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Cynthia Marshall: Rebuilding the Dallas Mavericks


In this episode of boss files I'm uniquely qualified to do this. I have to do for the sisterhood. I have to help create a great place to Work Dallas Mavericks. CEO Cynthia Cynthia Marshall She's the first African American woman ever to lead in the eighteen. She was hand picked by team owner. Mark Cuban tasked with cleaning up a toxic work environment an independent investigation later found quote numerous acts of sexual harassment that spanned over two decades in the Mavericks. I walked into a culture. I walked into a place where the women were not valued and treated the way I would like to see them. Treat it so we had a problem with treat it women frankly I think we had a problem with how we respected and treated people of color and it wasn't a very diverse an inclusive environment when I got there and so we needed to to do some things she's fulfilled her one hundred day plan to turn around the team leadership taking the organization and from no women in leadership to fifty percent. She tells me she is committed to making her employees the top priority I want them to feel like this. The Dallas Mavericks is the best place to work on the planet and to in order to do that. I talked to him. I mean my first hundred days. I met one on one with every single. Oh employees plus marshalls remarkable personal journey how her faith is her northstar and how she has endured unimaginable loss. I've I learned literally how to give my problem frank to the Lord. I mean that's where my strength comes from. It comes from above I'd be a mess will just be a total mess trying to handle all all this by myself. I I couldn't deal with it. She beat cancer and defied all the odds. Here's my conversation with Cynthia Marshall. I am so thrilled all to be sitting here with you. Cynthia sint Marshall because you like to go by heavensent heaven love that thank you so much for being here. Let's start art at the Mavs and what you're doing now and this transformation and then let's back up but into your extraordinary life okay so just to begin this is the last place that you thought that you would be retiring from anti our parent company and working with Mark Cuban s an NBA team the Dallas maps crazy. Why did you say yes? I said Yes for the sisterhood I I said yes because after I met with him and then some of the women grabbed me on the way out the door because I hadn't decided yet and they told me their stories and they told me about the climate and I got in the car and I talked talk to my husband and I went home and I prayed about it and I said actually I'm uniquely qualified to do this. I have to do it for the sisterhood. I have to help create a great place to work you the first female African American CEO of an NBA team yes. Why did it take so damn long? I don't know but I'll tell you what I won't be the last time I will not be the last. I don't know why it took so long because the Dallas Observer has said of you. You're the quote most important acquisition since they drafted grafted Dirk Nowitzki. That's like a lot of prayer they said. I don't know I don't know I don't know we have some great great ball players. I mean I own the fact that we have turned around the culture and I didn't do it by myself. I brought some folks in with me. We promote it some people we created a great diverse leadership team but yeah I own it. Let's tell people who aren't who may not be familiar with the the crisis that was the Dallas Mavericks not that long ago and the culture crisis in what you know a number of people there gone through this review from to our to our listeners from the sports illustrated investigation which uncovered all of this quota corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior alleged public fondling by the team president outright domestic assault by high profile member of the mavs Dot Com staff unsupportive or even intimidating intimidating responses from superiors who heard complaints of inappropriate behavior from their employees even an employee who openly watched pornography at his desk one former former employees called it quote a real life animal house. Is that what you walk into I walked into a culture. I walked into a place where where the women were not valued and treated the way I would like to see them treated so we had a problem with treated women. Frankly I think we had a problem with how we respected entry people of color and it wasn't a very diverse and inclusive environment when I got there and so we needed to to do some things so yeah I walked into a place that is not the place the people are walking into right now. Can you talk a little bit more about how you saw people of Color in the the in the office being treated because I heard you say that in another interview and I think a lot of the press was about women but but you as an African American saw a the real issue here with how minorities are being treated right well and part of it was the absence the absence of people of color at the leadership table the absence of what I perceived to be people of Color in middle management so there was just a culture that catered to white men and that leadership team that was all white man which of course now is fifty percent women and forty seven percent people of color so we've made some changes. There are a lot of changes a lot of changes so I noticed that when I walked walked in the door what was missing because I'm used to working in a very diverse and inclusive environment and so this was very different from what I was choose to right I mean you had that at at. At and T. again your head of diversity at the company for for a long time and you had a different experience you had bosses who told you I want to go out of your way to elevate minorities exactly and a boss who gave a big speech at one point in time rental Stevenson about moving from tolerance to understanding our big boss. Yes big boss so we had a big focus on all people and I just didn't see it. The folks represented. I didn't see the representation that needed to be there and that's just on the surface and then of course inclusion is another whole part of that and so I just didn't see it. You know we just said okay. Let's lay out a plan. we laid out a one hundred day plan executed on it so I mean you you put so much on the line by saying yes. You didn't need the money you had this sort of picture picture-perfect career. You're in retirement. You could have just written off into the sunset enjoyed. The time with your husband is your kids. You didn't Mark Cuban calls you rumor has it. You are wearing a golden state warriors sweatshirt and Steph Curry sock when Mr mavs Kalsi drew that is correct that is correct. Yes I'm from the San Francisco Bay