By LaToya Henry
Cynt talks about her new book, our time together at AT&T, and if we’re related through the Marshall bloodline.
It’s true, Cynt Marshall is the first Black female CEO in the NBA. She was the first Black cheerleader at the University of California, Berkeley. She was also the first executive at AT&T to kick off each town hall to Ashford and Simpson’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
I met Cynt during our time together at AT&T before she retired after 36 years of service. She was a breath of fresh air, the epitome of grace and class, an advocate for DE&I and a true culture change maker.
Now, I’ve heard about Cynt’s battle with cancer plus met her son, daughter and niece, I thought I knew her story. It was not until I listened to her audio book, You’ve Been Chosen that my admiration for her grew immensely. We have so much in common, I actually think we are related, no seriously. My maternal grandfather’s name is Marion “Marty” Marshall. Cynt’s last name is Marshall… see where I am going with this?
From trauma at home as a child, love for math, dealing with diverticulitis, being a Black woman in Corporate America to having the same favorite scripture; Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon formed against me shall prosper,” we have a lot in common. Her love for God and faith is unmatched and I knew I personally wanted to sit down with Cynt to catch up on life and talk about her recent masterpiece, You’ve Been Chosen.
Originally, Marshall wanted to share her cancer battle, but publishers and agents advised her that with the things she experienced throughout life, there was much more to share.
“You’ve been chosen for other things before you got cancer, this is going to be for more audiences like people trying to have families, people who have gone through domestic violence, people growing up poor. Your story is going to touch so many more people.”
Reluctant at first to share more of her cancer journey, since the release of the book, Marshall is impressed by the responses and reaction from people. “It’s crazy how so many audiences needed this book or are enjoying this book.”
The structure of the book shares intimate reflections of her journey during chemotherapy to a glimpse of the day in the life of everything she experienced as an adolescent, her college years, finding the love of her life, losing a child, adopting her children and climbing the ranks in corporate America. “The way the publishers laid out the book was pure genuineness.”
In 2011, Marshall started journaling about her colon cancer battle. Winston and the Clubhouse was the original title for the journal. The publishers wanted something different, and after going through every page in her journal, You’ve Been Chosen was selected as the title of the book. Marshall loved it. “I’m hoping the title is something people can gravitate towards…give them optimism, hope, to know that they are special and have been chosen for the things going on in their life, ” Marshall said.
“This book is about how God and great people always show up in my life.” Marshall further explains, “My book is about healing and to help people get through things they’ve already gone through, get them through things they are going through now.”
If you are looking to write about your personal journey, Marshall recommends writing it all down. “Get a few journals and choose a certain time of the day to write and reflect about the things that are important to you. Be consistent.” Additionally, she was intentional about going back every 6 months to review her writings.
Looking back on her amazing career, Marshall said if she could give her younger self advice, it would be, “To slow down and realize that you cannot do it all. Show up because I did not understand the value of networking. Get ready for things to happen in your life, unpleasant and great things. Have fun and be open to His plan.”
So, what is next for Cynt Marshall? As she explains, it is all about the 3 B’s – Books, Boards and Better. Here’s her rationale behind it. She plans to write more books, help drive more change in the DEI space and join more non-profit leadership boards, and part of her mission is to help make the world a better place through education.
Now, we never found out if the same Marshall bloodline runs through our families. We just agreed to always be sisters and plan to meet up for a Dallas Mavericks game this season. Let’s go MAVS!
And make sure to download the audio or purchase the book You’ve Been Chosen.