Tuesday, September 25, 2018

#LeadershipTuesdays: Prepared & Ready To Make A Difference...Cynthia Marshall

"I'm blessed with a good brain because I got a good education. Faith. And I know people. I know how to lead. I've made mistakes, so I know how to deal with those, too."

--Cynthia "Cynt" Marshall, CEO, Dallas Mavericks

On Tuesdays, womenatliberty.com presents #LeadershipTuesdays, a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage and strengthen women leaders. Today we are highlighting the leadership of an organization who is making changes to transform a workplace and culture that has negatively impacted the lives of women who worked for it.

Cynthia Marshall has been in news headlines recently for successfully completing a 100-Day plan to change a toxic workplace at the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Dallas Mavericks. In early 2018, it was widely reported that the 2011 NBA Champions' front office operations were plagued by complaints of sexual harassment, domestic violence, and a culture that is unfriendly to women. The owner, tech billionaire Mark Cuban, known to many from his role on the Shark Tank TV show, was subsequently cleared of any involvement or complicity by an independent investigation. To fix the crisis in the basketball operations side of the house, he personally called and recruited Marshall to be the first African American woman CEO of a NBA team.

Cynt, as she likes to be called, is a highly respected business leader and Human Resource professional who has experienced many firsts. She was the first in her family to go to and graduate from college. She was also the first black cheerleader at her alma mater UC Berkeley where she completed a Bachelor's degree in business administration with a focus on organizational behavior and human resources. She brings to the MAVS job a wealth of experience from her 36 years at AT&T where she was considered a "rock star" and was the first African American head of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. She's focused on making a difference and confident that she along with the MAVS staff and employees can do it.

In her first seven months, she has:

  • She hired a woman as senior vice president of human resources. 
  • She added another woman in a new position: chief ethics and compliance officer.
  • Over the past several months, she has increased the ratio of female management in the Mavericks organization to 47 percent female management in the Mavericks organization to 47 percent from ZERO.
  • Cynt mandated respect-in-the-workplace training.
  • A “zero tolerance” office culture is enforced.And she has put in place a “Mavs Women’s Playbook,” which she says “uplifts, develops, promotes and encourages Dallas Mavericks women.”*
Cuban has given Marshall carte blanche to make whatever changes she needs to transform the culture in the organization and as demonstrated by the results above, her presence and leadership is being felt. She has not only instituted training and programs for her 140 member staff, but also included the players and coaches. MAVS Head Coach Rick Carlisle stated, "It's just a completely different vibe over there. Things have changed so much -- the mood, the atmosphere, the environment, the optics and the people. It's been a great thing to see."** Good luck Cynt!

For more information on Leadership Tuesdays, go to womenatliberty.com. There you'll find resources to help you develop your leadership skills and learn from others who are successful leaders.

*Rick Smith, "In cleaning up Dallas Mavericks, Cynthia Marshall sets example of equality for all businesses", WRAL TECH Wire

**Tim Macmahon, "CEO Cynthia Marshall making quick impact for Mavericks, says" Carlisle, ESPN.com