Dallas Mavericks

Meet the Dallas Mavs executive bringing the brand to life

Iris Diaz has been with the Mavs for six seasons

NBC Universal, Inc.

Iris Diaz is the Chief Marketing Officer for the Dallas Mavericks.

"I've actually been with the Mavs, going on six seasons," Diaz said. "I'm very excited about it."

Diaz is a first-generation Mexican-American who was raised in East Dallas. Her parents, Thelma and Sixto Diaz left their homes in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, decades ago in hopes of forming a family and a safe future in the U.S.

"My parents were came (to Dallas) when they were like 20-years-old and didn't know the language," Iris said. "They migrated over to the United States to give us a better life. And for us, it was a really great opportunity."

Iris is one of five children.

"I have three older sisters and a younger brother, who are all very, very supportive of everything that I've been doing," Iris said.

They spent their summers in Mexico, connected to their culture and language.

"My parents always said to never be ashamed. And we always spoke Spanish, not only at home but everywhere."

Iris said she was always determined to make something of herself and make her parents proud.

"I definitely always wanted to make sure that we were not a stereotype or that I was not another statistic of (a) Latina that didn't go to college," Iris said. "So, I was the only one that went to university. I went to three."

Iris attended Dallas College Eastfield Campus, UNT, and finally graduated from SMU.

"For me, family was always there to support everything that I wanted to do. I was nonstop driving from Mesquite to Fort Worth for work to Denton and back home for years," Iris said.

Iris went on to work a variety of roles in marketing before landing her dream job in sports.

"The plan was always to get into sports. I have always had a big passion for sports," Iris said.

Now, Iris leads a team of nearly 50.

"For me, educating not only the current employees but also educating the fan that this is who we are was really a really great opportunity to say, 'Okay, roll up your sleeves and let's just do it'," Iris said. "Having a great team behind me and also just in different departments to understand the reasons why it's important, really made it much easier for me to not (just) pitch a campaign, because we're not a campaign."

Iris has made it her mission to make the Mavs and the NBA more inclusive.

"We have 20,000 fans, at the arena and 30% of them are Latino. They want to hear Bad Bunny, too. So, we have to play (Vicente) Fernandez," Iris said. "When I came in (to the organization) I was like, 'Hey, why don't we do any Spanish TV or Spanish commercials?' And, my response was, no one's ever asked... I remember Los Mavs night. (It) was like a halftime show, and there was like t-shirts. But that was it."

Now, the standards have become events like Festival de Los Mavs, a party celebrating Latino Hispanic and Latino culture. This year's event was held in early March and featured folkloric dancers, lucha libre, and merch designed by local Latinos.

"We are not a halftime show anymore. We are certainly now embedded into the blood of everything that we do," Iris said.

While she continues to make moves in the NBA, Iris also hopes to inspire the next generation of Latino executives.

"It really is about the next generation of Latinos," Iris said. "We could help to really open those doors to make sure that there's more representation in sports. And that's why I sit on six boards. I'm always volunteering. I always want to make sure that I'm helping younger generations."

No matter the outcome of The Finals, Iris and her team are proud of the work they have accomplished this season and of seeing the city wear blue and silver for the home team.

"This is what we work for. That's the goal. The goal is to get to a championship," Iris said. "You see blue, you see silver, and now we're in the gold stage, which is the best thing."

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