Title: Founder President: Historical Theater, Inc.; Edmond, Oklahoma; United States
Oklahoma Playwrights Association; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; United States
Founder/CEO Nationwide HealthSearch, Inc.; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; United States
Janis K. Montgomery-Contway, Founder/Director of Nationwide HealthSearch, Inc., Founder/Director of Oklahoma Historical Theater, Inc., and Founder/Director of Oklahoma, Playwrights Association has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Business Owners for dedication, achievement, and leadership in business and theater.
Growing up on her Cherokee Grandmother’s farm, Janis was the first in her family to complete high school. When her essay regarding integration was submitted by an English teacher and won a national contest, the teacher needed a script for the Junior musical and assigned Janis to write it. Never having attended a musical, Janis wrote a well-received musical comedy and was asked to write the Senior musical the next year. The joy of seeing her work onstage lead Janis to know writing for the stage and screen would be an important aspect of her life.
After graduating high school at barely seventeen, at age nineteen, Janis completed the Registered Nurse program at Bacone Indian College with a minor in Visual Arts. With the help of her arts professor her sculpture and paintings were displayed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and sold through New York City galleries.
As a nurse, Janis served in the Emergency and Delivery Room at the local General Hospital and later used the writing skills developed in high school with the problem-solving skills from her nursing education to develop, write and manage grant programs for a six county health program where she also wrote a newsletter for physicians and illustrated a nationally recognized coloring book to attract Native children to the health professions which was exhibited in galleries in Washington, D.C. and the Cherokee Nation.
She later accepted a position with the Office of Native American Programs in Washington, D.C. and represented Natives to the World Health Organization, consulted with the Indian Health Dental Program and developed legislative proposals. In response to an inquiry from Hollywood producers, her stories were telecast by the “Kojak,” “Baretta,” and “Rockford Files” television series.
To return to Oklahoma, Janis accepted a position as Physician Recruiter with the Oklahoma City Area office of the U.S. Public Health Service where she used her writing and performing skills to speak to physicians and to develop brochures, magazine articles, and audio-video programs which became national models for recruiting health professionals to Indian Health Service.
Upon leaving Indian Health Service, Janis used her writing skills to develop scripts for producers and contract proposals for what became her multi-million dollar military contracting firm, Nationwide HealthSearch, Inc. While developing her business, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and wrote “Caring” a rock musical to attract youth to health careers.
On April 19, 1995 while driving near the Red Cross in Oklahoma City, Janis noticed smoke spiraling from the tragic bombing of the Murrah building and responded to an urgent call for nurses to aid survivors. She became a “First Responder” to the tragic emergency which took the lives of 168 men, women and children. Like others frustrated by the inability to save those who lost their lives that day, Janis could only offer comfort to families and others forever impacted by the horrible event.
While continuing to develop Nationwide HealthSearch, Inc., Janis determined to follow her creative instincts by earning a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing for the Stage. Her thesis, a full-length comedy set in the oil bust of the eighties, was performed by the university and throughout the Southwest where the boom and bust economy of the oil business is a part of the culture. She later wrote her first full-length outdoor musical performed annually for several years at the site of the Land Run that settled central Oklahoma. The production resulted in commissions to write similar musicals for other sites and she is currently completing a Native American musical set in the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
Soon after her first historical musical, Janis established Oklahoma Historical Theatre, Inc. a non-profit organization to involve more individuals in the excitement of history performed onstage and in movies. Each production resulted in commissions for more musicals as well as seven children’s one-act musicals performed by a church organization in the suburbs of Chicago. Janis also continued to write ten minute plays for local theaters.
Recognizing the need for greater numbers of Oklahoma Playwrights, Janis formed Oklahoma Playwrights Association to encourage more individuals to enter the field and to promote the production of more original works by communities and theaters statewide.
As a testament to her success in theater, Ms. Montgomery-Contway has received several awards for her songs, playwriting and community service from state and national organizations and was nominated for Best Actress at an International Film Festival.
Ms. Montgomery-Contway attributes her success to God and believes the application of scientific problem-solving techniques from her nursing career and the writing skills developed in high school along with being enthusiastic about each new opportunity are all important for success in any field. She appreciates the support and help of her family, employees and others.
The highlights of Mrs. Montgomery-Contway’s career have included the success of her family and her business along with the success of her non-profit organization and the joy of seeing her movies, film and full-length comedy, six full length musicals, six one act children’s musicals and around twenty of her ten minute plays produced in theaters around the U.S. and in a few foreign countries.
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