area yeah so usually when I'm at home I wasn't traveling for my consulting business that week and so usually when I'm home and this was in the past I would ever I wouldn't either have have on cal Berkeley sweats and a baseball cap tennis shoes all that or Golden State Warriors and so that's what I had on and now you are head to toe for people who can't see you were ahead. mavs blew mavs blue black silver grey true. You really didn't know who Mark Cuban was. That is true. Have you turned on the television do ever watch shark tank. I'm watching. MSNBC no you're not you're watching everything okay. I'm watching the news and then I watch football yeah now. Of course I watch basketball sure but I didn't know him and my husband had to tell me who he was and he said Shark tank. Thank I said okay. I've never seen shark tank. He said okay owner of the Mavericks. I said okay. The kids have gone to Mavericks Game I have and so I got a chance to know him day. What did he say he didn't know me either? Though I mean somebody recommended me and he knew of you yes why what did he say I Walk Sends Office and while he greeted me at the door and he just he looked broken. I mean he looks as if I could have been crying well. He will you come yeah. He said he text messages then we finally called him back because I actually thought it was the kid texted me for monies. I told my husband hands funny and so when he told me he was I called him and he said I'm having a crisis and I'd like to to see you today. your name has come up a few times and so I need to see you and to honest with you. I told him I have a mammogram scheduled and I can't make good for you because I I learned the hard way. What happens when you don't keep your doctor's appointment cancer? We'll we'll talk about that and so I said so. I'll I think I can be there by four o'clock and so when I got there oh he just looked broken he had been crying and he took me back in his office and I found out later that he had been that he had addressed the employees and he was very upset set by what he had found out and was clearly unfolding literally real time and so he told me that he had talked to a few people and he found out you know what's going on on and there had been a history and so a lot of what was in the sports illustrated Article was true. I think the Animal House thing I think got to him because you know some of it had been cleaned up I mean the the person the CEO was no longer there and hadn't been for few years and so he was disturbed by it all and just said I need you literally. The mandate was I need you to come in and transform the culture. You know one of the things Mark Cuban did as a leader as he was. He was very hens off off right. I think in retrospect he certainly would realize that's part of why this was allowed to continue to happen because he knew he what what he says. He just didn't know what was on the basketball side. He wasn't aware of a lot of it. Is there a lesson there too in leadership. Do you see him more frozen now. Yes the lesson is obviously you've got to focus on all aspects of it I mean I actually learned that lesson very early on in my career to not not not a situation this you know this bad but you gotta focus on both sides of it and so he left it to his CEO to run the place and and in some in some aspects He's doing that again. I mean he's leaving it to me Toronto. He knows he can trust me but we have been very much involved. I mean we sit down on a regular basis aces. We go through personnel issues. He knows what's going on. I mean he's not in there making day to day decisions right because leaders. That's the thing I mean good leaders. There's often are do step back and they do trust those that they've put in place exactly so you're deal with Mark Cuban as I understand it you own can't run it to tell them that again. Yesterday you ask Yes yes. Yes we agree on like ninety nine percent of the stuff that we're working working on but every now and then we don't agree but then he'll we'll debate it and then he'll say is your call to make I and so sometimes I'll go the way he wants to go on sometimes so I reached out to mark Cuban known him for a long time and I just asked him about you. Let me let me quote what you said. She is driven Smart Compassionate and a realist but those don't compare to her thirst to learn. She does whatever it takes. Oh I'm touched by that all my goodness. I want that email that is awesome that is awesome and I am a continuous learner and that's what I love of about this job. I am learning the business of basketball and I have a lot of people on the team teaching me the business of basket but my boss is also willing to teach me basketball and I think it goes to show that you can. There's a lot we can learn right. I mean you can teach someone to be on TV the and read the teleprompter right like I do. You can't teach someone empathy. You can't teach someone some of those innate skills that you had that need you the right person right now for this job and I think he sees that you had that he does. He also said to me. Ask Her about jin-ll having in the I N. E. L. L. is my middle name and I also have a niece who actually named after me so she hates it that this is the story. A generic is my alter ego okay and I tried to keep her hidden and every now and then she has to come out edgy nail is not present listen to what I can say about word on TV podcast. You can say whatever you want okay she. She's bad. She's bad deal. Hello Neil handles her business and I try to just have firm sent. Come out but were you nail has to come out. It's not good and people are probably on their way out the door. When geno come all right? Let's keep gene on the box day but you know what but she comes out when she has to do yeah and she's only up to come out a couple of times. So when did you now come out in in these first one hundred days you came forward with one hundred day plan yes and for anyone who has not watched your press conference when you were named it was powerful. I had to send a message. I had to send a message that we were serious about what was going on there that we would models zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior savior and for false allegations as well. I mean we gotta look at both sides of it. that we were GONNA have an agenda for women we were going to transform the culture and then from an operational effectiveness effectiveness standpoint. We're going to put some things in place on how you run a basic business. which is what I'm used to and so I wanted to be serious about that coming up she was? At and T. Executive for more more than two decades how Cynthia Marshall quickly learned the business of basketball remember to create an ad like this one visit pure winning dot com slash. CNN and the