CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall said the NBA has made strides in gender equality and she credits Commissioner Adam Silver for serving as a pivotal instrument for change and pioneer for diversity and inclusion in professional sports.

“It starts with leadership and when you look at Commissioner Adam Silver and his team and what they are doing around diversity and inclusion, they are setting a very high bar,” Marshall said during the FQ Equality Lounge panel at NBA All-Star Weekend.

The Female Quotient, a company and community dedicated to achieving workplace equality, brought its pop-up activation, The FQ Equality Lounge, for the first time to NBA All-Star Weekend.

The FQ Equality Lounge hosted panel conversations that featured elite athletes and executives from the worlds of professional sports, consumer goods and products, financial services, technology and more. Organizers said it was important to have these conversations and feature people like Marshall during All-Star Weekend because we see more men in professional sports.

Other speakers included Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, JUMP.DC Senior Vice President Estee Portnoy and NBA Head of Referee Operations Michelle Johnson, who are elevating the equality conversation and pushing for real progress in the sports world and beyond.

“When you add women to any equation, the equation gets better,” said Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient“We (hosted) The FQ Equality Lounge at NBA All-Star because it’s an amazing opportunity to bring visibility to women both on and off the court, encourage collaboration between change agents for greater impact, and to activate solutions for advancing parity.”

Marshall served on the panel with the topic centered around: “We’re Better Together: How Men and Women Can Support Each Other,” moderated by Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient. Pete Guelli, Chief Operating Officer, Hornets Sports and Entertainment, joined Marshall along with Kathleen Kelly (Managing Partner, Compass Financial Partners), Ted Bunch (Founder, A Call to Men) and Tom Finke, Chairman and CEO of Barings.

NBA All-Star Weekend also focused on the league’s new initiative called Her Time To Play, a movement that is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of girls to play basketball and learn skills critical to success both on the court and in their everyday lives. The Dallas Mavericks, Mavs Basketball Academy and Marshall have all served as strong supporters of Her Time To Play since it launched last October.

Her Time To Play is a national grassroots initiative created by the WNBA and NBA to inspire the next generation of girls, ages 7-14, to play basketball in a positive and healthy way. Through sports, girls learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership, and self-confidence. However, twice as many girls compared to boys drop out of sports by the age of 14 (Women’s Sports Foundation), which can be attributed to societal barriers that are primarily faced by girls.

It is also important for young girls to have female mentors in sports, their local communities and everyday lives, but only 28% of youth sports coaches are women (The Aspen Institute). Her Time To Play aims to increase opportunities for women in coaching and athletic leadership across the youth sports landscape.

For more information about The FQ Equality Lounge at NBA All-Star, please visit:
The Female Quotient.

The mission of The Female Quotient is to advance gender equality in the workplace. Founded by Shelley Zalis, The Female Quotient provides companies and business leaders with research, tools and experiences to promote equality, including the Modern Guide to Equality, a living, breathing playbook for activating change. The Female Quotient also presents The FQ Lounge, a growing community of corporate women and female entrepreneurs transforming workplace culture and a destination at conferences, companies and college campuses where women connect, collaborate and activate change together. Since launching in 2013, The Female Quotient has hosted more than 100 experiences at dozens of high-profile events, including the World Economic Forum (Davos), SXSW, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Advertising Week and more. For more information, visit

Her Time To Play is a new grassroots initiative launched by the NBA and WNBA to encourage girls aged 7-14 to play basketball. Created in collaboration with the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), along with the WNBA, USA Basketball, YMCA of the USA, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the program is free, and every organization that registers will receive the 12-lesson curriculum, basketballs and whistles, and headbands, wristbands and workbooks for each girl. A need was seen by the Jr. NBA to encourage youth participation in basketball, especially among young girls, due to recent trends in statistics. According to the WSF, girls drop out of organized sports at about twice the rate boys do by age 14. Additionally, Her Time To Play aims to increase the number of women in coaching.  The Jr. NBA will provide opportunities for more than 500 new coaches to receive their USAB Coach License, and select coaches will be honored at the 2019 Jr. NBA Youth Basketball Leadership Conference for their commitment to growing the game.

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