Marva Smalls Becomes First Black Woman Named To Heisman Board
Marva Smalls

Marva Smalls, Global Head of Inclusion and Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Kids & Family Entertainment at ViacomCBS, has been named to the board of trustees for the Heisman Trophy Trust. She is the first Black woman appointed to the position. 

Dan Reed, Vice President of Global Media at Meta, was newly appointed to the board as well. 

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to “the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.” The trust also bestows the Heisman High School Scholarship, and the Heisman Humanitarian Award. 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 20: Marva Smalls, Marva Smalls, EVP, Global Head of Inclusion Strategy, Viacom attends META Convened by BET at Milk Studios on June 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)

“Marva Smalls and Dan Reed are distinguished professionals recognized for their leadership and achievements,” Heisman Trust President Michael Comerford said about the appointments. “Smalls and Reed bring decades of experience in media, sports, and diversity & inclusion to further elevate the Heisman Trophy Trust’s mission of utilizing sports to enhance the lives of underserved youth in our country.”  

Smalls has been a respected leader in the public and private spheres for over 30 years. She has donated time and resources to fighting childhood obesity, and improving children’s access to sports and recreational programs.  She and Reed and the rest of the board will be working on initiatives to further the trust’s “charitable mission of utilizing sports and educational opportunities to enhance the lives of underserved youth in diverse communities across the country.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 11: (L-R) Marva Smalls and Gabrielle Union attend the 2013 Debra Lee Pre BET Honors Cocktails & Dinner at The Library of Congress on January 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

“I look forward to working with Mike Comerford and the Heisman Trophy Trust board of trustees to help amplify the values of the Trophy and deliver on the ideals that Heisman represents. Creating initiatives to address the disparities that exist in under-resourced communities and that prevent many youth from access to and full participation in sports is a game changer. I am excited to be a part of driving that change,” said Smalls in a statement to ESSENCE. 

“Promoting the values of diversity and inclusion is not simply an action – but an imperative – and representation is key. It is my hope that by being on this board, I can inspire other Black women to continue to elevate their voices in both traditional and non-traditional spaces and create opportunities for others.”

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