When Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, took the stage to give the opening keynote at INTIX 2019, she led the audience in a sing-along of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, and there’s a special reason. Cynthia Marshall (just “Cynt” for short) has had to climb more than a few mountains of her own, and along the way, she has helped many others do the same.
After growing up in a poor family in Richmond, California, Cynt fulfilled a promise to her mother and became the first in her family to graduate from college. She then went on to enjoy a rewarding 36-year-long career with AT&T, where she reached a pinnacle of success as SVP, Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer.
Along the way, Cynt helped the communications giant become one of the most respected workplaces in the United States and was named one of the 50 most powerful women in corporate America by Black Enterprise magazine – not once, but twice. Later, she went on to form her own company, Marshalling Resources, a consulting firm specializing in leadership, diversity and inclusion, culture transformation and overall optimization of people resources. She also battled and beat colon cancer eight years ago.
In 2018, Cynt was named CEO of the Mavs. As one sports writer penned at the time: “In Marshall, the Mavericks are getting a confident, decisive and charismatic leader who has a strong history of knowing how to run an efficient business with emphasis on diversity and inclusion. And a huge dose of no-nonsense.”
That no-nonsense approach has already been put to test with the Mavs, a professional sports team that was known for its toxic culture. In her role, Cynt reports to Mark Cuban, one of the most colorful team owners in the NBA. She has not only pledged to change the workplace culture but to make the Dallas Mavericks the gold standard; the leader in diversity and inclusion in the NBA. As difficult as the challenge may appear, few doubt her resolve or her ability. Already she has begun to model a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior, develop a women’s agenda, institutionalize an inclusive and supportive culture and develop a best-in-class employee complaint process and operations infrastructure.
In her keynote at the 40th Annual INTIX Conference and Exhibition, which is sponsored by Ticketmaster, Cynt talked about her life and career and shared her strategy for values-based leadership. Her charisma, vibrant attitude and passion is contagious, and those in attendance said she had everyone on their feet and dancing with enthusiasm to jumpstart the INTIX experience!
[A special thank you to photographer Lisa Means Photography with INTIX for providing the photos featured below]