Marisa Howard – 20 Under 40

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GeneIQ 
Education:  University of Texas

As the COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted everyone’s lives, Marisa Howard has managed to make the most of it.

She works as director of communications and media at her husband, Frank’s company GeneIQ, a molecular diagnostic testing laboratory serving corporations, long-term care facilities, physician practices, state and local governments, small businesses, and others.

Our sister publication D Magazine reported how the company developed a test that detects COVID-19, two different strains of the flu, and the common cold, without the more invasive version of the nasal swab.

“I was finally able to see my creative talents translate into tangible assets.”

Howard also published a series of children’s books about two sisters and their travels.

“Juggling our business and promoting my books has been a challenging dance, but I finally feel like I’ve found my place in my career,” she said. “I was finally able to see my creative talents translate into tangible assets. In 10 years, I hope to see two more sets in the Sissies Adventure series and to have helped build our molecular diagnostics business to be one of the top three leading laboratories in the world, with an innovative advantage.”

Howard said a “varied and unusual path in multiple creative industries” led to her career. 

She spent a decade in fashion working for Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, Skinceuticals, Stanley Korshak, and American Airlines. She also worked part-time in the design district at Samuel Lynne galleries for two years, received yoga certification, and created a blog, Marhow. 

Her family supports such nonprofits as Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and the Family Place. She chaired DCAC’s Art for Advocacy in 2017 and the Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon in 2019. 

“I enjoy supporting various causes but focus mostly on those that serve children,” Howard said.

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

I had my first summer job when I was 15 years old. My older sister and I did data entry in cubicles at UMC United Medicorp for our dad, who was the CEO. I remember being bored out of my mind and saying that I would never want a desk job, which is probably why I desired to work in so many creative industries… It’s ironic that 20 years later, I love living at my desk… and my dad is pleased that his daughter followed in his healthcare footsteps.

Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

10 years from now, I’d love to see myself having created more of what I’ve started in 2020. It was a wild year when everything fell apart in the world, but a turning point in my career when everything came together. I was finally able to see my creative talents translate into tangible assets. In 10 years, I hope to see two more sets in the Sissies Adventure series, and to have helped build our molecular diagnostics business to be one of the top 3 leading laboratories in the world, with an innovative advantage. We will continue to tweak the brand as we transition our pre-pandemic products back into our offering, and strive to better serve our patients. As the global climate transitions from a pandemic state into an endemic state, we want to continue to make a difference in the fight against Covid and empower people to gain control of their health through Next Generation DNA sequencing. That work will never be done.

What would you tell an 18-year-old you?

That it’s okay not to know what your path is yet. Stay curious and work hard, but enjoy being young!

What’s on your bucket list?

To read the Sissies Adventure Series to my granddaughters.

Fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you:

I collect art. My favorite is a contemporary piece by British artist Benjamin Shine, a large acrylic box with hot pink tulle in the shape of Andy Warhol. We designed our contemporary home around much of our art collection.


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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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