Black women often must be mavericks to find success as business leaders and entrepreneurs and St. Louisan Khalia Collier is a shining example.
Her business acumen has led her to the front office of a National Basketball Association franchise.
Collier has been named vice president and chief of staff of basketball operations for the Dallas Mavericks and will begin her duties as the NBA season tips off in October.
Collier had become a fixture in St. Louis professional sports over the past decade as the owner and general manager of the St. Louis Surge of the Global Women’s Basketball Association. She most recently served as the vice president of community relations of the St. Louis CITY SC of Major League Soccer.
“I only ever dreamed of actually working for an NBA team,” Collier said.
“To be a part of the Dallas Mavericks family is a unique opportunity for me to build on the skills I’ve gained and learned as the owner and general manager of the St. Louis Surge and in my role with St. Louis CITY SC.”
As she leaves St. Louis for the first time, Collier said that the Surge will continue to a strong organization under the leadership of head coach Petra Jackson and assistant coach Justin Tatum.
“Over the past couple of months, the St. Louis Surge has been preparing for the 2023 summer season and beyond and continues to be well positioned for success,” she said.
“Led by Petra Jackson and Justin Tatum, along with a great front office leadership team, the Surge will continue to expand and enhance the player and fan experience.”
Collier joins a Mavericks organization that not only fields one of the best teams in the NBA but has also been progressive in hiring African Americans in key positions.
Collier will be working with Mavs’ General Manager Nico Harrison. Michael Finley, who spent much of his standout 17-year playing career with the Mavericks, is vice president of basketball operations.
In 2018, Cynt Marshall was hired as the team’s CEO, becoming the first Black woman CEO in the history of the NBA.
The Mavs’ head coach is Hall of Famer Jason Kidd and former Maryland and WNBA standout Kristi Tolliver is a member of his staff.
Collier joins a growing list of Black women who have been hired by NBA franchises, either as assistant coaches or in the front office.
In addition to Marshall’s historic new role as the CEO of the Mavericks, Morgan Cato was hired as a vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager of the Phoenix Suns.
Shelly Cayette was recently promoted to executive vice president and chief communications officer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, making her the NBA’s first Black woman to serve in that role.
Former Harvard and WNBA standout Allison Feaster is the vice president/player development for the Boston Celtics.
On the floor, there were five women of color serving as assistant coaches at the beginning of the 2021-22 season.
They were Teresa Weatherspoon of the New Orleans Pelicans, Lindsey Harding of the Sacramento Kings, Edniesha Curry of the Portland Trailblazers and Tolliver of the Mavericks.
Sonia Raman became the first Indian American woman to be an assistant coach when the Memphis Grizzlies hired her. St. Louisan Niele Ivey also spent a season as an assistant with the Grizzlies in 2020 before returning to her collegiate alma mater Notre Dame to become its head coach.