2023 Top 50: Moments of Reflection: Sisterhood and the Importance of Support Systems for Women of Color 

Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks knows about the power of choosing and being chosen.  

 Marshall, along with Carolynn Johnson, CEO of Fair360 (formerly DiversityInc), Karen S. Carter, President of Packaging & Specialty Plastics at Dow (No. 7 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s 2023 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) and Dr. Alveda Williams, Chief Inclusion Officer at Dow, shared the importance of support systems for women of color at the 2023 Top 50 event, where the theme was “The Link Between Leadership Accountability and Data Standardization.” 

After a 36-year career with AT&T, Marshall was approached to help Dow reignite its equity and inclusion efforts. Marshall sponsored Carter as Dow’s first Chief Inclusion Officer. Mark Cuban also chose Marshall to lead the Dallas Mavericks during that time. Both women were determining if they should take the roles.   

“When I got the call, I was very hesitant,” said Carter. “The first call I made was to Cynt. What she said to me back then is what I said to her at that moment, which was: ‘This is not about you sister. This is about the moment. This is about the movement. This is also about all those people, some of which look like us, will believe they can because we did.’”  

Carter says one of the most significant lessons she learned from Marshall was the importance of “sending the elevator back down.” Carter paid it forward when she selected Dr. Alveda Williams as Dow’s Corporate Director of Inclusion. 

“They put the brand of Karen S. Carter and Cynt Marshall behind me. They were vested and invested in me,” said Williams.  

One of the first connections Marshall suggested Carter and Williams make was Johnson. 

“Folks are constantly looking for examples of how we show up for one another and what the outcomes, the people and their stories are,” she said. “After tonight, you do not have to look any further. When we support each other, when we show up, when we are fair in our selection process, this is what happens.” 

Click here for more articles, videos and photos from the 2023 Top 50 event.  

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