MLB postseason one pitch struck one swing of the bat crowded turned thome PBS is the home of the two thousand nine hundred eighty National League postseason this Tober hey this is matt and connor from stick to football and football is back college. NFL NFL draft we have you covered find their show on apple podcast spotify stitcher or bleacher reports youtube a tube general every Monday Wednesday and Friday talk to me about what what changed in the first hundred days and what you think the biggest marker of actual cultural changes because because you know the numbers are impressive. You've increased women in leadership from basically zero to at least last I read forty seven percent ripley the I was thinking about that and so now it's fifty percent but as you know working for corporations there's a lot of corporate speak and there's a lot of talk oftentimes instead of action right so prove to us and then people listening that fundamentally things have changed the first of all that's why I didn't do a lot of interviews at the beginning at the beginning because we were just focused on executing on that plan we established a hotline above and beyond with the NBA has so that people could call my chief ethics and compliance officer which is she's new. I mean the position is new. I brought her in. I worked with her for years so we established that because one of the first things we wanted to do was set up a speak up culture stab you speak of culture so we set that up we instilled some values in the culture and so I I walked into spills crafts so perfect crafts character respect authenticity fairness teamwork and safety both physical emotional safety and so we talked a lot about what that means and that will make decisions based on those values people will work here. They'll have employment employee employment based on those values we actually laid out a women's agenda so kind of leadership development program identified high potential women that we can move up in the business and to figure out what kind of training and what they needed did market already brought in a counselor to just help with kind on the trauma and what was going on there we even transformed our physical work environment and we finally we completed that to my satisfaction very recently so when you walk in our door is a very open collaborative kind of place where everybody can with off composed off no silos because we needed to physically break down the silos but also emotionally and mentally breakdown the silos so that people could just feel free about what's going on and then you could also see what was going on in the place we established an External Advisory Council so the Dallas Mavericks Advisory Council about twenty seven different different community and business and civic leaders serving as literally external voices the Deemak yes letting US get your homework sister D. MC- Yes yes it is CNN CNN and so you know just really letting us know you know what what we should pay attention to they. They give us insight so we did a lot of that and then we actually actually setup performance reviews and so people could really understand where they stood. We set up a great training program and then we also looked at gender parody in terms of pay but then we looked at everybody there was there and despair and it was there a discrepancy I mean we're men getting paid more than their schoolwork. Yeah there was a discrepancy but not I. I expect it bigger discrepancies so so we fixed those really quick you right size to win. I'm assuming it was the women who are underpaid. That's exactly and that's actually the very first piece of data I asked the CFO and the co see for companies have this data have the data but in life they're compelled or go through a crisis like you guys do do you know in Britain and this is becoming more common in Europe becoming. He's got have to show yeah. Do you think that all big corporations in America should be be accountable to the public on pay. You said yes I do at at and T. I actually had the pleasure when I was S. VP of human resources and the chief diversity officer her. I had the pleasure of doing the equity test on salaries to make sure that we were treating women people of color everybody the same and so good for you for doing that a while ago awhile ago I mean a lot of companies still don't know we did a while ago yeah and so when I walked in one of the first things I asked for because that's very telling I mean you can tell a lot about the culture of an organization when you look at that that's dollars and cents when women start lower right. They'll never they'll never catch up because you're bumps are on what you were paid exactly exactly so then you have two issues you have the pay issue but then you also have the issue of women in the lower paying jobs so you've got both issues that we have that you have to deal with you. Quote Roy Disney saying quote. It's easy to make decisions once you know what your values are yes. Can you walk us through how that has guided you. Yes so again. Character respect authenticity fairness teamwork in safety so when it comes to pay equity literally if I'm having compensation discussions with my team team I'll just point to the wall under fairness. Are we being fair and how we're treating people. Are we being fair and how we are promoting people. does that decision in reflect respect of that person. Are you doing what you say you're supposed to be doing us and so we point to those all the time what I what I said about the values is they would be on the on on the walls but they would also operate in the hall so we literally make on the walls in Hav yes and make decisions based on that and my team will tell you I have shut down things because I said I truly believe that violates teamwork or I believe it violates respect and so we're not going to before we move onto your story of how you got not here. I do want to ask you about this because I think a very important conversation happening in the League right now and it's over the language used and over over the term owners because you have about eighty percent of league players that are African American almost all of the team owners are white and there is a discussion right now about the use of the term owner for teams hearkening back of course they slavery in the history of slavery in this country draymond green the Golden State Warriors also forward has said the word owner dates back to slavery and and has and it's it's an important conversation. I wonder where uh where do you fall on that. You know it's interesting and I I respect people's perspectives because people are coming from their own experiences. Dan Says I mean I've had my own experiences I can. I see Mark Cuban as the owner of the franchise I see him as the franchise owner