Alisha Valavanis is currently CEO and Team President of the four-time WNBA Champion Seattle Storm and Force 10 Sports Management, LLC.
Valavanis spent her first six seasons as the CEO & General Manager and was the architect behind the last two championships for the Seattle Storm, starting with a rebuild that led to a 2018 WNBA Championship and most recently, the second championship over a three-year period, with the 2020 WNBA Championship. Valavanis has used a balance of the draft and free-agency moves over the past six seasons to develop the Storm roster, ignited by back-to-back No. 1 draft picks in 2015 and 2016 to secure Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart, respectively.
Deeply anchored in a leadership style that values meaningful community partners, Valavanis led the Storm to a marquee-jersey and community partnership with Swedish Medical Center. Followed by a marquee-badge and community partnership with Symetra Life Insurance Company, marking the largest sponsorship deal in franchise history. Valavanis also expanded the long-standing Carter Subaru partnership to include court-naming rights, a first of its kind for the Seattle Storm.
Valavanis leads Force 10 Sports Management, LLC a sports management firm that is growing opportunities for women in professional sports. The 2019 launch of a 3×3 professional women’s team under the Force 10 brand, marketed the first 3×3 pro women’s team in the USA. The sports management firm also creates world-class sporting events in Seattle by providing operations, revenue generation, communications and marketing expertise. Valavanis has expanded the Force 10 Sports Management portfolio that has included the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament, USA Basketball, Seattle ProAm, Seattle Reign FC (NWSL) and the Seattle Seawolves (MLR).
A native of Valparaiso, Ind., Valavanis came to the Storm with a strong history in women’s basketball. She played four years at California State University, Chico, finishing her career as the program’s all-time leader in three-pointers. Valavanis went on to coach for the Wildcats and in her four years as an assistant coach, the program made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances including a Final Four appearance.
In 2006, she moved on to the associate head coach role at the University of the Pacific before the pivot to the business side of sports wherein Valavanis spent time with the front office of the Golden State Warriors. In her final stop prior to the Storm, she served as an associate athletics director for Cal Athletics at UC Berkeley.
Valavanis completed her B.A. in journalism in 2000, and received her masters in physical education in 2004, both from Chico.
Valavanis is a member of the Washington Roundtable, the International Women’s Forum, the Seattle Sports Commission Board of Directors and its Executive Council, and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees.
Valavanis was named in 2020 for the second year in a row to the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Power 100 List, recognizing leaders shaping the region. She was on 2019 Sports Business Journal list of Game Changers; a prestigious list of 40 executives across sports acknowledged as leaders in the industry. In the same year she received back-to-back recognitions by Adweek; as a 2019 Rising Brand Stars in Seattle and one of The 30 Most Powerful Women in Sports in 2019.
In 2017 Puget Sound Business Journal named her an Outstanding Voice recipient for her commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity, Valavanis was then selected as one of the 2018 Puget Sound Business Journal’s Women of Influence.
Previously, Valavanis received the 2016 Washington Leadership Excellence Award from the Washington Diversity Council; the same year she was honored as the 2016 Distinguished Alumni for Chico State.
Valavanis accepts dozens of speaking engagements throughout the year. She is passionate and focused on the dynamics and culture of high performing teams. As well as, committed to conversation around the intersection of business, sport and community as a space for positive social change.