DALLAS – The Women of Mavs Empowering Network (W.O.M.E.N) hosted the inaugural Women’s Symposium March 18th and celebrated “Being the Best You” with hundreds of men and women ahead of the Mavs. vs. New Orleans Pelicans game at the American Airlines Center. The Women’s Symposium brought together both men and women to discuss the importance of self-care, finding your purpose, discovering your passion and leading with values.

Prominent business leaders of North Texas, including CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, Cynt Marshall, and Mavs’ assistant coach, Jenny Boucek, shared their personal stories and inspirational messages.

“I want to live a purposeful life,” Boucek said, as she shared with the audience her journey through the ranks to become one of few women to coach in the NBA while also becoming a mother for the first time.

“Sometimes the crazier it is, the more right it is,” Boucek said. “Have the courage to know what’s in your heart and go for it.”

Gail O’Bannon has worked with the Mavericks for 16 years and now serves as the vice president of diversity and inclusion with the organization. She co-chaired the Mavs Women’s Symposium along with Erin Finegold, Dallas Mavericks vice president of corporate communications and events.

O’Bannon said the Women’s Symposium was a huge success and she says that the Mavericks received an abundance of positive support and feedback from men and women that attended the inaugural event.

“As we started to see the cultural transformation with the Mavericks, we could feel the empowerment both internally and externally with the Mavs,” O’Bannon said. “We are in the business of basketball, but we are also in the business of building bridges to our community and various cultures. Cynt has been out in the community inspiring so many men, women, children, and high school students during this last year and this event gave us the opportunity to all come together and unite.”

Finegold said she was ecstatic to receive great feedback from attendees and said the personal stories shared by the speakers touched the audience.

“We heard honest, realistic and at times, funny stories from these women that resonated with much of our audience,” Finegold said. “I’m thrilled that our guests valued the event and we’re looking forward to the next.”

Speakers for the event included:
Cynt Marshall – CEO of the Dallas Mavericks
Ivy AwinoDallas Mavericks’ in-arena DJ
Jennifer Bartkowski Chief Executive Officer at Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
Jenny Boucek- Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coach
Vanessa FernandesStore Manager at Dallas Market, Nordstrom
Jessica JesseOwner, BuDhaGirl
Dana Larson- Sportscaster at Fox Sports Southwest
Kate WeiserOwner, Kate Weiser Chocolates

Attendees share their thoughts and favorite moments from the event 

Dorothy J. Gentry, Sports Journalist
Participants heard from guest speakers and panelists on the importance of self-care, finding your purpose, discovering your passion and leading with values. Other speakers sharing their personal stories and inspirational messages included Vanessa Fernandes; store manager, Nordstrom; Jessica Jesse, owner, BuDhaGirl and Kate Weiser, owner, Kate Weiser Chocolates

Boucek shared with participants how she creates a work/life balance as the mother of a 7-month-old daughter. “If I had to make a choice, the choice would be my child.” But she found three NBA organizations willing to work with her as a new mom – one being the Dallas Mavs.

“I don’t want to be just a mom. I want to be a great mom. Boucek said she would tell her daughter as she is growing up that “being the best you starts with knowing who you are.”

“Knowing our true identity, not what anyone puts on your, but your pre-ordained identity that is key and will help you discover your calling,” she told the audience. “I want to help her find out what she was made to be.”

Bartkowski talked about the importance of exercising and self-care and having a group of supporters where “you can be yourself and relax. We need that.”

Marshall shared the importance of understanding who you are as a woman, not just what you do – mom, baker, employer, etc. She talked about being the Queen of her castle. “I am so in touch with my passion and my purpose wherever I go.

“Wherever I go I ask, ‘What is it you would have me to do and whom is it you would have me to touch?’” because I am very in touch with the fact that I am on a mission. And there are people that need to be touched.”

Every participant at the Symposium received a blue bag inside of which was their own personal tiara from Marshall to ensure every woman always remembers the queen inside of her.

Bree Darthard
The Dallas Mavericks’ Women’s Symposium was magical. It was filled with laughter, dancing, a few tears….and TRANSPARENCY. I was truly inspired by Jenny Boucek, assistant basketball coach for the Dallas Mavericks. Yes, a woman! How do you like them apples?

