M. DeLois Strum
Chief Executive Officer
MDStrum Housing Services Inc.
In 1981 M. DeLois (Dee) Strum struck out on her own, launching MDStrum Housing Services Inc. to assist public housing authorities and community development corporations in neighborhood revitalization, commercial and real estate development, strategic planning, public-private partnerships and homeownership and entrepreneurial program initiatives. Success followed success, including serving as HUD’s national disaster recovery contractor from 2005 to 2009 and working with other local, state and federal governments as a provider of training and technical assistance.
Her parents, Major Perry G. Strum Jr. (USAF-Ret.) and Mary E. Strum, gave inspiration. “They are my ‘guiding stars’ who ensured we became and remained faith-centered,” Strum says. College adviser Noel Myricks, Ph.D., and Fay H. Williams, Esq., who Strum describes as “a feminist and supporter who actively promotes the development of the next generation of Black female leadership in this country,” provided mentorship.
With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in community development from the University of Maryland at College Park, Strum served two governors as executive director of the Indiana State Housing Board. She is the national president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, a former member and continuing supporter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (Indianapolis) and the Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP. Strum is a frequent speaker on gender and racial-equity issues and has awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Indiana District Office, the Harvard-based Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) Top 100 Inner City businesses and the Women’s Business Enterprise Council, Great Lakes Region.
One dream has yet to be fulfilled. “I would like to develop, fund and direct a leadership development institute for young Black girls as a short-term residential program for building self-esteem and promoting education — for example, financial literacy; exposure — introducing them to STEM-related careers,” Strum says.