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Noelle LeVeaux

Noelle LeVeaux’s job is to sell Dallas. And, she says, it isn’t a tough sell. Diversity, a burgeoning cultural scene and the propensity for doing things bigger and better make Dallas a great place for single 20-somethings as well as growing families. As chief marketing officer at the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau and a mom of two, Noelle stays busy working to spread her passion, convincing organizations to spend their time and bucks in Big D. Although her position is demanding, she thrives on the pressure because she genuinely loves the product she markets – Dallas itself.
 
Oddly enough, Noelle isn’t even from Dallas. She grew up in Deerfield, Illinois – a small northern Chicago suburb. But she has long been a convert to the charms of Dallas. “When I decided to move here, I was one of those people that got suckered into the whole ‘I wasn’t born here but I got here as soon as I could,’” she says. “I like people who are proud of who they are and where they are, so that drew me to the city. Through the years I have become more passionate about what a great place Dallas is to live and to raise a family.”
 
Noelle seems relaxed with her hair down as she sits on a couch in her spacious home and matter-of-factly recounts her history, but she’s all business too. An impressive résumé ­– no doubt enhanced by her sharp, confident manner – helped Noelle secure the coveted position at the CVB. It couldn’t have hurt that, in addition to affection for this city, she truly knows Dallas. She’s been plugged in since moving here after college in her early twenties and can be found kicking back at hot spots like Fearing’s Restaurant with her tight-knit group of girlfriends or exploring Dallas treasures, such as the new Perot museum, with her daughters, 8-year-old Sydney and 4-year-old Jordan.
 
It’s a wonder the single mom has time for a social life at all. In addition to a demanding career, Noelle is enthusiastic about giving back to the community. She teaches children’s Sunday school at her church every week and is in the process of launching a nonprofit focused on aiding single moms in practical ways. It’s not her first foray into the nonprofit world. In 2004 she founded the local affiliate of Dress For Success, an organization that outfits struggling women in interview-appropriate garb. On maternity leave at the time, Noelle came across the organization while searching for ways to get involved in the community. “I was always really passionate about women and children,” she says. “I thought that would be a great organization to get involved with. I went online and we [Dallas] didn’t have one, which meant to me I had to see if I could start one.”
 
Noelle is known for diving into a variety of side projects – something her friends and family tease her about. But don’t call her a dilettante or dreamer: This lady delivers. Along with her sister, she launched a black dating website several years ago; the sisters also joke about starting a Seventies-inspired clothing line. In 2009 Noelle wrote a children’s book titled I Miss You When I Sleep featuring daughter Sydney as the protagonist. Noelle had noticed a dearth of children’s books featuring African-American characters and wanted to develop something her daughters could relate to. The book, she says, is the first in a planned series. Noelle is passionate about writing and jokes that when she dies, her daughters will find a cache of everything from children’s books to completed screenplays and novels.
 
Noelle also manages to act as room mom for her girls and is a runner who’s completed full marathons. She confesses to minimal sleep. And while she shows no signs of slowing down, age and motherhood have taught her to lighten up and take herself less seriously. “One of my mantras is, ‘Cut yourself some slack,’” she says. “Cut your friends some slack. Cut your coworkers some slack. We all have hard days. We all have a lot that goes on in our lives. To be able to keep it balanced most of the time is pretty good.”
 
Balance is more important than ever for Noelle, who admits to occasional bouts of working-mom guilt. She plans far in advance, trying to nail the important things but remembering not to obsess over the small stuff. “There’s so much time that you can have with them that is valuable,” she says of her children. “And as a single mom, it’s not like I have a whole lot of choice here. I’m going to work.” The good thing, she says, is that she loves what she does. Noelle’s satisfaction outside of the home helps her to be a better, more emotionally available mother to her girls. Plus, her job affords fun perks for Sydney and Jordan, who are especially fond of hotel room service. Noelle jokes that Sydney thinks Disney star Selena Gomez, whom she met at the Children’s Holiday Parade, might come babysit her someday.
 
While Noelle has notched an impressive set of accomplishments in her 39 years, she believes her greatest feats are yet to come. She’s been a high achiever from early on, earning her high school’s highest honor, the JFK Award, before going on to Atlanta’s prestigious Spelman College on a full math scholarship. She has filled numerous leadership roles over the years but points to Children’s Med Dallas, a five-part television documentary series she helped produce while working at Children’s Medical Center, as her proudest career achievement. She never would have dreamed of producing a documentary earlier in her career, but, true to form, Noelle plunged in, refusing to limit herself. The result was a powerful documentary that received high ratings (the episodes can be viewed YouTube).
 
Noelle credits her mother as the driving force behind her work ethic. Her parents moved to Deerfield when Noelle and her sisters were young. Deerfield was anything but diverse; at the time it was a 95 percent white, mostly Jewish community. Noelle’s parents recognized that the suburb provided better opportunities for education and advancement, and they pushed her to succeed. Noelle says that a desire to make her mother proud is one of her most significant motivating factors. “I’m inspired by the choices my parents made to give their kids a better life,” she says. “Those decisions opened up a world for me.”
 
Noelle jokes that 40 is beckoning, but there is no midlife crisis in sight. She would love to remarry, but all of the other pieces seem to be in place. “I’m excited to enter into my 40s,” she says. “When I look at the road ahead of me, I can’t even begin to imagine what my 40s are going to hold.”