Annie Oakley Society Award
Mo Anderson joined Keller Williams Realty as president and chief executive officer in 1995 and shepherded the company from 35 market centers to more than 530 within 10 years. Known at times as the “Velvet Hammer” for her uncompromising values and standards, Anderson’s astute business acumen and leadership abilities are uniquely matched by her faith and compassion.
The youngest of 5 children born to tenant farmers in rural Oklahoma during the late 1930’s, Anderson’s first love was the piano. She was the first person in her family to complete a university education. With a degree in Elementary Education, Anderson taught music as a public school teacher for 14 years before entering the real estate field, where her talents as a businesswoman quickly took hold. Anderson established her first real estate office, a Century 21 franchise, in Edmond, Oklahoma in 1975. Soon after, it was the third top-producing office out of 7,500 Century 21 locations in North America. In 1986, the company was sold to Merrill Lynch Realty, where Anderson served as a district Vice President until December 1989.
Anderson’s standing in the real estate community did not insulate her from the fallout of the collapse of the oil business in Oklahoma in the late 1980’s. She and her husband, Richard, lost nearly everything at the age of 54 years. In response to those financial challenges, Anderson formed ProDevelopment™ Systems in 1990 – a training and consulting company that served clients in Oklahoma and Texas.
It was during this period, in 1991, that Anderson met Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller Williams Realty, which developed into the biggest opportunity of her life. Two years later, when Gary launched a search for a new top executive to take Keller Williams Realty to the next level, he quickly realized that he had already met the best person for that role. In January 1995, Anderson agreed to become president, chief executive officer, and partner of Keller Williams Realty. Anderson served in both roles until 2002. In 2005, she assumed her current role as vice chairman of the board.
In December 2006, Anderson was named one of America’s Top 25 Influential Thought Leaders by REALTOR magazine. In January 2007, the Women’s Council of REALTORS featured Anderson as one of Real Estate’s Most Influential People in an article published in Connections. In 2008, Anderson was inducted into the prestigious Hall of Leaders by the CRB Council and featured in the Swanepoel Trends Report as one of the “most influential women who have shattered the real estate management glass ceiling.”
In December 2010, Anderson was named Woman of the Year by the Edmond, Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce and was later selected to be the 2011 Pioneer Woman of the Year by the Pioneer Woman Museum Advisory Board in Ponca City, Oklahoma for making a tangible difference in her community and society as a whole. In 2012, Anderson was honored by an invitation to serve as a Regent on the Board of Regents for the University of Arts and Science of Oklahoma. Anderson was honored by the Edmond, Oklahoma Historical Society with the “Roll of Honor” Award in 2013, which recognizes individuals who have made a substantial contribution to the Edmond community through volunteer or supportive endeavors that provide lasting benefits. Anderson was inducted into the RPAC Hall of Fame in 2014.
Anderson has been named twice as Oklahoma’s Women in Business Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. She serves, or has served, on the boards of Edmond Memorial Hospital, the Francis Tuttle Vo-Tech Foundation, the Daily Living Center, and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Anderson’s passion for helping others is seen in her contributions to two non-profit organizations that she founded. The Gregg Foundation, a tribute to her parents, is committed to service to the elderly, and KW Cares, Inc., a 501(c)3 founded in 2002, which serves the emergency needs of Keller Williams associates and select global philanthropies. Following the 2005 Katrina disaster on the Gulf Coast, KW Cares raised $5.3 million under Anderson’s leadership to support rescue and recovery efforts of Keller Williams associates in affected region.
Anderson authored “A Joy-Filled Life: Lessons of a Tenant Farmer’s Daughter Who Became a CEO.” She has toured North America speaking about her book in a presentation called “7 Pillars of a Joy-Filled Life. “
In 2014, she launched www.MoAnderson.com, an on-line mentorship community through which she shares life changing leadership principles that create a joy-filled life. Deeply believing that the higher purpose of business is to give, care, and share, Anderson encourages every member of the community to pay it forward by mentoring others using her library of resources.