“Diversity is about counting the numbers, inclusion is about making the numbers count. Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice — we have to be intentional about including people,” said Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball franchise at the 2021 NBOA Annual Meeting’s Closing Keynote Session.
Marshall’s story began in the Richmond, California housing projects, where she grew up in a home impacted by domestic violence. Her early life was also dramatically impacted by teachers. “I love educators because of what they did in my life. They taught me the value of four words – dream, focus, pray and act.”
She spoke of education matters and the responsibilities that everyone in the school community has. “And sometimes I know at least in my situation, school was my refuge, that's where I would go to feel safe. And so I think you have a responsibility to keep our kids safe, to be that constant caring adult in their life, and to help them get a good foundation and a path for the future. Putting books in the kid’s hand will really set them up for success.”
Marshall was hired as the new chief executive officer of the Dallas Mavericks in March 2018, to be a change agent for inclusion and diversity. She set her sights on a culture transformation. Her vision was for the Mavericks organization to become the NBA standard for inclusion and diversity. Three days into her role, she launched a 100-day plan focused on four priorities that included exploring gender pay equity, mentoring women and modeling zero tolerance.
Marshall says she managed to achieve her 100-day plan because she led with intention, insight, inclusion and inspiration – what she calls all-in leadership.
“Our 100-day plan was all about innovation, all-in leadership and knowing the difference between diversity and inclusion, equity and equality.”
Marshall suggested business officers begin a 100-day plan by considering these questions:
- How will you infuse more innovation in your institutions over the next 100 days?
- What will you carry over from 2020?
- What will you be intentional about?
- In what ways will you, re-imagine how your mission is carried out?
- How will you foster inclusion?
- What insight do you need from others?
- How will you leverage the connections that you are making at the annual conference?
- Where will you look for inspiration?
- Who will you inspire?
- How will you be inspire by?
Marshall challenged business officers to go all-in and create their 100-day plan.
The May/June print edition of Net Assets will have more coverage of the 2021 NBOA Annual Meeting. The 2022 NBOA Annual Meeting will be held February 20-23 in Chicago. For details, stay tuned to nboa.org and nboaannualmeeting.org.