Her words today hit me when she said: “I’m not trying to lead like a man…I’m trying to lead like a woman.” And “we all have a unique purpose…a lot of the time our passion comes from pain we had to endure.” WOW. This gave me my second wind and I couldn’t be more grateful to be #WomenOfMavs.

Partnering with the Mavs has been a beautiful experience for me professionally, emotionally & physically. I could not have asked for a better opportunity. Today (Dallas Mavs CEO) Cynt Marshall said “in order to be the best you, you have to know who you are.” Dallas Mavericks: you have helped me learn who I am.

Neda Khalilian
Women of Mavs had an incredible day of speakers planned for us and to say I was inspired would be a gross understatement. For me, I soaked it all up but the highlight of the day was chatting with Dallas Mavs CEO, Cynt Marshall.

The few short minutes I spoke with her was so impactful, so inspiring and so powerful that I was emotionally moved. There is something about her that exudes such positive energy. It was so powerful it could have been tangible. All the women who presented were amazing and I loved how open they were to share their stories and provide us with guidance.

My favorite takeaways:
1. Ladies, it’s not work/life balance. It’s work/life integration. Huge difference.
2. It’s not about being just a mom. It’s about being a great mom.
3. We as women have to lead as women. We are equal but different.
4. We are all made with unique purposes.
5. Have the courage to know what’s in your heart.
I can’t wait until the next symposium.

Lindsay Preston
The topic this year was “Being the Best You!” I honestly went into the event thinking I may not learn much since I help others live their best lives as their best selves all day, every day, but I was BLOWN AWAY!

Every speaker had a powerful, yet feminine message that I adored. I heard messages like “lead like a woman,” “fail forward,” and “be the queen of your life.”

My favorite part of the event was seeing first-hand how successful women are integrating work and life together in a way that works for them.

As a working mom who’s a solopreneur, I don’t get the opportunity to be around a lot of other working women. It was inspiring to hear how these women are doing it and how they’re OWNING these two versions of who they are.

Another big takeaway I had was being reassured the power of mentorship in someone’s life. Almost every speaker said something about having people (especially other women) in your life who help lift you up, challenge you and show you how to tap into your next level of success. (Hiring a coach was even mentioned a time or two by some of the women).

I’m so thrilled I got to attend this event. If you missed out and you’re in the Dallas area, I hope you’ll join me for their next one!

Poizon Ivy the DJ
WOW! Just WOW! What a pleasure and an honor to be a part of the inaugural Women of Mavs Women’s Symposium! The feeling of being surrounded by such female excellence is hard to put into words. Kudos to the Dallas Mavs organization, led by my champion, Cynt Marshall, for setting a new standard.

Dallas Mavericks Women’s Symposium Speakers Bios

Cynt Marshall has been a dynamic force for inclusion and diversity within the Mavericks organization and over a 36-year career at AT&T.  When Cynt was hired as new the CEO of the Mavs over a year ago, she set her sights on a culture transformation.  Her vision was for the Mavericks organization to become the NBA standard for inclusion and diversity, and brought transparency, trust and her values-based leadership style that evolved the company culture in her first 100 days. Prior to her joining the Mavs, Cynt founded Marshalling Resources, a consulting firm specializing in Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion, Culture Transformation and overall optimization of people resources.

Jessica Jesse has held many titles in her life, and her newest role is: change agent. Jessica is redefining a path to wellbeing by combining contemplative practice, science and fashion.  Jessica believes that fashion is a powerful driver of behavior and that every day at every level we make fashion decisions that impact ourselves, our work, our family, and our world. She wants to teach others about the importance of internal motivation using fashion as a conduit.  Jessica’s 30-year career in high fashion led her to hold directorship positions at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Her past career was the foundation for creating her current enterprise: BUDHAGIRL. BUDHAGIRL is Mindful Glamour®; the first-ever, science-based contemplative and meditative fashion brand.
IG: budhagirl | Twitter: @BuDhaGirl

