daughter, Kim Neese, is now the President/Owner of Neese Personnel.
IEEW operates the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program which educates and empowers women entrepreneurs in developing countries to achieve their dream of financial independence, community involvement, and political activism. Since its creation in 2006, the program has educated just over 700 women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda, who have in turn employed over 13,000 of their countrymen and women.
A member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, and past national president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Dr. 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. She has been featured throughout several media outlets including MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, SBTV, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times and The Washington Post.
Terry is an inductee into the National and Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame; her involvement with women business owners and family issues is well documented through her participation with Women Impacting Public Policy and the National Center for Policy Analysis.
A successful businesswoman, Dr. Neese made history in 1990 when she became the first woman nominated by a major political party for the seat of Lt. Governor of Oklahoma. 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. In 2013 she 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 2014, Dr. Neese was only the second woman to be honored with the Oklahoma Sister Cities Global Vision award. Other notable accolades include NAWBO’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, Dr. Neese 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.
Terry 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. Current and previous roles include:
- Board of Director to the Euro-American Women’s Council
- U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, through which she traveled to Afghanistan in 2006
- National Advisory Council on Indian Education
- Les Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales (FCEM) Regional Commissioner for the Americas
- National Women’s Business Council (a bipartisan federal government council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President and Congress)
- Advisory Council for the United States Committee for United Nations Development Fund for Women
Terry is also a pilot and a former basketball phenom in Southwestern Oklahoma and Northern Texas. Daughter, Kim Neese, Neese Personnel, is the proud mom of Emily and Erin. They reside in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Contact Dr. Terry Neese at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karel Ford, CMP
Director of Operations | Mentorship Coordinator
Years of operating with a lean and mean team to produce meaningful, budget-friendly programs coupled with a love of learning people’s stories has been the two most beneficial skills needed in the quest to match qualified, enthusiastic mentors with a diverse, international group of women entrepreneurs. Listening to the wisdom of all the professional women and men excited about paying it forward through PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® helps to facilitate the research, planning and implementing that goes into educating women entrepreneurs each year. And, we’re not done yet!
Contact Karel Ford at email@example.com.
Teresa White brings over 20 years of international relief and development experience to the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women; a quarter of those years were spent with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their Financial Services for the Poor initiative. She has enjoyed traveling to developing countries, seeing, experiencing and learning from the vast cultures that make up our world today. Having spent time in 14 countries in all corners of the globe, including Afghanistan, Kenya, and Ecuador, she hopes to grow that number in the upcoming years.
Teresa grew up on beautiful Whidbey Island in the state of Washington; however, she lived most of her life in and around the Seattle area. She moved to Oklahoma City in recent years to be closer to her mother and was excited to find an international non-profit where she can add value in her role as Executive Assistant to Dr. Terry Neese.
Contact Teresa White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nikki grew up in the heart of Tulsa, Oklahoma and moved to the Oklahoma City area in 2012 to study Entrepreneurship at the University of Oklahoma, recognizing the power of business to create positive impact in the world. After graduating in 2015 from business school where many are molded into young professionals who go on to work at large corporations, she rejected this idea and went on the search for something meaningful that would bring her the experience necessary to be a change-maker.
Nikki began as a volunteer intern for IEEW in the fall of 2017 and is now the Student Coordinator for the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program. She is inspired daily by the powerful women in Afghanistan and Rwanda using business to create change.
Contact Nikki Sharber at email@example.com.
Get to Know our Team in Afghanistan & Rwanda
In-Country Facilitator, Afghanistan
Manizha Wafeq graduated from the inaugural PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® class in 2007 and is currently teaching her 12th year of PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® training in Kabul as the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women’s In-Country Facilitator for Afghanistan. In this role, she has taught and mentored more than 350 Afghan businesswomen in Kabul and other smaller provinces. In December, Manizha led business trainings for nearly 50 women for the second year of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® / Northwood University Pathways mini-courses in three different provinces of Afghanistan.
Manizha is the co-founder of several organizations to advocate for women's economic empowerment, including the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Network, and Leading Entrepreneurs for Afghanistan’s Development (LEAD), a predecessor organization for the Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI). Her persistent and influential lobbying skills resulted to change LEAD to a women’s chamber of commerce which gained more attention and influence to businesswomen around the country. In only 1½ years of AWCCI’s life, several policy recommendations were incorporated and approved. Among them were the 5% preference clause in the national procurement procedure of the government and 15-25% of industrial parks to be allocated to small, medium and women-owned businesses in the national industrial park’s policy.
- She has over 16 years of experience in women’s empowerment and gender equality working with international, government and non-governmental organizations. Despite being a mother, she managed to earn her MBA from the American University of Afghanistan in 2017.
- Co-author of a training manual on Business Start-ups and a “Gender and the Legal Framework of Afghanistan” training manual.
- Winner of several awards such as the Enterprising Women Magazine Award from the United States, Leadership Award from the National Business Association of the US, and Young Activist Award from the Afghan Women's Network and the Afghan Lower House of the Parliament.
- Established gender units within the Ministries of Commerce and Industry and trained their staff. She trained more than 500 government employees on gender concepts in Kabul and in some provinces.
- Founder of Bibi Khadija Award; An annual award honoring successful businesswomen and role models in Afghanistan. The award is named after the Prophet Mohammad's wife who was the first Muslim woman trader.
Contact Manizha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In-Country Facilitator, Rwanda
Chantal Munanayire is a successful businesswoman born in Rwanda. She has been married for 24 years and is a mother to four beautiful children. Chantal holds both Rwandan and Canadian citizenships.
In 2014, Chantal graduated from the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Entrepreneurship Training Program and was named an Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine of USA.
Since 2015, Chantal has taken on the role as In-Country Facilitator Rwanda for the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women’s PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program, where she teaches the entrepreneurship training program for 30+ women, and facilitates the top 15 women to go to the USA for mentorship and leadership development in July every year.
In 2016, Chantal received a National Business Association Leadership Award in Dallas, Texas during the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Leadership Development Summit.
In 2017, Chantal was honored with an Award by the American Embassy as a Women of Courage for her entrepreneurial spirit, leadership and commitment to improve the lives of low-income women and girls to support them with the resources they need to be successful.
Chantal was elected as Chairperson of the Chamber of Arts and Crafts and as a Board member of the Private Sector Federation of Rwanda in 2018.
Chantal serves also as the Board of Directors of Gasabo Investment Company, a public company providing various business activities, including the development of property/real estate projects.
To contact Chantal, email her at email@example.com.