Women now lead four Central Dallas business groups in a sign of growing gender equality in Dallas.
They are not elected officials, but these women have been chosen for jobs that have power and influence over what’s happening in Dallas.
They are leading a transition to a denser, more
walkable urban core and they say they are doing so in a new, more collaborative
Kourtny Garrett is the first woman to be
President and CEO of the business group, Downtown Dallas, Inc.
“There’s a fundamental culture shift happening in Dallas, and in the urban core,” Garrett said. “The density is coming in, the desire for mixed-use environments.”
Lily Caatu Weiss is Executive Director of the
Dallas Arts District, which has large venues that benefit the adjacent
“We gain a lot by sharing and promoting each other’s assets, by collaborating on events and projects. And certainly, safety is key for all of us,” Weiss said.
Stephanie Keller Hudiberg, Executive Director
of The Deep Ellum Foundation, said the women enjoy better cooperation than there
has been in the past.
“Especially when it comes to city
building, it’s the intersections, it’s the overlap, where people have historically
worked in silos where it gets interesting and where we can find the most work that
we can advance in a way we haven’t thought before,” Hudiberg said.
Kathy Stewart is Executive Director of Uptown
“I’m collaborating with other women and I do
think we have a similar perspective and I think collaboration is the key,”
For instance, Stewart said a pending project to add street lanes for scooters and bikes should not end at the edge of downtown but should continue through Uptown.
“We need to make that work so that the urban
core works better, functions better,” Stewart said.
The number of people living in these Central
Dallas areas has grown by thousands in recent years with many more on the way.
The concerns for these leaders cover everything
from the color of flowers in common areas to homelessness. They work to see
that the denser new urban neighborhoods have the services working parents might
“Competing with each other is not going
to take us where we want to be,” Stewart said. “I think where we will be much
stronger is if we work together.”
It is a new level for
the women in power and for Central Dallas.