Meet the first Black woman CEO to head up an NBA team

Dollita Okine May 31, 2023
Marshall recently earned the title of the first Black female CEO to ever lead an NBA team. Photo Credit: Texas 2036

CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, Cynthia “Cyn” Marshall, was hired by owner, Mark Cuban, in 2018 and has recently earned the title of the first Black female CEO to ever lead an NBA team.

Marshall told Time that she didn’t even know the job existed. In fact, she did not even know who Mark Cuban was when he called to offer her the job.

After that surprising call from the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, she responded to his request and set out a 100-day plan to run and rejuvenate the establishment. She wanted to diversify the team and make some leadership changes, and disclosed that it was tough to learn and integrate with everything because there were certain standards that had been set that she had to change – the season was also underway.

She used her experience in leading people to change the status quo, and with the help of people like her boss, colleagues, people in the leagues, and others, she was finally able to grasp the basketball business.

However, the Dallas Mavericks CEO once had to battle stage 3 colon cancer at age 51, and alluded that she was chosen to have cancer.  She disclosed to PBS that when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, she described it as a setup. When Marshall told her mother about the cancer diagnosis, her mother told her it was for God’s glory. She stood by her faith and her mother’s, and years later, she remains cancer free.

After suffering many miscarriages, Marshall now has four adult children with her husband, Kenneth Marshall.

Before taking on her role as CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, she had worked at AT&T for 36 years. While climbing the corporate ladder, she faced pressure from some female bosses who advised her to change her appearance and her name in order to find success.

After years of allowing their words and thoughts to influence her, she decided to stick to her uniqueness.

As a child, Marshall moved from Birmingham to the projects part of California with her parents. She recalls that her mother always stressed education.  She had six siblings and ranked fourth. Her mother always reminded them that it wasn’t about where they lived, but rather how they lived that truly mattered. Her father also told them ‘Get your lesson’ all the time.

She received five full scholarships to the college of her choice and chose Berkeley because of its proximity to her home, according to Stanford Business.

Marshall shared that she would like to be remembered as someone who left things better than she found them. Apart from her appointment at Dallas Mavericks, Marshall also founded Marshalling Resources, a consulting firm that specializes in Diversity and Inclusion, Culture Transformation, and overall optimization of people resources according to NJCW.

She is also an author, her book, “You’ve Been Chosen: Thriving through the Unexpected,” is a memoir that gives in-depth knowledge about her life’s journey, and even covers how she coped as a CEO of the Dallas Mavericks.

Marshall is an alumnus of the University of California-Berkeley with degrees in Business Administration and HR Management. She also holds four honorary doctorate degrees.

She has acted as the Chair for many non-profits and currently sits on the board of Dallas CASA as chair, as well as the Dallas Regional Chamber, Texas Women’s Foundation, Texas 2036, T.D. Jakes Foundation, Pro Sports Assemble, and Executive Leadership Council (ELC); she is also a member of the International Women’s Forum.

Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall has received several mentions and awards, including Adweek’s 30 Most Powerful Women in Sports, Women of Power Legacy Award, The Network Journal 25 Most Influential Women in Business, 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America, HR Executive of the Year, among others. Texas Advocacy Project also recognized Marshall with its 2020 Black & White Ball Vision Award.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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