just like I see the others as small business owners owners of different things and I and I know there are some issues with that word. I personally don't have an issue with that word. I have have issues with people being mistreated with pay inequities. with people not being promoted because they're women because they're they're people of color. the word French French. The phrase franchise owner does not bother me. Maybe owner by itself would bother me if I worked for an owner who had that mentality where he's the owner and we're all the slaves so we had that kind of massive mentality work that mavs maybe that would bother me. Markus the franchise owner how did the Donald Sterling episode with the Clippers impact the leak leave and and how Adam something like this is Adam Silver's first big thing when he I became commissioner and how he dealt with it so many people applauded in fact that's how I actually I have never saw him and obviously I wasn't in the League at the time it was my. At and T. career but I lived in California and I remember that situation quite well in our member Adam silver's comments and I thought who is this guy yeah love him. Yeah love people who will step up and do what is right. That's what character is all about area code doing the right thing and doing what is right so for your career previous at at and T. you had fourteen different jobs or was it thirty six years. Yes thirty six years and you. You learned that that in your words most people I don't care how much you know until they know how much you care yes. How did you learn that because I was the recipient of bosses and people in my circle who actually you cared about me as a person who cared about me as an employee who rallied around me mentored me sponsored me and what always make the difference? It was the fact that I knew they cared about me. Yes they want good results but I knew they cared about me as a person and so I tried to role model that then it's all about the people I mean people matter I mean that is truly all that matters. You don't get results if you don't take care of people and so that's why I come to work every day literally. That's what gets me up in the morning the the beautiful my aunt lives saying essentially no one's going to remember what you did or what you accomplish. But how did you make them. How did you make them feel and so I come to work every day to make these people feel feel great? I want them to feel like this. The Dallas Mavericks is the best place to work on the planet and to in order to do that. You GotTa talk to them. I mean my first hundred days. I've met one on one with every single employee every single employee and I was start the one I want off by saying your whole life story and then they saw this is my sixth six season at the Mavs and I said born in here like if you're like me back. Take me all the way back when you take me back take me back Alabama and then shortly thereafter living in public housing in the bay area okay born in Birmingham Alabama which I had the pleasure of visiting a few weeks ago I'm going in in May took my mom back. She gave us a civil rights history tour for forty eight hours. It was so emotional an incredible but my mom and dad left when I was three months old so so they take their four kids and I was the baby and got an a train and moved to the San Francisco Bay area to quote my mother. She said it was because she did not want her children. Growing the Jim Crow South She dealt with Colored Water Fountains are water hoses her best friend saw the K. K. K. actually bomb Tom their church. I mean so a lot of this just recently and so she didn't want her kids growing up in that and so they moved to Richmond California we we were poor now. I didn't realize how poor we were probably until I was in college. and my mom worked two three four jobs to make ends meet my father was as a character and in fact when I was eleven years old I saw my father shoot a man in the head in self-defense because I actually went to the front door kind of watching this episode play out and my father shot back when he saw the young man getting ready to use on me I saw it I was supposed to be in the back room with my five brothers and the sisters because all this commotion had broken out the front door and I kind of sneaked away and believe it or not I was a quiet kid not quite anymore. Okay quiet and I I would just look around and so I sleep pass my mom and went to the front door and that's when my father realized that I was not in the back room but on his side because a young man planted a silver pistol I can see it to this day and my father responded it wasn't fatal thank goodness and it was in self defense but needless to say it just caused a a lot of chaos in our neighborhood to the point where we had to be sequestered in the house for safety purposes and we couldn't go to school but I was taught at a very early age that education education was my ticket out and I guess my ticket out of poverty. I didn't know how to describe it at that time but my mother put two of my hand mouth book and went hand in a Bible in the other very against to keep your head in these books and so I want to go to school so my mother figured out a way for me to go to school you talk about school as refuge for you and you wanted to be a math teacher. It was totally refuge in so my mom had a uniform police officer take me to school in the seventh grade secret service way back then wow so he took me to school and he did the right the bus with me or he'd put me in a police car and I just wanted to go and get into my books especially my math books. I wanted to be mad teacher so bad when I got to the ninth grade serving with my math teacher and so I went to be just like her we still I mean mark would be sad to lose you at the map so you got phil. You know I do a lot of math right. Now you've got of course you got a lot of years. Ahead Your Dad really tough you on in your siblings. I frankly can't believe that you emerge from that. Experience like seemingly unscathed for the long-term. Tell everyone what it was like. He was he was abusive. and so we were the victims of domestic violence Lynch and so my mom endured a lot and when we were fifteen he finally left it was a it was a bloody summer the summer of nineteen seventy five and and after my brothers high school graduation the police escorted us away from our house our unit in the projects because it was just too dangerous to go back and my mother's prayer was that we'd make make it back home before school started and we we made it back and my father had taken almost everything out of the house may almost everything Sar trophies were gone because we ran track are trophies. Were gone school close. there was a mattress for me and my younger sister to sleep on and so