Mark Cuban’s Day 1 Advice to Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall

Mark Cuban is always trying to push himself out of his comfort zone, so it’s no surprise that he does the same for others.

Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, found out firsthand in 2018 when the Cuban coldly called her with a job offer, she recently told LinkedIn newsletter The Path. Marshall, 63, had left her job as AT&T’s chief diversity officer and senior vice president of human resources and was running her own consulting firm at the time.

She had extensive leadership experience and was an expert on workplace positivity and inclusivity, which the Mavericks needed at the time following allegations of harassment and a toxic work culture, Sports Illustrated reported earlier this year.

But there were two problems. First, Marshall didn’t even know who Cuban was. Second, she said, “I was well aware that I didn’t know the business of basketball.”

In response, Cuban Marshall offered simple but effective advice, she says: “He said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll teach you the business side of basketball, and others will do the same.’”

That validation and some additional persuasion led Marshall to take the job and become the first female CEO in the NBA and the first black woman to lead an NBA team. “I thought twice about it because I loved what I did as a consultant, but here was an opportunity to serve… to make a difference,” she said.

Prior to their appointment, the Mavericks had no women or people of color in leadership, LinkedIn noted. Within two years of Marshall’s appointment, 50% were women and 47% black, a Mavericks spokesman told CNBC Make It in 2020.

That’s one of the reasons Cuban says choosing Marshall was a no-brainer. “She’s amazing, powerful, dynamic, nurturing,” he told CNBC Make It.

As for Marshall, she’s still learning today. she told LinkedIn.

“Some of the gaps still exist. I’ll never know what some of these people know about the basketball business,” she said. “But I don’t need to know. I learn from it every day. 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 during cold calling? “I love my boss,” Marshall said. “He kept his promise.”

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