Kate Weiser began her sweet journey early in life.  As she grew, so did her extensive dessert cookbook collection. Kate enjoyed baking in her family kitchen and sharing her creations with friends and neighbors. She continued her passion by attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Kate began her chocolate career with an Executive Chocolatier position at Chocolate Secrets in Highland Park. After 4 years of perfecting her chocolate craft, Kate created her own chocolate company – Kate Weiser Chocolate, in Trinity Groves in August 2014 and has since expanded her brand to Northpark Center and Shops at Clearfork. She was named Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional Magazine in 2014.
IG: kateweiserchocolate | Twitter: @KateWeiserChoc

Jennifer Bartkowski serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. Ms. Bartkowski has been with GSNETX since 2009 and served as Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer before assuming the role of CEO. With a strategic focus on membership growth, 21st century programming and brand, Jennifer is committed to ensuring that Girl Scouts is relevant to today’s girl and her parents. With a commitment to changing the workforce pipeline of North Texas, Jennifer chairs a national STEM initiative that was built on the success of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas’ $14M STEM Center of Excellence in southwest Dallas.
IG: gsnetx | Twitter: @GirlScouts

Jenny Boucek just completed her first season with the Mavericks and holds the title of Assistant to the Basketball Staff/Special Projects. Boucek became just the third woman to coach in the NBA after spending last season with the Sacramento Kings. Prior to joining the Kings, she spent three seasons as the head coach of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (2015-17) and two-plus seasons as the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs (2007-09). Boucek was involved in the WNBA since its inaugural season in 1997 when she played for the Cleveland Rockers and the Seattle Storm, where she was a member of the franchise’s first WNBA Championship. Boucek is distinguished as the first athlete to play in the WNBA and subsequently serve as both an assistant and head coach in the league. The Nashville, Tenn., native played collegiate basketball at the University of Virginia and helped lead the Cavaliers to four regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and three NCAA Elite Eight appearances.
Twitter: @jboucek | s@jboucek

Vanessa Fernandes is the General Manager for Nordstrom in the Dallas market based out of NorthPark Center and has been with the Nordstrom brand for 20 years. Prior to moving to the United States 20 years ago, she was living in India and is a graduate of Osmania University, also based in India and studied Mass Communication, PR and Journalism at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.   Not only is Vanessa a leader in the ever-changing fashion world, but she also serves on the National Board for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness).  After recently surviving a double suicide in her family, Vanessa has made it her mission to start-up conversation about mental health and support. Vanessa is a fashion and beauty fanatic! She helps women be themselves.  Her social media campaigns #youbejustyou and #threewords helps her engage diverse communities.

Dana Larson is an Emmy-award winning sportscaster. She joined FOX Sports Southwest in July 2002. She anchors the nightly pregame and postgame shows for the region’s professional sports teams, including the Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks. Larson joined FSSW after working 1½ years as a sports reporter at Austin NBC affiliate KXAN-TV. She began her broadcasting career in April 2000 as a weekend sports anchor/reporter for KWTX-TV in Waco, upon graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Larson graduated Magna Cum Laude from SMU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications.
Twitter: @DanaLarsonFSN

Ivy Awino was born in Nairobi, Kenya and raised in Dallas, Texas, Ivy mastered both the piano and cello before discovering her love for yet another instrument; turntables. The talented empress behind the turntables balances deejaying on-air, on main concert stages, at select nightclubs and lifestyle venues, for celebrity and non-profit events, and for corporate clients, with now hosting, interviewing and modeling. DJ Poizon Ivy became the first female mixer to grace the airwaves at WKKV-FM as a V100.7 Mix Squad DJ and most recently joined heritage station KKDA K104.5’s mix squad. In 2016, she joined the Dallas Wings as their in-arena DJ during the WNBA’s historical 20th anniversary season. As if that wasn’t enough, she became the Dallas Mavericks’ first female team DJ in franchise history and is the 2nd female DJ in NBA. In 2018, she became the first-ever female DJ to DJ at an NBA All-Star Game.
IG: poizonivythedj | Twitter: @poiZonivytheDJ



Share and comment

More Mavs News