|photo: JerSean Golatt
Cynt Marshall is the CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, president and CEO of Marshalling Resources consulting, and former senior v-p of human resources and chief diversity officer for AT&T. She is the first African American woman to hold the CEO role for any NBA team and was named one of the "30 Most Powerful Women in Sports" by Adweek, one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America" by Black Enterprise magazine, and one of "15 of the World's Most Inspiring Leaders" by Forbes. She is also a cancer survivor and regular speaker at cancer-related events. She and her husband have four adult children. Marshall's memoir, You've Been Chosen: Thriving Through the Unexpected (Ballantine, September 13, 2022), details her path from an abusive household in the projects through racism and corporate America to become one of the most influential Black business leaders today.
Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:
You've Been Chosen reveals that adversity has a divine purpose, equips one for the next battle, and is meant to be faced by a community.
On your nightstand now:
The Accommodation: The Politics of Race in an American City by Jim Schutze. This book provides amazing insight about the city I live in. It helps to explain what's underneath the "tale of two cities" that I heard about when I first moved to Dallas.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It was exciting as a kid to read such a big book. What started out as a volume challenge ended up being an incredible read about four sisters. Note: I have three sisters.
Your top five authors:
Maya Angelou because she writes in a way that I've never experienced, especially from a Black woman. Her words are profound and speak to my soul.
T.D. Jakes makes the Bible real in all of his writings. Even when he doesn't expressly mention the Scriptures, I can see biblical principles at work in his books.
Anita Diamant captured my full attention with her vivid descriptions of the happenings inside the red tent. She made me see women of biblical times in a more practical light.
Nido Qubein speaks optimism and success on paper like few have done. Even before finishing one of his books, I want to and feel like I can accomplish big things. He makes me believe that I have the recipe to live the American dream to the fullest.
Alice Walker writes about the Black female experience in a way that speaks to my soul. Her storytelling causes me to feel like I'm in the story just waiting to play my part.
Book you're an evangelist for:
The Power of Nice by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval is my favorite business book because it provides concrete examples of how being nice literally pays off. It's a quick read with relatable and true stories.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. The cover provides energy and speaks to my childish adventuresome spirit. It makes me want to open it just to see where I'm going.
Book that changed your life:
More by Todd Wilson caused me to seriously evaluate my purpose in life. Through an experiential book exercise I was able to succinctly articulate and document a plan to live out my calling.
Favorite line from a book:
"Time moves slowly, but passes quickly." --from Alice Walker's The Color Purple
It's true. At 62 years old this quote has been proven. It also represents periods of my life that I thought would never end and before I knew it, they were over. For example: 1) the years of noise and activity grind with the kids is now a quiet empty nest and 2) grueling days of chemo are now reflections in a book.
Five books you'll never part with:
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is one of my all-time favorite books. As a person who grew up reading the Bible, often with a focus on male characters, I loved reading about the women of the Bible and their behind-the-scenes real-life experiences.
My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a fascinating look into the life of a remarkable woman who changed the world for women. She made things better for me.
The Bible is the foundation that I stand on. I need it for direction and guidance for my daily journey. It's historic yet relevant.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou describes real experiences of trauma, racism and many other things while also showing what it looks like to overcome. Maya Angelou was a gift from God.
Maestro: A Surprising Story about Leading by Listening by Roger Nierenberg is insightful and presents a fun way to examine leaders and their followers. I'll never experience the symphony again without studying the musicians and thinking about how being a leader is like conducting an orchestra.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Shack by William Paul Young is a book that I couldn't put down. I want to read it much slower to reflect on the symbolism and meaning throughout the chapters.
Author that provoked lifesaving action:
Jack L. Groppel in The Corporate Athlete caused me to act on a colonoscopy referral slip that laid on my nightstand for months. He made me realize the importance of achieving physical, mental and emotional health, simultaneously.
Books I gifted my posse:
Becoming by Michelle Obama, Finding My Voice by Valerie Jarrett, Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush.
All of these books are written by incredible women who accepted the opportunity to serve. They showed us how to serve a country with grace and intention and caused us to realize that all of us can serve. The back stories are amazing and captivating.