The Mavericks have never been afraid to distinguish themselves by making unorthodox moves many would consider questionable. The foresight of the club didn’t begin with the draft day trade for rookie sensation Luka Doncic. By far the most significant addition this season has been in the business office.
After a explicit company crisis Mark Cuban reached out to Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, former AT&T Senior Vice President. The trailblazer inherited a staff embroiled in controversy and disgrace leaving many to wonder was the resulting 10 million dollar punishment/ donation sufficient. “Did the NBA get this right?” was a common narrative expressed by most NBA fans. Marshall answered Cuban’s cry for help by transforming the Mavs back office into a thriving hub of diversity and inclusion all the while making history.
After being told she was the first female African-American CEO of an NBA organization her response was “I DON’T BELIEVE IT! I shouldn’t be the first of anything in 2018.” Such a response only begins to highlight the selfless personality of this American hero. Having battled domestic violence throughout her early years she more than anyone else would be especially empathetic to the deplorable atmosphere outlined by Sports Illustrated this past summer. Marshall’s personal experience coping and overcoming physical abuse, prenatal death, and adoption gives her a perspective seldom seen in NBA circles. A back office with superiors dominated by white males is now more comprehensive and variegated. This can be directly attributed to the work of the Mavericks CEO. The Richmond California native understands the magnitude of her position and plans to establish a standard not caped by her color or heritage. Marshall initially proclaimed the Mavericks would be “the model” on how to handle this type of misconduct in the work place and by all accounts she is succeeding.
Her tenure hasn’t been all roses either as she’s continued to face adversity with ingenuity and confidence . In July she spearheaded a breakfast and donation for the Dallas Police Department that the department turned down. The motion was meant to recognize officers lost in the line of duty as well as victims of police violence. However the move was met with much controversy and skepticism. The campaign was coined #BB725 #UNITY. Cynt tweeted about the crusade that was taking place in multiple places across the country.
— Cynt Marshall (@cyntmarshall) July 25, 2018
Surely disappointed by the lack of reciprocity the focus immediately shifted to an alternative solution. Instead of accepting the denial she was able to transition the good deed to a local Boys and Girls club. This type of forward thinking has guided Marshall to a new professional high. The Mavericks CEO has overcome so much in her life that “overcoming” is now a part of her DNA. Her never give up attitude is infectious and can be felt throughout the company and the NBA. During All-Star weekend NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, commended Marshall and the team for the complete overhaul and shift in company culture.
@NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who was in Dallas two weeks ago, answers a key question from @townbrad regarding the progress the League believes @dallasmavs have made in the year since its harassment investigation. #MFFL #Mavs @mcuban @cyntmarshall pic.twitter.com/ekIu2TOb6A
— Dorothy J. Gentry (@DorothyJGentry) February 17, 2019
The trailblazing CEO wasted no time establishing what the goals were for the club. Also during her first interview she thoroughly examined the difference between diversity and inclusion. “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance. True inclusion is when people are invited in on the conversation and they’re invited in on the strategy.” Make no mistake about it this former University of Cal graduate knew exactly what it took to transform the business’ culture to a more professional and varied platform other franchises could mimic. A business environment previously run by tyranny, misogyny and fear can now be described as diverse, inclusive and progressive. In just one year the caring motherly hands of this courageous woman are all over the Mavericks organization. This goes to show just how much can change in a short period of time if a collective can remain motivated, dedicated and steadfast in their convictions. The heart-warming nature of her smile coupled with the confidence she projects leaves you with the comfort only a mother could duplicate. Cynthia Marshall isn’t just a leader for the Dallas Mavericks she’s a leader in life.
Serve better. That’s what I want to do. I want to use my head, hands, and eyes more effectively with others to make a difference for others. I’m reflecting on Rev Dr. Martin Luther King’s words in his final sermon….we’ve got to see it through. We can’t get distracted. #better
— Cynt Marshall (@cyntmarshall) February 19, 2019
Photo: Jersean Gollatt (featured) Twitter: Cynthia Marshall - @CyntMarshall Dorothy Gentry - @DorothyJGentry