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Houston's Leading Ladies

Meet 5 Women Entrepreneurs Who Are Making a Difference

Houston is home to many incredible women making a difference in their communities and inspiring others to do the same. 

From architects to activists, these inspiring women are forging a path for success and creating powerful change within the city. Here are five of Houston's leading ladies who are making an impact. 

Lois Snider
Owner
The Great Rug Company

While growing up, Lois Snider dreamed of becoming a buyer for a large retail clothing store, which makes sense.

 Her dad, Ed Friedman, was senior vice president of Foley’s in Houston, where Lois worked in the clothing department during high school. But fate had other plans when her parents, Ed and Wilma, opened The Great Rug Company in 1989.

 Lois began helping at the rug store in 1990, during her last year in college as a marketing major. Around the same time, she met her future husband, John, who helped with bookkeeping.

 While at the company, Lois became a rug buyer, using her eye for color and design to select the perfect rugs. In 2007, Lois and John purchased the business.

 As an owner, Lois still uses her skills as a buyer to find unique, high-quality rugs.

 “I try to buy what’s trending,” she says, noting a current shift from grays toward more vibrant colors.

 But rugs aren’t the only product available.

 “We do wall-to-wall carpeting, and also make rugs out of carpet, offering various patterns, textures and custom sizes,” she explains.

 What Lois enjoys most about the business is building relationships.

 “We really get to know our customers,” she says. “Rugs are very personal and are like artwork. A rug adds color and texture to the room, and pulls the room together. Finding the right rug for the right person keeps us going.”

 Learn more at greatrug.com.

Alex Cox-Cuzzi
Co-owner, certified senior advisor (CSA) ®
CarePatrol Central Houston

 Imagine it's the day before Thanksgiving, and someone from the hospital calls to say they need to discharge an aging loved one tomorrow.

 But you need help placing them in a new senior living community.

 What do you do?

 This happened to one of Alex Cox-Cuzzi's relatives, so she contacted the local CarePatrol senior advisor for help.

 "She was able to place our relative in a community the day after Thanksgiving," Alex recalls.

 That level of service is also available in Houston. Alex and her husband, Lew Mickley, purchased CarePatrol Central Houston in September 2022. Their service area includes Garden Oaks, River Oaks, Tanglewood, the Heights and Timbergrove.

 "My husband and I have been interested in the senior industry for a while," Alex says. "Both of us have aging parents we're assisting."

 As Certified Senior Advisors (CSAs) for CarePatrol Central Houston, they empower seniors and their caregivers with what they need to make informed decisions. One pro tip is to contact them before you or a loved one is ready to move into a senior living community because you may have limited options if you wait.

 "The most fulfilling part of working with seniors and their caregivers is seeing the relief on their faces when they realize that I can help them," she says. "I want people to know that they're not alone."

 Learn more at carepatrol.com/centralhouston.

Meg Gaydou  
Owner/architect 

M Architecture

Megan Roe's love for architecture began as a teenager when she helped her father work on projects around the house, which ranged from home remodeling to building furniture.

 "In high school, I started taking architecture classes and knew right away I wanted to be a part of the architecture program at A&M my freshman year in college," she recalls. "Ever since then, it's been my passion."

 After earning her master’s degree and gaining experience working at various architecture firms, she opened M Architecture in 2013. Her firm specializes in creating stylish, unique designs that make clients' spaces personalized and functional.

 "I love the creative aspect of it," she says. "Building a strong client/architect relationship is a must."

 Megan’s attention to detail and ability to bring her clients' projects to life, no matter how big or small, helped propel M Architecture to a multiple award-winning firm. Luxe Interiors + Design recognized Megan's work by naming one of her projects the 2020 winner of its regional Residential Excellence in Design (RED) award for contemporary/modern architecture in Houston.

 Over the years, the firm has designed projects for hundreds of clients and recently created a design/build platform. Megan is proud of what she has achieved as a woman in a very competitive and male-dominated industry.

 "Having a dream at a young age and now living it is really exciting," she says.

 Learn more at marchitecture.com.

Kristi Axel
President

HAXEL Landscaping

 When Kristi Axel learned about the tragic loss of Tellepsen Landscaping founder Marc Tellepsen and lead landscape architect Mark Scioneaux in a 2019 plane crash, she was at the site of an installation for a commercial project in Houston.

 "I remember knowing I have to complete this, and it had to be the best because this was Marc Tellepsen's pride and joy," she recalls.

 The project was a success, and they even won the bid to do maintenance.

 "What kept me going was I just wanted them to be proud," she says.

 This dedication and determination helped Kristi excel after joining Tellepsen Landscaping as an operations manager in 2015. So it made sense when Marc's wife, Jennifer, approached her about taking over the company in 2021.

 Given Kristi's degree in business administration, she always thought she'd own a company. But she never thought it'd be a landscape design-build firm.

 Even so, she partnered with lead designer Michael Hernandez to purchase the company in 2022. While they renamed the company HAXEL Landscaping, it remains a family business dedicated to providing excellence in design, hardscape, installation and maintenance services.

 From residential yards to commercial projects, there's no job too big or small.

 "Everybody deserves beautiful landscaping, so our tagline is, 'Live your best outside life,' and that's what I want people to do," she says.

 Learn more at haxellandscaping.com.

Tammy Spencer
Founder
Dyslexia School of Houston

When Tammy Spencer turned the apartment above her detached garage into a classroom over two years ago, she had one goal: to provide a space where children with dyslexia could learn and thrive.

 This was during the pandemic when schools closed, and many students struggled to adjust to online learning. With decades of public education experience, Tammy understands the challenges children with dyslexia face, so she founded the Dyslexia School of Houston, where students could get individualized attention in a safe space.

 “If they can’t learn the way that we teach, then it’s up to us to teach the way that they learn,” she says.

 The classroom had just a few chairs, folding tables and a whiteboard. But it was a place of limitless possibility where teachers taught a curriculum that met each student’s needs.

 Today, the school serves over 60 students ages 4 to 15 in a building nearby. And what started as a small experiment grew into a collection of success stories.

 For Tammy, seeing a student’s face light up when they realize they can do anything they set their minds to is rewarding.

 “The best thing is when I get videos from family members where a child we’ve been working with is reading to their younger sibling,” she says.

 Learn more at dyslexiahouston.org.

Having a dream at a young age and now living it is really exciting

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