The Dallas Mavericks recently teamed up with the Marcus Graham Project (MGP) to host the 2022 iCR8 Sports Marketing Workshop in Dallas for the second consecutive year.

A Dallas-based nonprofit, MGP is a national network of diverse professionals that works to identify, expose, mentor and train ethnically diverse men and women in all aspects of the marketing and media industry. This is the second installment of a multi-year partnership with the Mavericks.

For the last 15 years, MGP has worked to create opportunities for a diverse pipeline of talent. 

The five-day workshop with the Mavs took place in early Dec. 2022 and gave the applicants exposure and access necessary to further their career interests within the advertising, media and marketing industry.

The Dallas Mavs are one of several teams in the NBA to work with the Marcus Graham Project.

The Marcus Graham Project was among the first organizations awarded an inaugural grant from the NBA Foundation. In April 2022, the organization received a renewal grant from the league.

Since its creation in 2005, MGP has impacted over 2,500 members and alumni internationally. 

The MVP for the 2022 iCR8 Sports Marketing Workshop in Dallas was Jennifer Pirotte. She’s a marketing and sales professional and graduate of Dallas Baptist University.

Members of the winning team included: Aldane Grey, Marrissa Holbert, Sifa Nyangon, Tiffany Osei, and Kevin Rangel. Event organizers said the Mavs will offer a few internship opportunities from this group.

“Continuing our partnership with the Marcus Graham Project furthers the development of diverse talent,” said Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall. “We are excited to highlight the unique and authentic contributions the MGP participants will make throughout the season.”

Members from the Mavs business and corporate teams participated in the bootcamp, including those representing communications, community relations, human resources, marketing, game day operations, sales and more.

The goal was to provide panels and discussions introducing participants to various sports business industry opportunities.

Throughout the week, workshop teams received briefs on a specific assignment and then spent the remainder of the workshop putting together a multi-platform marketing campaign. The teams then presented the campaign to guest panelists on the last day of the workshop.

Participants also attended a Dallas Mavs game and spent a week with front-office executives and staff.

“We’re still riding the waves after an incredible week,” said Larry Yarrell, co-founder and CDO of the Marcus Graham Project. “I wasn’t sure how we’d top last year, but it happened, and it was evident in the testimonies of the participants at the end.”

The partnership with the Dallas Mavericks is part of the Mavs Take ACTION! plan to promote social justice, address racial inequities and drive sustainable change. At the current hiring, retention, and promotion rate, the advertising, media, and marketing industries will not reflect the rich racial diversity currently in the U.S. until 2079 – an alarming statistic.

This is why the Mavs and nonprofit organizations like the Marcus Graham Project are investing in and creating opportunities to develop the next generation of Black and Brown leaders.

Marshall served as the keynote speaker at the workshop.

“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 said.

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. 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 woman 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. Every single day, I’m trying to bring others along.”

In addition to the internship opportunities, the winning team will see their ideas come to life throughout the Mavericks season.

“We strive to place people from different corners of the world and different backgrounds and experiences in the same room,” said Yarrell, a native of North Texas who then graduated from Morehouse College.

Yarrell said he appreciates that the Mavericks don’t just want to check a box. He said that’s not what MGP is about, and he believes the partnership with the Mavs will be an incredible opportunity for countless young people.

“Sports are a great unifier in our society,” Yarrell explained. “Ironically, the business of sports behind the scenes rarely has the diversity seen in the stands or the equity that encompasses the talent on the field or court. In our partnership with the NBA, we have exposed talented individuals to opportunities in an industry that influences billions of people. In addition, we have a great opportunity to showcase to the Mavericks and other partnering organizations the diverse pool of young talent we have right there in the communities that support them the most.”

All the attendees at the event received new Mavericks basketballs in acrylic cases to remember their experience.

The partnership with the Marcus Graham Project is just one of the ways the Dallas Mavs franchise works to create opportunities for advancement in diverse communities, along with scholarships, mentorships, internships, workshops and events aimed at educational and financial equity. Career equity and workplace inclusivity is also important to the franchise. 

To learn more about Mavs Take ACTION!, click here.

To learn more about the Marcus Graham Project and help support future leaders, click here.

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