Welcome to our first Women in Sports feature. Once a month we’ll showcase a female figure—-atlethes, executives, reporters, and everything in between—-in the world of sports. This feature has been a long-time coming and will serve as another way in which we are working to level the playing field.
Have someone we should feature in mind? Let us know by sending an email to hello @ sportsarefromvenus.com.
It’s no secret that the world of professional sports, both on and off the court, is a male dominated world. Cynthia Marshall is working hard to change that. At least within the Dallas Mavericks.
Hired by Marc Cuban in February of 2018 as acting CEO, the first black women to serve as a CEO in the NBA, Marshall was tasked with turning the Mavericks front office around. Her main responsibility? Cleaning up the “corrosive” and toxic culture that female employees were exposed to for years, a culture that was made public in a 2018 Sports Illustrated report and an independent investigation. I won’t go into the specifics detailed in both reports, but you can read the full Sports Illustrated report here. What I will say is that two things were very clear when Cynthia Marshall took the job; she had a huge challenge ahead of her and there was no one more qualified to tackle that challenge.
Despite not having any experience in professional sports, Marshall was a fantastic hire and the best person to help turn things around for the Mavericks. Prior to joining the team, Marshall served as a Senior Vice President at AT&T where she fostered a culture that promoted diversity and inclusion. Her success at AT&T and her success thus far with the Mavericks is a result of her strong work ethic. What drives her to work so hard?
What drives me is a chance to serve. I actually truly believe I was put on this earth to serve. I have a unique skill set and whenever I get a call to do something big, I have to think this is an opportunity to serve people and a bigger cause. – Cynthia Marshall to the Texas Metro News
What is important to note, the reason why I selected to feature Cynthia Marshall, is that Marshall didn’t let the many obstacles that she has faced throughout her life—an abusive father, infertility, colon cancer, just to name a few—interfere with her drive and determination. She used these adversities to motivate herself to fight through the difficulties and continue working towards her success. Marshall never gave up. Marshall never let fear get in the way.
Since joining the Mavericks, Marshall has certainly turned things around. She started her tenure with the organization by creating and implementing a 100-day plan. During those 100 days, Marshall opened an internal investigation, interviewing current and former employees, to identify each and every issue that needed to be addressed (the investigation resulted in March Cuban donating $10 million to organizations that are focused on women’s leadership and development in sports and fighting domestic violence) and increased the number of female executives in the organization from zero to almost half. These activities resulted in a significant improvement in the moral of front-office employees and a much more positive and fun environment for everyone. This summary is a gross understatement of Marshalls success as the Mavericks’ CEO as she has literally saved the organization from…well, a very horrible demise. Another great understatement is a quote from Marc Cuban soon after he hired Marshall:
“She’s just great. If I had known her sooner, my life would have been a lot easier.”
Cynthia Marshall is great. Great proof that a hard-working and dedicated women can be successful in a man’s world, in any industry.
Source: Texas Metro News
Image Source: Bloomberg