SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Karen Bryant

Bryant’s daughter Lindsay, 3 1/2, inspires her mom to find the right work-life balance.
Karen Bryant
Seattle Storm
President and CEO

As president and CEO of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Karen Bryant is one of the league’s most dynamic executives. She has led the Storm to two WNBA titles and was instrumental in the team in 2010 securing its marquee jersey sponsorship deal with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Under Bryant’s leadership, the team has signed a slew of additional new deals that have boosted the Storm’s sponsorship revenue by 200 percent in the last year. The team had a 90 percent season-ticket renewal rate leading into the 2011 season, as well.

Bryant also had a hand earlier this year in the league hiring its new president, Laurel Richie. Bryant met Richie at a local function and immediately referred her to league executives. A few months later, Richie was hired by NBA Commissioner David Stern to lead the WNBA. It’s those efforts and instincts that have helped Bryant become regarded as one of the league’s top managers.

— John Lombardo
  • Crowning professional achievement: Tie: Being part of launching women’s professional basketball in Seattle (Seattle Reign of American Basketball League in 1996); two-time WNBA champion (2004 and 2010).
  • Biggest professional disappointment: Pacific Northwest losing the NBA SuperSonics.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: Eagerness to learn and grow.
  • Ten years from now, I hope to be …: The mother of a 13-year-old daughter who still likes me.


“Karen comes at [her job] with her own love of the sport, and she brings her own personal as well as professional passion to her work, and that is very evident to everyone who has worked with her over the years.”

  • Darlene Corkrum, senior vice president, chief marketing officer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, a team partner
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