Allison Greco: From Steel-Toed Boots to Power Heels

July 31, 2020

Allison Greco is a business owner, a pageant titleholder and an advocate for the American Cancer Society.

You would never expect that her career began working on the tracks of a railroad. Yes, you read that right. This power-suit wearing, business-savvy woman used to strap on her steel-toed boots and hard hat every morning and make her way to the train tracks. Since then, she has garnered multiple titles in the pageant world (Mrs. Oklahoma America, 2008- woop woop!), climbed the corporate ranks and then left the corporate world entirely to start her own business. Suffice it to say, she’s a powerhouse.

Allison was born and raised in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and found her way back to Tulsa after moving around the country with her Air Force Pilot husband, Tony, all while developing her career in continuous improvement. Somewhere along the way, they welcomed two boys into their family who are now 4 and 7 years old and super into riding their bikes to Swan Lake. (If you haven’t been to Swan Lake, you’re missing out.)

So, let’s set the scene. It’s 2018, Allison’s back in Tulsa and up to this point, her entire career path has revolved around continuous improvement and making companies highly efficient. Her job is to create a culture where employees are constantly improving. She’s searching for an organization that supports people like her in the continuous improvement profession, but it just doesn’t exist. So, Allison accepts the challenge. Fueled by corporate bureaucracy, a bad boss and an industry gap that needs to be filled; Allison founds Continuous Improvement International (CII).

CII is a fresh, modern professional society for continuous improvement professionals in service-based industries. By providing expert counseling, conferences and membership options, CII creates engaged employees who have the skills and tools to tackle real world problems and get results that have a big impact. This is the kind of support Allison wishes she had during the first half of her career.

Somewhere in between managing her career, launching a business, having two kids and moving across the country multiple times, Allison found herself competing in beauty pageants. She’s actually been competing in pageants since 2000, when she won the first-ever Miss Teen Sapulpa! She continues to compete in pageants to this day, motivated by her platform that promotes cancer awareness, education and advocacy.

Allison lost her mother to colon cancer when she was just three years old and her mother-in-law in 2013 to melanoma. Just this year, she was able to share her story with 600 people at an American Cancer Society fundraiser. She finds sharing her personal cancer impact story with others terrifying but cathartic. Her two little boys are about the same ages that Allison and her sister were when they lost their mom, so her passion for the subject is stronger than ever. Volunteering with American Cancer Society helps ease her heartache and gives her hope for the future.

So- what does the future look like for Allison? Like a lot of us, she’s taking it day by day. She’s looking forward to sending her kids back to school, skipping town to take a Caribbean vacation (eventually), shaking hands and sending her husband back to the office. Relatable. As for the future of CII-  she’s excited about the creative approach the past few months have forced her to take towards her business strategy. She’s trying new ideas and concepts that weren’t “part of the plan” and they are producing new, exciting prospects that were otherwise unforeseen. Oh, and on top of all that, Allison is competing in the Mrs. Oklahoma pageant in August. What can’t she do?

Check out Continuous Improvement International.