DALLAS – About 40 executives from the Dallas Mavericks and Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages gathered in Dallas Monday night to meet with dozens of local minorities and businesswomen who are members of the inaugural Mavericks Business Assistance (MBA) program .
Launched earlier this season, the MBA program provides NBA franchise support to 100 minority entrepreneurs in North Texas to support their businesses and dreams.
The Mavericks and various community partners, such as Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, meet quarterly with MBA members, a program that culminates in an on-court game in front of judges later in the season.
Local entrepreneurs all have different dreams and aspirations – but they all share one goal of making an impact in their local communities.
“We take feedback from entrepreneurs very seriously and actively seek their input on how to improve the program and how we can better help them achieve their goals,” said Teddy Graves, founder of Mavs Business Assist. The volunteers who gave up their evenings to be part of the program (Monday night) also impressed the entrepreneurs and sent a message that we are all invested in their success.”
The Mavs Business Assist program aims to provide networking resources and fair support to diverse local entrepreneurs through professional development workshops and other events.
Minority- and women-owned businesses are often systematically excluded from economic benefits and resources, which stifles their ability to start businesses, access capital, and grow their companies.
Texas continues to rank among the top 10 nationally for women-led startups, but there are still large equity gaps, especially for women from black and brown communities.
The Mavs Business Assist program is designed to foster relationships and amplify the stories of underserved and underresourced populations.
The storytelling program is an important part of the Mavs Business Assist program because many entrepreneurs have great ideas, but they need an outlet to share their vision and background with a wider audience.
The Mavericks continue to “pass the mic” and allow business owners to share their stories and vision through various digital platforms such as Mavs.com, social media channels and Dallas Mavericks games.
Networking with major companies and businesses like Coca-Cola Southwest is another important part of Mavs Business Assist.
The MBA program is also supported by Dallas Mavericks legend, team ambassador and businessman Rolando Blackman, who attends every event.
Graves said the Mavericks have an all-hands support system that will only grow in the years to come.
“The Mavs Business Assist program has not only made me proud, but the entire Mavs! team,” he shared.
“When we first started thinking about this program, we asked ourselves, ‘How can we consciously engage minority entrepreneurs in the DFW area?’ We knew that the key elements that would set this program apart were: a A globally recognized platform, a great city, and most importantly, outstanding minority entrepreneurs throughout DFW.”
The program is the personal mission of Teddy Graves, manager of corporate social responsibility for the Dallas Mavericks. His late grandfather was Earl G. Graves Sr., who founded the magazine and media empire, black business.
Mr. Graves has been called a leading pioneer, icon and champion of black-owned businesses and a supporter of equal opportunity. He received a National Award of Excellence for his business achievements.
Now, his grandson is planting similar seeds in the worlds of sports and business.
“I’m certainly very optimistic about the outcome of this pioneering program,” Graves said. “Personally, one of my highlights was that I had a moment of my own in class 1. 3 began. Way to work. I started this project to honor the legacy of my grandfather, whose birthday is January 9th, the day of our meeting. It’s amazing to look around and see the engaged and happy faces of all our wonderful entrepreneurs Makes me think he’d be proud of the way this project went.”
“Thank you for being an inspiration to the next generation of entrepreneurs”
More than 20 executives from Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages volunteered at Monday’s Mavs Business Assist event and met one-on-one with various attendees, answering questions and sharing more about their backgrounds. These include senior directors, vice presidents and general managers.
Coca-Cola Southwest Beverage Company, part of Arca Continental, is one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, they serve beverages to 31 million people in Texas, parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas.
Derek Alexander, Vice President of Marketing and Commercial Operations, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, was the keynote speaker. He told MBA members that he read their resumes and thought they had extraordinary entrepreneurial stories.
“Words like communicator, leader, courage, strength, passion and inspiration describe those of you who are on this journey,” Alexander said.
“I want to thank you for everything you do in the community,” he added. “I want to thank you for inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs, and I especially want to thank you on behalf of the entire Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages family for allowing us to be a small part of your journey tonight. I hope we become good friends and a community as we move forward together .”
After Alexander’s presentation, MBA participants took turns sitting at different tables and interviewing executives who could provide professional insights on employee engagement. Mavericks and Coca-Cola Southwest provided 11 worksheets covering nine different topics, including overall strategic leadership, marketing, sales, supply chain, profit growth management, finance, information technology, human resources, and legal.
“Before the event, we had our entrepreneurs fill out a form where they ranked their preferences for these topics,” Graves said.
“After analyzing the data and making assignments, each entrepreneur was assigned to three different table rotations, allowing them to engage in discussions and learn from different experts in the field,” he added.
“Overall, the table rotation was successful. Each table sat a small group of participants, which made the meeting both intimate and grand at the same time. This allowed for more focused and engaging conversations.”
Various Dallas Mavericks executives and staffers also joined the table discussion, answering questions and sharing more about their careers. The idea is to develop more personal business relationships with MBA entrepreneurs to ensure they feel supported beyond the corporate environment.
A critical connection can open the door to the future.
“Hopefully this shows how excited we are to be here with all the entrepreneurs,” Alexander said. “Thank you again for letting us be a small part of your journey.”
The Mavericks plan to hold more workshops throughout the season before the culmination of the Mavericks Commercial Assistant Field game.
In memory of the late visionary Dr. Martin Luther King. and Black History Month, the Dallas Mavericks will continue to amplify the stories and dreams of various entrepreneurs throughout the year through the Mavericks Business Assistance Program. To learn more about the program, click here.
Reporter: Tamara Jolee, Dallas Mavericks
Photojournalist: Brandon Colston, Dallas Mavericks
Representatives from the Dallas Mavericks and Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages
Table 1: Overall Strategic Leadership
- Commercial Vice President: Santiago Herrera
- Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer: Ronnie Fauss
Table 2: Overall Strategic Leadership
- GM, North Texas and Oklahoma Operations: Danny Trimmer
- Director of North Texas Operations: Doug Smith
Table 3: Marketing
- Vice President of Marketing and Commercial Operations: Derek Alexander
- Brand Directors: Fernando Martinez, Shelby Reeves
- Chief Marketing Officer: Iris Diaz
Table 4: Marketing
- Channel Commercial Director: Oystein Enger
- Brand and Multicultural Marketing Director: Andrea Suarez
- Vice President of Marketing: Derek Diaz de Leon
Table 5: Sales
- Vice President of Sales: Bob Sweeney
- Vice President of Ticket Sales: Scott Trible
- Director of Season Ticket Sales: Kyle Gillespy
Table 6: Supply Chain/Distribution Logistics
- Vice President of Supply Chain: Reyes Garcia
Table 7: Profit Growth Management
- PGM Director: Josh Stirneman
Table 8: Finance
- Chief Financial Officer: Ron Smith, Amyn Dhamani
- Chief Financial Officer: Will Gough
Table 9: Information Technology
- Chief Information Officer: Simon Parkinson
- Information Technology: Abe Trinidad
Table 10: Human Resources
- Vice President of Human Resources: Silvia Martins
- DEI Director: Michelle Burgess
Table 11: Legal
- Chief Legal Counsel: Josh McCoin
- Organizing Unit Prosecutor: Shelia Ogletree