you can imagine I mean my mother had three there were gone at that point so three of us left me and my younger brother and sister and we were just screaming and crying and I'll never forget my mother just told us to be quiet quiet quiet and it was quiet just like right now. We just quiet. She said all I want is peace of mind. God will provide so you can imagine you're the victim him of domestic violence at this point. There's peace you don't care about material stuff and so she was letting us know. It's not about the material stuff. The little will take care of us. This is a a peaceful environment now and we will be okay and and she believed in you so much but your dad didn't he would or acted like he didn't. He would say these horrible things to you and your sister about how you would make your money. Yes yeah we would be hookers on the street without him and so My mother says she doesn't know where it came from but I just told him I said I'm going to be the President Wedneday that we're we're GONNA be the first to graduate from college. I'm going to be the president one day. MOM's getting out of the projects she said I just started speaking it fifteen years old and I it had to do I'm. I'm sure with how she raised us. I'm sure as us to have a lot of hope. She raised us to have a lot of faith. she raised us to be smart kids. She kept books in our hands. My mother literally would she would make a big posters of like the typewriter keys and citizens the table so we can learn how to type and all that so she was just totally focused on on her kids getting a good education and fortunately I ended up going to Berkeley and got full scholarships and I got a great education so president one day yes there's an election I hear not that kind of president being the president of at and T. North Carolina on the Presidency Obama August Saltburn yes and the CEO of that but in all seriousness. You never ran for public office so you haven't yet no when I left North Carolina Aww when I left North Carolina a lot of people were trying to get me to run for office I mean even being the governor of North Carolina and a good friend of Mine Beverly Purdue was actually the first female governor North Carolina and so so a lot of people talk to me and I said No. I'm going to Dallas. At and T. Randall they need me in Dallas and they're asking me to move. You and I have no desire to run for office because it's so screwed up in Washington no I mean that seriously. CEO Sit here and tell me you know week after week on this podcast that they feel like they can affect more change in the business world for people then they can in Washington because it's so hard to get anything none. I believe that I mean I. I've I've experienced that if you can really mobilize people locally and focus then I would prefer to do that now. Public policy matters so I'm a big person around public policy so we need great policy makers and we have some great policymakers in Washington. DC Ah we have some problems we need to leave but we have some great policy makers they are. I don't want to affect policy and rather execute on the policy. I don't want want to make the policy and go through the grind in Washington. DC that's just not who I am. I am just more of a local grassroots. Let's get with a group of people get it John. Let's get it done. Let's get it forwards you live by Dream Focus Yes pray act which of those assists the most important which has guided you the most literally totally literally break I was in my prayer closet praying the week before I got this call from Mark Cuban because we were going to move back to North Carolina and I was literally in my prayer closet when what's practice well place in my house go into I like that I need one of yeah. Go in and just like my place. I'm alone and I have some cork boards. Where if I know somebody's nobody's going through a crisis? If I hear about something I will write that person's name down and I'll put it up on the board so people and things that I want to pray for because you know I got going on so I don't want to forget right so I'll write it down put into Cork Board and then I just tried to spend some time in there every morning every now and then I'll have to do but at night but I try to go in there every morning just to get my mind right into here. What God has for me? I don't do this by myself. I am. I am guided by his spirit and literally the Lord spoke to me and told me not to move and as I was getting ready to tell my husband he says oh you've been gone all week. I just need you to know I'm really not trying to move back to North Carolina and I hadn't even told him what had happened. In the closet and I said okay that's confirmation and then a week glaister Mark Cuban Mark Cuban call meant to a meant to be in Dallas up next how Cindy marshalls faith helps her navigate. The most difficult situations stay tuned. It's Wednesday October second. TNT all the lead wrestling hits harder flies tire and bricks all boundaries rustling a new League Wednesdays starting October second date on TNT UEFA. The Champions League and Europa League are back in action this in stream every match on beyond is so if we could spend a little bit of time to the extent you're comfortable talking about your faith and what you've been through you've been through it. you're a cancer survivor. You lost a child Yes so ah let's begin with fighting cancer and beating ambient by the grace of God and beating so I I was told to get a colonoscopy literally a month before my fiftieth birthday and I didn't do it and then I was in this big. At and T. leadership session called the corporate athlete and inmates it as well as Jerry. It's a great book and it makes you focus on one aspect of your health. You know physical mental virtually emotional just one aspect of it that you want to work Khan and physical part actually came up lower than I thought it would and they said just pick one thing that you'll do and so my one thing was okay. I'm GonNa go and have that colonoscopy. I'M GONNA get get that referral slip off my nightstand and go and do that still took me about six months to get it down. I had my good old accountability Buddy Frank Gills who I just actually saw at the airport couple of days go and I am a big hug. I see you help save my life so you would call me every day. Even when I was going through the starbucks line you get that thing done you get that thing look at that and so I finally got it done technically technically in compliance. It was my last day a fifty while I last year fifty I had the colonoscopy and then the next day my fifty first birthday I was Kamini at work and I got pulled out and it was my doctor saying a surgeon is going to call you and he had already told my husband a little bit about he saw tumor and all that