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Volume 22 No. 35
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Alisha Valavanis, Seattle Storm and Force 10 Sports Management

Photo: NBAE / Getty Images

Alisha Valavanis

CEO and General Manager, Seattle Storm and Force 10 Sports Management

Born: Valparaiso, Ind.

Education: Chico State, B.A., communications, public relations; M.A., athletic administration

Alisha Valavanis is all about the power of team. Having been around basketball her entire life, and after helping build the 2018 WNBA champion Seattle Storm team, she knows how much can be accomplished when people work together toward a common goal.

 

“I believe in that so deeply, that we are stronger together and that you’ve got to play to your strengths and pass the ball when it’s someone else’s,” Valavanis said. 

Since joining Force 10 Sports Management in 2014, Valavanis has helped expand the entity’s portfolio, even helping start the first women’s professional 3-on-3 basketball team in the U.S. ahead of the sport’s Olympic debut in Tokyo next year.

Drawing on her basketball experience from her playing and coaching days at Chico State, as well as her understanding of the sports business from stints with the Golden State Warriors and the University of California, Berkeley, athletics department, Valavanis helped take the Storm from last in the Western Conference to WNBA champions in just five seasons.

She also has helped sign major new sponsorship deals for the team, including a 10-year jersey patch deal with Symetra Life Insurance and expanding an existing partnership with Subaru to include court naming rights, a first for the team. — John Aceti

Getting to know...

Favorite day-off activity: An evening at home and cooking for friends is the way I recharge. A day off may typically start at Pike Place Market for fresh ingredients and inspiration for dinner. Then head home for a night with friends, good wine and local eats.

Something your friends would consider “so you”: I love connections, so one of my favorite things to do is meet new people. Whether I’m in an airplane, at a restaurant or out for a walk with my dog, I like the serendipity of meeting someone and learning a little bit of their story. 

Woman in sports business you’d like to meet: Billie Jean King. She has spent a lifetime championing for social justice and equality. I would like to express my gratitude for her courage and her work.

Role of sports in social issues:Looking at sports as solely entertainment is archaic. Sports teams and athletes have incredible platforms to influence our world for the better. At the Seattle Storm we welcome and support our athletes taking on social action to make their communities and world better.