Exceptional Leader: Cynt Marshall
“We don’t just work here. We don’t just play here. We live here, too. We’re community members and We are going to make a difference.” Cynt Marshall, Dallas Mavericks CEO
Cynt Marshall, the NBA’s first black female CEO, is no stranger to adversity. Cynthia’s family left Birmingham, Alabama, and traveled to California when she was 3 months old. It was an effort to escape the Jim Crow South, but life in the projects on the West Coast wasn’t easy. She earned a full scholarship to Berkeley in the 1970s, where she studied administration and human resources management. Marshall became the first African American cheerleader and the first Black woman to join Delta Gamma.
She went on to work for AT&T, where she started as a young Officer and grew exponentially becoming Senior Vice President – Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer. After 36 years with the company, she decided to launch her own consulting firm in 2017, specializing in leadership and diversity. It wasn’t long after that she got a call from Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He was looking to change the organization’s image steeped in a sexual harassment and misconduct scandal.
Once again, Marshall rose to the occasion and set out to make some remarkable changes. When Marshall began her CEO role in 2018, there were no women or people of color on the leadership team. Today things are very different – women make up 50 percent of leadership in the organization, with people of color comprising 47 percent. Inspiring female business leaders to remain true to who they are, Marshall continues to push cultural and racial boundaries, championing the “speak-up culture” and ensuring every person at the organization is recognized and heard.
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