Cynthia Marshall, named interim CEO of the Dallas Mavericks in the wake of a scathing article exposing the basketball organization’s culture of sexual harassment against women, is about to give a whole new meaning to the idea of March Madness.
Meeting with the Mavericks for the first time this morning, she laid out a plan for the next month. It includes completing the internal investigation already launched by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban; personally meeting with each of the organization’s 141 employees; and formalizing a detailed process for transforming the organization’s dysfunctional culture and refining its operational effectiveness, with an emphasis on all systems and policies related to reporting and addressing employee complaints.
“We are committed to running a business of excellence,” said Marshall, in an exclusive phone interview with Black Enterprise. “Clearly we have work to do, and I walk in knowing that there’s a lot that I don’t know. But I do know how to lead, and how to effect necessary change in an organization.”
All eyes will now be on Marshall, as she attempts to manage both the fallout and rebuilding of this beleaguered NBA franchise. Once the first African American cheerleader at UC Berkeley, the telecommunications veteran is now the NBA’s first woman CEO.
“Changing industries can be difficult under normal circumstances, but there will be a lot of people rooting for her and available to assist with the transition,” says Kathleen Francis, chair and president of Women in Sports and Events (WISE), the leading voice and resource for women in the business of sports. “It is a positive step to bring in someone with her experience and credentials. Adding women to the executive suite is always a good investment. That, coupled with the full support of ownership, will be critical to her success.”