The Mavericks can only hope that they have weeks on the basketball court that are as good as the week the front office just had.

It was a huge few days for the business side of the organization with new initiatives and powerful messages about the strength of women in the corporate side of the sports world.

Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall was one of the featured speakers at Sports Business Journal’s seventh annual “Game Changers” conference in New York, along with new WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert and hall of fame player, coach and basketball ambassador Nancy Lieberman.

It was a forum designed to toast greatness among women in the sports industry and to share expertise from top executives like Marshall.

Before heading to New York, Marshall helped found the Dallas Chapter of WISE – Women In Sports and Events – with a launch party. Dallas became the 22nd chapter nationwide of the group that pledges to “empower women in the business of sports with the tools to reach their career goals.”

Marshall has been installed as a member on the Dallas chapter’s advisory board.

It was with great pride and emotion that she addressed a large crowd in New York at the SBJ event. As is her style, Marshall brought high energy and hard-hitting insight to the event during her Q & A with National Public Radio’s Shira Springer. She had the large crowd applauding and cheering throughout her part of the program. At one point, she brought some of the attendees onstage to do the Cupid Shuffle dance with her.

She also delivered the message about how smart businesses are run – with hard work, a strong will and a focus on making every voice heard. She told the story of the plane flight to Dallas after she was hired, saying her No. 1 priority was implementing a 100-day plan to fix the front office.

“I literally wrote a plan on an airplane right after I accepted the job that was in four parts,” she said. “What it said was that by 2019, the Dallas Mavericks would be the global standard for diversity and inclusion.

“I started with a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior. Then I wanted to develop a Mavs women’s agenda … to empower, educate, enhance women. Then I wanted to go into full-blown culture transformation – diversity and inclusion. Then operational effectiveness was another big piece, just putting some basic things in place that, in my 36 years at AT&T, I knew were needed to run a business.”

The SBJ Game Changers conference annually honors the women who are setting the standards and leading the next generation in sports business.

This year, 40 women were highlighted. There were representatives from every major professional sports league, the college ranks, media outlets and other sports businesses and venues.

“This event was more than an event,” Marshall said. “It was an experience. The SBJ team did a great job with this professional development and recognition conference.

“Dallas was well-represented by my opening fireside chat with Shira Springer, Nancy Lieberman’s afternoon address and some local Dallas honorees such as Carla Rosenberg (and) Kim Damron. It was great.”

“These truly are the game changers.”

Meanwhile, the WISE launch party aimed to establish a local arm of the national initiative that provides online tools and other resources to help women entering or advancing in sports business enhance their professional development.

The Mavericks remain a shining example of the opportunities available to women. The Mavericks have a front office made up of 43 percent women, a 34 percent increase from two years ago.

Twitter: @ESefko


Share and comment

More Mavs News