First Black Woman CEO In the NBA Discusses Importance of DE&I In the Workplace

First Black Woman CEO In the NBA Discusses Importance of DE&I In the Workplace

Studies show that companies that involve diverse leadership perform better financially.

Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, the first Black woman CEO in the NBA, was announced in 2018 as CEO and president of the Dallas Mavericks. Marshall shared her experience in the role and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), during the SHRM INCLUSION 2022 conference in San Diego on Oct. 24, SHRM reports.

According to the outlet, Marshall’s executive leadership experiences in business have led her to break barriers as she moved up the corporate ladder, serving as the first Black executive at several companies.

“Representation matters,” Marshall told the crowd. “But I’ve often been the only Black woman at the table.”

Marshall noted the enriching impact diversity has in the workplace, moving organizations closer to achieving their mission.

“[Marshall] has transformed the Dallas Mavericks into the gold standard of inclusion and diversity,” said DE&I public speaker Zac Bradley.

Although diversity is a key factor, she believes increasing inclusion and belonging is also important to create a comfortable work environment where employees feel valued.

“I like to say that diversity is being invited to the party,” Marshall said. “Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

The Mavericks CEO shared her contribution toward encouraging companies to launch multiple ERGs to support employees categorized as people of color, older workers, veterans, and parents.

“I enjoyed how she talked about the different ERG groups she started and how she gets everyone involved,” Krystal Henck, an HR specialist with a federal agency in Washington, D.C., said. “We are trying to find ways in our organization to get more people involved, so what she talked about made sense to me.”

During an interview with WFAA in May, Marshall shared that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hired her to transform the culture. Her life lessons helped develop her decisions that turned the team’s environment around that was once headlines for sexual assault and harassment allegations.

Marshall believes that the role of workers in leadership positions is to help employees achieve their personal, professional, and emotional goals.