and it looked nasty and so I said okay I gotta get it out and when I saw the surgeon and he actually told me I could wait a few months and because he said he had you know done this a long time and so he didn't anthony cancerous and I said in his office for an hour and a half missile less than advocating for your health. I said No. It's gotta come out. This girl says Nasty Watson. The picture was very advanced. Yes and he says No. I think it's okay I mean he called. We had surgery. I would leave his office so we had surgery and then he called me the day before New Year's Eve and said I hope you're sitting down. He said I have some news. It's bad and it's significant you have stationary colon cancer. One left note away from stage four. It's in in your lymph nodes and blood vessels and then the rest is just like an outer body experience Sherman at that point. It's like I couldn't even hear him and then when I called my mom and California her response was is this is for his glory. She said this is for God's glory. Really you have a very public up your your high inner high profile job and you will till this story on how the Lord will heal you from cancer you know of course with the help of doctors and all that now I don't WanNa hear that exactly at that time but literally that was her response and it turned out to be the truth. It was very high profile very public yet. I was the chair of the North Carolina Chamber so the first woman to hold that position and we had our big economic forecasts forum coming up in a few days and I was supposed to give Erskine Bowles and award so it was like this big event but of course I don't show up to the event and they you know the the media as y'all do as we do to ask questions and finally the story broke that I was diagnosed cancer and there was a very public brutal six-month battle with chemotherapy and all that and thank God it's been what eight years I'm cancer a free but I think is one of the lessons there that if you don't have your health you don't have anything like you didn't go get that checkup. You're busy too busy. It's ridiculous. It's so it's just so irresponsible. and I was responsible. I should have done that literally on my fiftieth birthday. I don't blame me and my dad died from cancer when he was forty nine and he knew he should've been going in to get checked sooner but he was so busy with his career and with us and with the kids and with the family and it's what sort of he put himself last I think and sometimes we need to be selfish and put ourselves certainly our health right because what I realized going through that situation and in fact it was my son when we told the kids I forgot we told the kids and my son who was in his freshman year in college. He responded minded and he joked but I could tell he was he was upset and he says No. You're going to be fine mom. You're going to be fine and my daughter's. We're all devastated in one of my daughter said Oh you're going to die and you're probably already dying. Step mom the stepmom and you're just not telling us she's devastated and so my son told her he said no Shirley. Don't say that don't no say that he said look around the house and I have Christmas stuff everywhere. That's my sensors. That's my jail the day after Thanksgiving. The the whole house is transformed. That's my doubt grade and he said look around. He says dad says if anything ever happened to mom he's not doing any of this like no sheets. No reindeers no nothing. He said Salam's not leave it. She's got around Christmas and that's when it hit me. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness well with these kids stew. I wasn't here I mean I wish I had thought a couple of years especially. My father died from colon cancer the year before I was diagnosed. Thank goodness so so you think that point but it didn't so that's why I talk about it a lot. I see people on the elevator. They tell me their age. I had to call just I. They're looking at me like I the head of my calendar thirteen years from now that's right. GotTa have so tell me about Winston. Who's it was win? I Love Winston. Winston was my chemo pump. I am literally riding a book. You're probably the first person I'm telling this to. I didn't go book call Winston and Clubhouse Very Winston was my chemo pump so I'd have to go in and have chemo and so they put this big pump on me and my husband will cause. I named it Winston because of the movie how Stella Ella Her groove back there you go and so. She got her group at right yeah that hot guy yes. He was Winston. He was Angela Bassett Winston and so I said okay this thing has to give me my roof back. It had all the chemo chemo cocktail in there so I literally had to give it a name and then I call the chemo infusion suite clubhouse Terry GonNA has literally. We were in there every day fighting for our lives. It was like a clubhouse for a team and we were on the cancer team for that year. Can Can I ask you. I you know I don't know maybe it's because of my dad or I don't know but I always get nervous about dying young or leaving my children and you you know what that would mean and and so then I feel this immense guilt when I'm not at everything for them when I'm not doing school pick up every day right and everyday right I know but you have this amazing way of thinking about things even post cancer your crystal balls and your rubber ball so help alleviate TV eight or mom guilt and tell us about those and so something could be wrong with me because I just never I only have mom Joe. Never no I never had before first of all. The nineties have to eat WANNA eat. Mommy has to say that my daughter says. Why are you going to work and I'm like do you like your dinner right shoes? You're wearing and how about those socks okay but so Chris Balls and rubber walls crystal balls are things they drop they shatter they never come back. You cannot put the glass back together. Rubber balls are the things that bounce back and I have a good example I was asked to go to Washington. DC and spend a whole week in Washington DC for AT&T Tintin to help lobby on some issues when you're and I said I can be there the whole week I can. I you know put the North Carolina stuff in somebody else's hands but Wednesday afternoon is the only time I'm not not available because my son has his first high school swim meet we have moved to North Carolina. It was his first high school swim. Meet not a second third practice yeah I high school and so I get the schedule and the most important legislators they wanted me to meet with of course and I said I I I'm not going to be here. I gotta go back home. His first high school swim me. She went home for the end. They looked at me and they're like what I said. I'm sorry and so my son looked up in those stands for is that he