Mark Cuban always tries to step out of his comfort zone, so it’s no surprise that he does the same for others.
Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall experienced this first-hand when Cuba cold-called her with a job offer in 2018, she recently told LinkedIn’s The Path newsletter. Marshall, 63, had left her position as director of diversity and senior vice president of human resources at AT&T, and was running her own consulting company at the time.
She had extensive leadership experience and was an expert in workplace positivity and inclusivity, which the Mavericks needed at the time – following allegations of harassment and a toxic work culture, such as Sports Illustrated reported it earlier that year.
But there were two problems. First, Marshall didn’t even know who was Cuban. Second, she said, “I was well aware of the fact that I didn’t know the business of basketball.”
In response, Cuban gave Marshall some simple but effective advice, she recounted, “He said, ‘You don’t worry about that. I will teach you the business side of basketball, and others will do the same.
That assurance, and a few additional beliefs, spurred Marshall to take the job, becoming the NBA’s first female CEO and the first black woman to lead an NBA team. “I thought twice about it because I loved what I was doing with the board, but it was an opportunity to serve…to have an impact,” she said.
Prior to his appointment, the Mavericks had no women or people of color in charge, LinkedIn noted. Within two years of Marshall’s nomination, 50% were women and 47% were people of color, a Mavericks spokesperson told CNBC Make It in 2020.
That’s part of why Cuban says picking Marshall was a no-brainer. “She’s amazing, energetic, dynamic, nurturing,” he told CNBC Make It.
For his part, Marshall is still learning today. she told LinkedIn.
“Some gaps still exist. I will never know what some of these people know about the basketball business,” she said. “But I don’t need to know. What I have to do is lead these people, learn from these people and love these people, and I try to do that every day.
And as for the Cuban guarantee made during the cold call? “I love my boss,” Marshall said. “He kept his promise.”
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