Boss Ladies: Six Fort Worth Leaders on the Ascent

Fort Worth women continue to make their mark on the area. Whether in traditional oil and gas and established nonprofits or in cutting-edge manufacturing or workplace and lifestyle culture, these Fort Worth natives, or near-natives, are forging new paths for the city’s future — and their own.

Faith Geiger and MaryAnn Means-Dufrene

Faith Geiger and MaryAnn Means-Dufrene have lofty goals: to change the workplace as a platform for human potential for a better world. But for now, they are focusing on the new $175 million development at the Stockyards.

Their company, Collective Growth, has been tasked to find the executive team and build a company culture for Majestic Realty and Hickman Companies for Stockyards development. One of their latest finds has been Kristin Assad for the position of vice president and general manager of the new four-star Hotel Drover, slated to open this October in the Stockyards. They were able to steal her away from the trendy Joule Hotel in Dallas. Sensitive to their task, Majestic has focused on hiring Fort Worth companies to rebuild the old horse and mule barns into appropriate retailers (think Stetson and Wrangler), restaurants, and office tenants on Mule Alley — even using all of the old bricks to preserve the rich history, Geiger says. “It’s seamless in walking down Exchange to Mule Alley,” says Means-Dufrene. “There is no abruptness. Everything is in character.” The Stockyards draws more than 3.5 million visitors annually, making it the largest attraction in Fort Worth. The new development is designed to increase attendance by upwards of 1 million people and keep people in the area longer, Geiger says.

Finding the right fit for personnel and creating an environment where employees can thrive is what Geiger and Means-Dufrene, trained in social work and psychology, respectively, are all about. 

Geiger, 36, and Means-Dufrene, 40, came to Fort Worth as teenagers with their families. From there, Geiger attended UTA with a bachelor’s in social work and is now working on her research for a master’s degree in social work and business administration. She has worked for retailers like Neiman Marcus and lululemon, as well as Satori Capital. Means-Dufrene, an Arlington Heights graduate, has degrees in psychology and business from Texas A&M and UTA and has worked as executive director for Susan B. Komen Fort Worth and deputy chief of staff for Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

Collective Growth began in 2017 with Geiger. Means-Dufrene joined as a partner in 2018. Their focus: “We’ve seen incredible cultures and thriving people, and we’ve also seen the opposite,” Geiger says. “How do we support the strategic initiatives for the company, support their financial goals and support the well-being, growth and development of the people? We take a therapeutic approach to business.” Means-Dufrene adds: “We partner with the leadership team to create a space for the development and the flourishing that people really desire and that benefits the business.” 

Clients so far include Channel 5/Telemundo, where the team helped turn around the sales department culture as the channels merge and reorganized; and M2G Ventures, a real estate firm, identifying talent for their growth and establish systems of performance and their strategic vision.