Seattle Storm Announces Inspiring Women Presented By Symetra

The Storm’s all-women ownership group to honor four local leaders on July 19 vs. Las Vegas 

SEATTLE – The Seattle Storm today announced the four women who will be honored on July 19 during the Storm’s Inspiring Women Night presented by Symetra. Chris Charbonneau, LaNesha DeBardelaben and Amy Nelson will all receive the honor with Amy Pak to be recognized as the recipient of the Ginger Ackerley Community Service Award.

Started in 2006, Inspiring Women is an annual tradition that allows players and fans to recognize and thank the women who have contributed to the strengthening of the community. Much akin to the Storm’s all-women ownership group and Symetra’s executive leadership team, the Inspiring Women honorees are Seattle-area businesswomen and civic leaders driven by their shared philosophy that women and girls should have the chance to compete at every level.

“Symetra is proud to join the Seattle Storm in celebrating the accomplishments of this remarkable quartet of female leaders. As a company deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, we applaud the vision, courage and tenacity these extraordinary women contribute to our Pacific Northwest community every day,” said Trinity Parker, SVP, Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs at Symetra.

The Ginger Ackerley Community Service Award is given to an individual who has made an impact on improving the quality of life in the Puget Sound. Ackerley, who passed away last year at the age of 79, founded and chaired the Storm and was a co-owner of the Seattle SuperSonics for 18 years.

This year’s Ginger Ackerley recipient is Pak, a Korean American immigrant, transracial adoptee and a mother of two elementary-aged boys. Pak has 20 years creating high-impact change in Seattle as a coalition builder in community mental health, youth and family, and non-profit sectors. She shapes meaningful community engagement with remarkable social change program design and innovative problem solving. Pak serves as a Partner with Social Venture Partners and is the founding Executive Director of Families Of Color Seattle (FOCS). Seattle Human Services Coalition awarded FOCS The 2016 Ron Chisom Anti-Racism Award. Pak has designed signature equity programs at UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, Asian Counseling & Referral Service and numerous non-profits. She consults and trains with local schools and organizations on anti- racist education and family engagement. Pak received a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington, and her work has been featured at Facing Race 2018, Red Tricycle’s “Seattle’s 13 Power Moms”, ParentMap’s, “Someone You Should Know,” and KUOW. Female Founder’s Alliance 2019 Champion Awards recognized Pak as an “Unsung Hero,” and Seattle University’s MBA program honored her with the Red Winged Leadership award.

“It is with tremendous gratitude to receive the honor to stand in sisterhood with such innovative change-makers and healers. The Ginger Ackerley Service award not only brings to light the soulful humanity of our city, it also gives all of us non-conforming women and non-binary femme people, the courage to fly with purpose and joy,” said Pak. “This determination and unbridled power, that is perfectly emboldened by our Seattle Storm, is in great harmony with grace and community. Nurturing our children and families is at the heart of healing and our service to each other. Thank you Seattle Storm and the leadership for being a beacon and a gorgeous gem for us all to embrace.”

Also honored is Charbonneau, who serves as the CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI) and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK). She has been with Planned Parenthood for nearly four decades and is the longest serving CEO in the nationwide federation. Together, these organizations operate 45 health centers in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, and Western Washington, providing medical services and sex education to more than 180,000 people each year. In her tenure, Charbonneau has changed laws and health policy in a number of states, proved that it is sex discrimination for employers to fail to cover contraceptives if they cover other pharmaceuticals in employee health plans, co-founded Planned Parenthood Online (PPOL) and is the Board Chair of Afaxys, an organization she helped to found to secure supplies of affordable contraceptives for Planned Parenthood affiliates, health departments and health organizations serving low-income people. In 2017, the Storm partnered with Charbonneau and PPGNHI to host a pregame rally and online auction in addition to donating $5 per ticket sold.

DeBardelaben, the Executive Director of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in Seattle, assumed her current post in 2017. A Michigan native with over 15 years of museum experience, she has forged impactful partnerships with community stakeholders while increasing NAAM’s national recognition. With exhibitions such as Warren Pope’s Blood Lines Time Lines Red Lines – showing now through Sept. 8, 2019 – NAAM has experienced nearly a 40% increase in attendance since DeBardelaben’s arrival in the Pacific Northwest. In 2019, NAAM was one of only 15 museums in the country as a finalist for the nation’s highest and most prestigious award – the 2019 National Medal for Museum Service Award.  Additionally, NAAM won the 2019 Exhibition of the Year Award from the Association of King County Historical Organizations for its Bold as Love: Jimi Hendrix at Home exhibition. As a public historian, LaNesha has contributed scholarly writings to national publications and is the national Vice President of the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) Board of Directors.

Nelson is founder and CEO of The Riveter, a national membership network of community, content, resources and coworking spaces, built by women for everyone. Since launching The Riveter in May 2017 in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Nelson has raised over $20 million in venture capital and continues to expand to cities such as Portland, Ore., opening on July 22. The Riveter offers professional and personal development programming, world-class events, flexible membership, and collaborative workspaces focused on elevating the conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion in work and business. In addition to regularly hosting high-profile speakers, including Maria Shriver, Jane Fonda and Backstage Capital Founder Arlan Hamilton, The Riveter offers resources such as one-on-one office hours with venture capitalists, financial experts, attorneys and more to help women and allies fuel business growth.

Raise the trophy with the Storm with a Storm 360 Membership, package or group experience available online or by calling (206) 217-WNBA (9622). Single-game tickets are available at StormBasketball.com.

ABOUT SYMETRA

Symetra Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Symetra Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions, and independent agents and advisors.

The Seattle Storm and Symetra announced a 10-year partnership in April 2019. In addition to branding on the WNBA team’s jersey and ‘Official Life Insurer of the Seattle Storm’ designation, Symetra will be the presenting sponsor of the Storm’s ‘Inspiring Women Night’ for the next decade. The two organizations will also unveil a joint community partnership and future philanthropic endeavors later this season.

ABOUT THE SEATTLE STORM

The Seattle Storm is a three-time WNBA championship team committed to bringing a premium professional basketball and entertainment experience to a fan base rich in tradition and support. The organization places high value on community and building platforms to positively impact the overall entertainment, attraction and economy of the Puget Sound region. In addition, the Storm is dedicated to local youth development in the areas of fitness and wellness; with a special emphasis on inspiring leadership, motivation and the empowerment of girls and women. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit StormBasketball.com.