Alisha Valavanis is currently CEO & Team President of the four-time WNBA Champions, the Seattle Storm and co-owner of Force 10 Sports Management, LLC.
Valavanis spent her first six seasons as the CEO & General Manager, leading the Storm through a rebuild that culminated with a 2018 WNBA Championship and most recently, the second championship over a five-year period, with the 2020 WNBA Championship. Valavanis used a balance of the draft and free-agency moves over those first 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 team and 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 and the Force 10 ownership group have long been committed to using the platform of professional sports to drive social. In 2020, to bring more focus and impact to social change efforts, in collaboration with the Storm players and staff, the Storm launched a comprehensive social justice platform, Force4Change.
Force4Change focuses on four key areas of impact: voting, education and legislation, amplification of Black women, support of BIPOC youth and BIPOC communities, and support of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2022, the Seattle Storm was a finalist for ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Team Award.
Valavanis also leads Force 10 Sports Management, LLC a sports management firm that is growing opportunities for women in professional sports. In 2019 the agency launched a 3×3 professional women’s marketing the first 3×3 pro women’s team in the USA. The agency engaged four additional WNBA teams to collectively grow the sponsored 3x teams to six, with 33 women playing under the Force 10 brand, by the summer of 2022.
The sports management agency 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 Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships, USA Basketball, Seattle ProAm, OL Reign (formerly Seattle Reign FC) 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 the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees.
Valavanis was named in 2021 for the third 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 2018 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.