Mavs and Coca-Cola Southwest are collaborating on the Mavs Business Assist program to support minority entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs

DALLAS – About 40 Dallas Mavericks and Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages executives gathered Monday night in Dallas to meet with dozens of local minority and women entrepreneurs who are members of the inaugural Mavs Business Assist (MBA) program.

Launched at the start of the season, the MBA program gives 100 minority entrepreneurs across North Texas the backing of an NBA franchise to support their businesses and dreams.

The Mavs and various community partners, such as Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, meet with MBA members quarterly, and the program will culminate in a pitch competition before a panel of judges later this season.

All local entrepreneurs have different dreams and aspirations — but share a common goal to impact their local communities.

“We take feedback from our entrepreneurs very seriously, actively seeking 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 large number of volunteers who gave up their evening to be part of the program (Monday night) also made a strong impression on the entrepreneurs, conveying the message that we are all invested in their success.”

The Mavs Business Assist program is designed to provide networking resources and peer support to diverse local entrepreneurs through professional development workshops and other activities.

Minority- and women-owned businesses are often systematically excluded from economic benefits and resources, stifling their ability to entrepreneurship, raise capital, and grow their companies.

Texas continues to rank in the top 10 in the country for women-led startups, but there is still a large equity gap, especially for women from black and brown communities.

The Mavs Business Assist program aims to foster relationships and expand the stories of those in underserved and under-resourced demographics.

The storytelling initiative is a huge component of the Mavs Business Assist program because many entrepreneurs have great ideas but need an outlet to share their visions and background with a larger audience.

The Mavs continue to “hand the mic” and allow business owners to share their stories and visions through a variety of digital platforms, such as, social media channels and Dallas Mavericks games.

Networking with large corporations and companies like Coca-Cola Southwest is another key component of Mavs Business Assist.

The MBA program also has the support of Dallas Mavericks legend, team ambassador and businessman, Roland Blackman, who attends every event.

Graves says the Mavs have a comprehensive support system that will only grow in the coming years.

“The Mavs Business Assist program was certainly a source of pride not only for me, but also for the entire Mavs Take ACTION! team,” he shared.

“When we first started thinking about this program, we asked ourselves, ‘how can we intentionally engage minority entrepreneurs in the DFW area?’ We knew there were key ingredients that made this program special: a globally respected platform, a great city, and most importantly, outstanding minority entrepreneurs throughout DFW.”

The program is a personal mission for Teddy Graves, who serves as the Dallas Mavs’ manager of corporate social responsibility. His late grandfather is Earl G. Graves Sr., who founded the magazine and media empire, Black Enterprise.

Graves Sr. is known as a leading pioneer, icon and advocate for black-owned businesses and an advocate for equal opportunity. He received the National Award for Excellence for his business achievements.

Now his grandson is sowing similar seeds in the world of sports and business.

“I’m certainly very optimistic about what can come out of this inaugural program,” Graves said. “Personally, one of my highlights was when I had a moment to myself after session no. 3 started. God works in mysterious ways. I started this program in memory of my grandfather’s legacy, and his birthday is January 9, the day of our session. Looking around and seeing the faces of all our wonderful entrepreneurs engaged and happy gave me the feeling that he would be proud of how this program is going.”


Over 20 top executives from Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages volunteered at the Mavs Business Assist event on Monday and spent one-on-one time with various attendees, answering questions and sharing more about their backgrounds. Among them were senior directors, vice presidents and general managers.

Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, an Arca Continental company, is one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, they serve 31 million people in Texas, parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas.

Derek Alexander, vice president of marketing and commercial operations at Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, was the keynote speaker. He told the MBA members that he had read their biographies and felt they had remarkable stories as entrepreneurs.

“Words like communicator, leader, courage, strength, passion and inspiration describe you as you embark on this journey,” said Alexander.

“I wanted to thank you for what you do in the community,” he added. “I want to thank you for being an inspiration to the next generation of entrepreneurs, and I especially want to thank you on behalf of the entire Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages family and for allowing us to be just a small part of your journey here tonight. I hope we become great friends and our own community moving forward.”

After Alexander’s presentation, MBA attendees rotated through different tables and visited with executives who could provide expert insight into employee engagement. The Mavs and Coca-Cola Southwest provided 11 panels covering nine different topics, including general strategic leadership, marketing, sales, supply chain, profit growth management, finance, information technology, human resources and legal.

“Prior to the event, our entrepreneurs filled out a form ranking their preferences among these topics,” Graves said.

“After analyzing the data and creating the tasks, each entrepreneur was assigned to three different table rotations, which allowed them to participate in discussions and learn from different experts in the field,” he added.

“Overall, the table rotations were successful. There was a small group of participants at each table, which helped make the sessions feel intimate as well as grand at the same time. This allowed for more targeted and interesting conversations.”

Various Dallas Mavericks executives and staff members also joined the table discussions to answer questions and share more about their professional careers. The idea was to develop more personal business relationships with MBA entrepreneurs to make sure they felt supported outside of the corporate environment.

One key connection can be an open door to the future.

“Hopefully this shows how excited we are to be here with all the entrepreneurs,” Alexander said. “Again, thanks for letting us be a small part of your journey.”

The Mavs have several more workshops planned throughout the season before the culmination of the Mavs Business Assist pitch competition.

In honor of the late visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month, the Dallas Mavericks will continue to spread the stories and dreams of various entrepreneurs throughout the year in the Mavs Business Assist program. For more information about the program, click here.

Reporter: Tamara Jolee, Dallas Mavs
Photojournalist: Brandon Colston, Dallas Mavs


Table 1: General strategic leadership

  • Vice President, Commercial: Santiago Herrera
  • Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer: Ronnie Fauss

Table 2: General strategic leadership

  • GM, North Texas and Oklahoma Operations: Danny Trimmer
  • Director, North Texas Operations: Doug Smith

Table 3: Marketing

  • Vice President, Marketing and Commercial: Derek Alexander
  • Brand Director(s): 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, Marketing: Derek Diaz de Leon

Table 5: Sales

  • Vice President of Sales: Bob Sweeney
  • Vice President, Ticket Sales: Scott Trible
  • Director, Season Ticket Sales: Kyle Gillespy

Table 6: Supply chain/distribution logistics

  • Vice President, Supply Chain: Reyes Garcia

Table 7: Profit growth management

  • PGM Director: Josh Stirneman

Table 8: Finances

  • CFO(s): Ron Smith, Amyn Dhamani
  • Controller, Finance: Will Gough

Table 9: Information technology

  • CIO: Simon Parkinson
  • Information Technology: Abe Trinidad

Table 10: Human resources

  • Vice President, HR: Silvia Martins
  • DEI Director: Michelle Burgess

Table 11: Legal

  • General Counsel: Josh McCoin
  • Organizational Unit Attorney: Shelia Ogletree

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