Maruchy Cantu

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Maruchy CantuMy Dallas Story

Maruchy Cantu is Executive Vice President Administration, DE&I at DFW International Airport. Under that umbrella sits human resources, supplier diversity and development, risk management, communications and marketing, government relations and community engagement.

“The airport is a key piece of our region’s success and we take our role in supporting the region’s growth very seriously,” Cantu said. That makes her job interesting and exciting;

“The region is growing like crazy and the airport is the engine that makes that happen. If we didn’t have the airport, I don’t think the region would have been successful at attracting so many fortune 500 companies to the area”.


Cantu came to Dallas for college with the intention of returning to California where she grew up, but life had other plans.

“I met my husband in college and decided to stay,” she said. After earning her undergraduate degree at UNT, she got her MBA at Dallas Baptist University. She then joined defense and CPG companies in the private sector, where she stayed for more than 20 years.

“Never in a million years would I have thought I would end up with a career in travel and transportation. The airlines were always interesting to me, but with the volatility of the industry, I ran hard the other way.”

But when she got the call about a role at DFW, she didn’t turn it down flat, thinking instead it was worthy of further investigation, at the very least. Sean Donohue, now CEO, sold her on the opportunity.

“Sean coming from private sector really helped me understand the journey of aviation and airport administration in particular… who wouldn’t want to work for him? He’s an incredible leader.”

Her team says the same of Cantu, calling her a servant-leader, someone who leads by example, and who truly listens.

She says when leading a group of people, you have to be sensitive to individuals’ needs and differences.

“You don’t give up on people – help bring everybody along. Those who are struggling the most are the ones you need to spend more time with. We cannot lead people as a collective – we lead them as individuals to get a collective experience.”

Her advice to people just starting out in their careers or those contemplating a pivot: “You have to explore everything – there are jobs today that didn’t exist before. And there will be jobs in five years with all this AI and gen-AI that don’t exist now. You can’t necessarily plan for these roles, but you can explore when they start to emerge.”

Exploring and innovating is key to the DFW mindset, which held its first Boost competition in August, 2023. It was two days of internal competition between 11 teams, with the mission of eliminating waste. (Think: plastic, glass, and cardboard)

There’s also consistent thought on how to clear passengers faster and get them from the land side to the secured side – something that will become more critical as the airport, which turned 50 this year, prepares for two big construction projects: reconstructing terminal C, and building a sixth terminal, Terminal F.


“We are a uniquely positioned airport to service the entire United States. You can fly anywhere in the U.S. in no more than a four-hour window. DFW International is the only major airport in the United States where you can do that.”

It’s that convenience that has led to consistent growth; 80 million passengers came through last year, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Projections show that the Dallas-Fort Worth Region is on track to surpass Chicago in terms of population by 2030.

In her non-working hours she and her husband enjoy traveling and exploring small Texas towns. The highlight of her week is the Friday date nights with her husband where they enjoy trying new area restaurants and catching up on their week. However, she and her husband find incredible joy spending time with family, especially their two adult boys.