saw me he smiled and he wanted individual medley. I ah continue to say to this day. That's because he saw his mom and his stance Harry that was a crystal ball to me and then I went back the next morning six o'clock and guess who we met with them Thursday morning to all those yeah legislative will wait yet it will and your kid won't yeah and so the next one meet a whole lot of them. I tried to go to them when I could but that was a crystal oh well and so we have crystal balls at home and at work and you can't do everything in the same day. I believe you can have it all. You just can't have it all in the same day. You gotta spread it out out and fortunately you know you have help at home and you have the village. Thank goodness or how I think. People don't talk enough about how how important our health and childcare is. Oh you have to have have childcare. I'm actually hoping that we can do something. Tell me tell me do something with the babs. We haven't we haven't gotten there yet but that's my that's on my list an in-house day care senator yes and so what I'm hoping even if it's not like right there in our building yeah did. It's close enough to where employees can have their kids. They're so if they WANNA go see Liam Atlanta hungry for it yes. That's what I'm hoping. That's what I'm working well. We all know that you're the boss yesterday morning it's going to happen. That's what I'm working for you. Yeah that's four because so many people are pregnant now and either the women office or the the men are having you know their wives are having babies and you know people are adopting get things are happening and family is so important. That's one of my balance. I think it's where Washington has failed us. I mean the child care. expense in this country is unsustainable. It's outrageous. It's outrageous and you shouldn't have to be rich to afford childcare. No Zip code should matter no Let's talk about your journey with motherhood okay. Ah I having had two children myself. I cannot put my head really in the space through what you endured without cheering up you suffered. I believe it's four four second trimester miscarriages and a daughter who died at six months old and with all the miscarriages you know you go through where sometimes they wanNA. Put the baby on your chance. Even though you know the baby is GonNa Breathe for another minute or not then they wanna give you footprints footprints. Even when you say you don't want the footprints I mean just it just never ends or you have the miscarriage but you go home because they forgot to give you medication occasion then all of a sudden you're pumping milk but you know there's no baby I mean so it's all that kind of stuff that I went through and after after the fourth miscarriage we said no more and then we said okay we'll try one more time and then that's when I had a daughter who was born four months premature a her name name was caroline with a k. because my husband's name is Ken so we want her to have the cage. AM initial so Carolyn Denise Marshall. They said she would live two days now. Yeah this was after I had been in the hospital almost upside down on magnesium which was quite an experience hallucinations and all that and finally I just told my husband they need to stop the medication because whatever the Lord has planned for this baby and for us is what's going to happen I I. I can't live like this and so literally within hours hours after they stopped the magnesium a went ahead went into premature Labor it had her at twenty one and a half weeks and said she lived today's she lived six months months and in fact I was reading an article at her bedside one day about the condition she had kylo thorax. Where have you know you have trouble processing your fluids and all that and so I ran reference on an article and ended up calling this Guy Dr Chopra in Fresno California and told him about her condition and he says okay okay so the plural peritoneal shunts didn't work and so what are you talking about yeah what isn't and so then he's telling me about this procedure that they're doing in Virginia that I didn't know about that that literally you should do in the first two months of life and she was four months old at the time so what I do feel good about is she was here for a reason so they obviously learned about that so they can save more babies and in fact one of her doctors actually spoke at her service and there was this huge service so you'd have thought she she was a princess was huge service and he spoke at her funeral and he said Carolyn Marshall was here to teach us that we're not God that there's some things that we still have to learn and be open to and I still communicate with those doctors and all that I I've only had to that hospital once when my son ended up having a hernia and my husband called to tell me to meet him at Children's Hospital in Oakland and I froze I was in my San Francisco high rise building and I said I can't meet you? There and I said I cannot walk into seven forty seven fifty second street. I just can't I just can't I said the last time I was there at McKee came out in a body bag. I can't do it and he said you're gonNA have to because like the kids now and so I get there and I'm so just disturbed as walking in there my son's name was Kenneth Anthony because when we adopted him we give him my husband's first name and I went in. I said I'm here to see Anthony Marshall. He's having her. He's going to have surgery and they can't find him. Okay so then I walked out of the hospital and then I stopped and I go back in. I said Oh can strike set remember the kid's name just walking king back in there just did something to me and everything's still now that I just can't do a whole lot of baby showers me. I like them but I don't just go to a whole lot of them and so I mean they're still trauma there but that is not how the lower chose to make our family and so what we find decided is okay. The Lord has a way to make our family and then we show up to this adoption meeting that we didn't want to be at they saved other line. The rest is history so now we have four are wonderful children who all have their sad pitiful. We need to do a whole story. We do hope new Ho- segment on adoption as kids have gone through trauma Rama abandonment abuse neglect all that and they're happy kids and I keep one picture of my family in my office just one just literally one picture. That's the only thing that's personal in mouth and it's a picture of my kids and they have these big smiles on their face and the reason that's my favorite picture because in all of their cases the social workers told us they would never smile ever be normal and they are smiling and there are normal and they are superstars and they're just normal kids monster normal kids. How do