Meet Trust Mermaid Nancy Ellis

Heritage Trust Founder Nancy Ellis

It’s Leap Day, which happens only once every four years. Our shortest month gets an extra day and I’ve got an extra special mermaid for you – an Oklahoma State University Alumni Hall of Famer. Heck, the following year the whole state put her in its Hall of Fame, too. She’s the type of woman who makes the leap time and time again for people and projects she’s passionate about.

Meet Mermaid Nancy Payne Ellis, a founding member of Heritage Trust and all around community magic sprinkler. She’s served as the trustee of the Presbyterian Health Foundation, past chairman and trustee of the Oklahoma City Art Museum, lifetime trustee of the Payne Education Center and board member of the National Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She was the first female chairman of the Oklahoma State University Foundation Board of Governors, too, among other notable appointments. Yeah, she’s a giver. She has also gone through her own times of adversity, including becoming a widow at a young age. I’m so happy she’s come up for air to say hello this week.  Bolded statements are this week’s mermaid pearls of wisdom. 

ML: Nancy, tell us about the moment you made the deep dive for your dream in becoming a founding member of Heritage Trust.
NE:  Well, I did not dream HTC and I did not have a plan to start a business. God’s plan for my life has always been bigger than anything I could dream. The thing that makes me proud is the people that were willing to take the risk of starting something from ground zero. They left a job with security and said this will be fun and we think we can do this.  My interest was to protect my family when the business environment in OKC banks changed.  The hard work and integrity of the Heritage family, everyday, is amazing. I am their cheerleader.

ML: Gratitude is the key to happiness, I think. What always brings a smile to your face?

nancy ellis
Nancy with her husband

NE:  My family brings a smile for me.  My husband has supported me in every facet of my life.  Our faith, our involvement in the community, and combining a family that is happy together has been a blessing. I have a deep faith.  God’s presence is always with me.  At times I have said He was tired of hearing my voice. My family finds joy in supporting one another in all circumstances.

ML: What’s been the biggest challenge in your life what did/do you overcome adversity?

NE:  I was widowed at the age of 38 and I had 4 children.  Our family and friends walked with me every day through joy, sorrow, fear and comfort – whatever life was on any given day.  My children are faithful, productive citizens and have wonderful families of their own.

ML: What are your favorite tool(s) for enlightened living (presence, intention, action)?

NE: I attend church every week.  I do a lot of reading and certainly include prayer and reflection.  Friends, friends and more friends.  Book club, playing cards, Thunder games, OSU activities and travel.

ML: You certainly are someone who lives life to the fullest. For our mermaid readers today, I hope you’ll take a few moments on this “bonus day” and think about how you can make the leap to make your own dreams come true and make time for more joy.

Learn more about the legacy that Nancy helped to create at:


To living in the deep,



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