SHE-E-O FEATURE OF THE WEEK: Cynthia Marshall

How have female CEO’s risen to the top? What was their journey? Let’s explore…

I’m empowered. I have the skills. I’m ready to take on the world. Now, if I could just figure out tangible steps to get there. This series has two purposes: to celebrate women’s accomplishments in business, and to research their path to success.

Notable things you should know about Cynthia Marshall:
1) NBA's first African American female CEO
2) She's used to trailblazing for African American women - 1st black cheerleader at UC Berkeley, first of her family to graduate college, 1st black head of North Carolina Chamber of Commerce
3) Marshall took on the Dallas Mavericks during a time when the team was known for an extreme toxic work culture, gender discrimination, and had sexual misconduct charges. She implemented a 100 day plan that focused on a women's agenda, creating a values-based employment system, launched a 24/7 hotline for employees to report concerns, established an external council, and implemented ongoing ethics and unconscious bias training sessions
4) Marshall has already increased the team’s diversity numbers to now include nearly 50 percent of women in management roles and fixed any gender discrepancies in pay.

Cynthia Marshall had a tough upbringing plagued with a violent household from an abusive father. Marshall rose to the top despite her circumstances.

Her mother valued education. Growing up, during summer break, her mother would create lesson plans and quiz her based on the civil servants exams. Her mother gave her that edge and work ethic that would guarantee her daughter success.

Marshall received a full scholarship to UC Berkeley and graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Human Resources Management.

When she graduated she had 13 job offers!!! She chose the one with a fast-track management program that paid the most.

She worked her way up through AT&T in North Carolina over 36 years and become the SVP of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer.

Cynthia Marshall is a trailblazer through and through.

My takeaways from Cynthia Marshall’s story 1) This woman is not afraid to be the first. Rising to the top to become the 1st CEO of a sports team and a Chief Diversity Officer at a major corporation comes as little surprise considering she was the 1st black cheerleader at Berkeley, 1st black member of her sorority, 1st black head of chamber of commerce, and many more instances throughout her life. She simply goes for it!

2) Even more importantly than her journey, is how much she has been able to accomplish at the Maverick’s already. Instant change over a 100 day period. She fundamentally changed the structure of the organization by placing females in management positions. I cannot think of a more effective way to combat gender discrimination and a hostile work environment situation than that!! Marshall is a leader and uses the power that comes with being a CEO for good.

Can’t you feel her amazing energy from this picture alone???

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