you sit here and reflect in this way and have such a positive attitude given all you've gone through? I mean I think so many people I think I would probably just wallow in it and feel so bad for myself and yet you I mean I hear you. Blast ain't no mountain high enough yeah yeah. That's my that where does this light and his strength come from it. He has it comes from above God. The Lord has brought me through so so much I remember after my daughter passed away. My husband went to Fresno to see his folks. I said I didn't want to go. I just want to stay at home and literally he pulled away that Friday evening and I lay it on my stairs and I was still laying there crying when he came back home on Sunday. He said you have the same clothes on he says have you moved and I I I lived there for literally forty eight hours crying and then it was just as if the Lord was just letting me know uh-huh just to cry it out and give it to him and once I got up that's what the healing started and I just started to work my way through it. I give everything to the Lord I mean literally when I when I was growing up they would say put it on the altar and leave it there and so did my mother would always say okay. Why are you wrestling with that? I mean you're supposed to leave it there and you don't put it down. Pick it back up till the Lord to help you work through. Tell him to take it and then you pick it back up the you're going to handle it and make a mess of it or you're going to let him handle. It and I finally learned in my life to let him handle it. My husband had brain damage when right at how my few months after my daughter died as we were adopting anthony and he literally had to learn how to walk and talk again they said he would never walk or talk again and so when to a big church convention prayed our way through it and the doctor said he's about eighty five percent back to normal and I always joke that's less brain damage that he had but you you get through it because I don't take it on me and I'm I'm not super. I'm not Super Super Human I have just learned over the years and then going through so much and watching my mother. I've learned literally how to give my problem trank to the Lord Lord. I mean that's where my strength comes from comes from above. I'd be a mess I mean I would just be a total mess trying to handle this myself. I couldn't deal with it. I mean four trimester trimester miscarriages and a daughter who died a husband with brain damage kids that have all kind of you know trauma. That's happened to them. things that have happened to me. I would be a mess if I didn't know how to cast my burdens to the Lord talk about perspective right so given all all of that and this extraordinary personal journey in life and this extraordinary remarkable career what in the end we'll tell you I've succeeded every job I've ever had so what my fourteen jobs at. At and T. I asked the same and my job now at the maps. I ask the Lord two questions. Every time I take a job Lord. What is it that you want me to do? I need to be real clear about what is it that I'm supposed to do and I know here at the mavs is to make it a great place to work and to provide great entertainment experience for our fans so I know that I'm clear about what I'm supposed to do. And then I said Lord who is that you want me to touch and yes there are thousands of people and hundreds of people but who is it exactly that you want me to touch either. They're going through something and you want them to know that will be okay. There's somebody on me detach approach and once I kind of Zone in on who it is and it could be a couple of them then my mission is clear and so when it's all said and done I just want somebody to say I'm better because she was here. She lifted better than she found it that I am a better person. I was able to go through something because I met her. That's all I want. What are you most proud of in your life? I'm proud of my family. I'm proud of these four kids who have probably gone through more in life than I've gone through and their thriving some of them have their you know their own struggles but they are remarkable children and I'm proud of the fact that the Lord chose me to actually raise these four honeys he gets yards and anybody but somehow we ended up with. What do you want your kids nice to say about you? One day I want to say the same thing everybody else is that I made their life better that when they were going through tough times James they got through them because they talked to mom and mom was their that their friends were able to get through things because they came to our house and they spent the holidays with us with all those Christmas decorations. Oh every down the inadequate yeah me too that I will show up you will you'll just love it. There's something about my mom was pretty similar. Yes so oh finally phase one in career was. At and T. Yes face to is now the mavs with a whole lot of parenting in between who was supposed to be a college president. I was literally so is that is that three yes probably face. I don't know I want a small college. Where kids are struggling to even go there and then I just want to create an environment where they can go for free and get a rate education because I truly believe above and beyond the grace of God a good education literally saved my life educators saved my life and so I I want to provide just an oasis a safe haven for kids who normally wouldn't go to college because they can't afford it to just show up and have a remarkable educational experience and get launched in life? I want to do that one day and you fifty most powerful women in business. Look at you. Crazy uh-huh deserved. I cannot wait to to watch what you do through this and what you do next and Marshall. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. I don't blessing you. Thanks so much for tuning into this episode of boss files. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Week's episode and people you want to hear from so leave a review and follow me on social media the APP Poppy Harlow. CNN are you interested in learning how great companies grow download download the Martic podcast the Mar- tech podcast tells the stories of real world marketers who use technology to generate growth and achieve business and career success from advertising tising to software as a service to data getting brands authentically integrated into content performs better than TV advertising typical life Span Danamon article is about twenty four thirty six hours for reaching out to the right person with the right message and a clear call to action that it's just a matter of timing ready ready to learn the secrets of technology driven marketing and download the Martic

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