I write today to salute my mentor, friend and sister, Cynt Marshall, as she takes the helm as the interim CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. Cynt retired last year from AT&T after 36 years of dedicated and inspirational service, and certainly could have rested on her many laurels. But that is not the Cynt way. Instead, she has chosen to jump with both feet into an organization in cultural crisis with a commitment to make that organization best in class in diversity and inclusion by 2019. And she will deliver on that commitment.
Of the range of emotions I felt as I watched her take the microphone at her inaugural press briefing, the strongest were my sense of awe and gratitude. I was awed by the fearlessness with which she faced down the challenges she has taken on and the concise way in which she outlined the pillars of her workplace vision – trust, integrity, authenticity, respect, teamwork and safety – values that are melded into Cynt’s DNA. I was grateful to have been privileged to work with Cynt and to be inspired by her and to have the opportunity to continue to learn from her about leadership.
Cynt spoke this week about the importance of inclusion – being heard and valued in the workplace. I’ve always said that diversity is about being invited to the party but inclusion is about being asked to dance. And I can guar-an-tee it, Cynt will invite everyone to dance.
At the end of 2017, just 26 women were CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Women hold fewer than a quarter of the senior executive titles in corporate America. The recent national dialogue about unsafe workplaces simply underscores the importance of greater gender-balance in corporate leadership roles.
Cynt, you are the voice of a movement; you are our conscience; you are our spirit animal. You lead with strength and grace and inspire women everywhere to be extraordinary. We are so proud of you. Dance on, my sister, dance on.