Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall is a proponent and staunch supporter of various initiatives, but perhaps none more than investing in the lives of young people.
Last week, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) recognized Marshall’s committment to youth and honored her with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th annual Women of Distinction virtual event. The program serves as the signature fundraising event for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas and honors local leaders whose ethical leadership, professional accomplishments and community contributions inspire others to make the world a better place.
The event focused on the importance of mentoring and guiding young women, from the classroom to the boardroom.
No one understands this mission more than Marshall.
“It’s the people you meet who decide you matter and you are somebody,” Marshall explained. “They help you get up. I never got up by myself. Somebody always pulled me up. Somebody always invested in me. I am sitting here right now because of the village that loved me and invested in me and decided that something was going to happen with my life.”
Marshall has long shared that leadership starts in the home and she feels that parents have a duty to guide, love and nourish young people in order to give them a chance to succeed. She is the proud mother of four adopted children, all who have since grown into adults that now lead in their own spheres of influence.
The work of the mother is never finished, Marshall said, and she hopes to always inspire them and the others who cross her path to lead with a servant’s heart and become committed to building up our future generation. This is the same lesson she infuses into the lives of employees with the Mavericks’ organization and all the non-profit boards on which she serves.
Marshall has been a dynamic force for inclusion and diversity since she was hired as CEO of the Mavs in early 2018, and she set her sights on a culture transformation from Day One. Her vision was for the Mavericks to become the NBA standard for inclusion and diversity, and she brought transparency, trust and her values-based leadership style that evolved the company culture in her first 100 days.
“I have been a role model in different areas and I love it,” said Marshall, the first Black female CEO to lead an NBA franchise. “I feel the weight of it, but it’s a good weight, because I have to always make sure that I’m the first and not the last. This means that every day I’m trying to bring others along.”
And bringing others along means also inspiring Mavericks’ fans to invest and believe in the young women that vibrantly make up the Girl Scouts of North Texas organization in communities and pockets all across the region. Over 25,000 girls are members of GSNETX — along with over 12,000 adult members — that span across 32 counties from the Oklahoma border south to Waco.
Marshall said that although she is greatly and deeply thankful to be honored with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, she wants the focus to remain on the Girl Scouts and she desires to share ways that people at home can make a difference now.
‘Girls need Girl Scouts more than ever before’
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas inspire girls everywhere to stand up and make a difference. By nurturing innovation and developing leadership skills, they prepare young women to overcome challenges and advocate for their ideas now and later.
Jennifer Bartkowski, the CEO of the organization, recently shared just how important this time period is for the future of young women.
“Girls need Girl Scouts during this pandemic more than ever before, and adult volunteers are a central part of our mission delivery,” Bartkowski said. “We recognize the ‘extra’ many families have taken on, and we want to make it easier than ever to volunteer with Girl Scouts. We hope these resources will make it an easy ‘yes’ to sign up.
“There are many portions of our community, especially in our underserved areas, where girls do not have access to programs simply because of the lack of a volunteer. New volunteers can make a real difference now and in the future.”
Gail O’Bannon has worked with the Mavericks for 17 years and now serves as the vice president of diversity and inclusion with the Mavs. She’s also been a 23-year Lifetime Member of the Girl Scouts and served as a leader for 11 years.
“It was an incredible journey to lead, mentor and support the girls and watch them blossom into courageous and strong young adults and now women,” O’Bannon said. “I’m committed to the sisterhood and supporting girls to reach their full potential.”
O’Bannon said these are the same values that Marshall stands for, and she’s watched firsthand how Marshall has transformed the culture within the Mavericks’ organization in a short period of time. O’Bannon also said she was deeply proud — and inspired — to watch the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas honor Marshall with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“She embodies the Girl Scouts’ core values daily: courage, confidence, character and leadership to make the world a better place,” O’Bannon said. “She’s committed in providing opportunities and inviting women into the room to have a seat at the table.”
Now, just like Marshall, O’Bannon hopes to inspire MFFLs to join the organization.
Here are a few ways to help: