Seattle Storm Announces ‘Inspiring Women Night presented by CenturyLink’ Honorees


Three Pacific Northwest women to receive annual honor for impact and inspiration

SEATTLE – The Seattle Storm today announced that three local women will be honored on July 15 during Inspiring Women Night presented by CenturyLink. Natalie McCarthy, Mary Pugh and Tricia Raikes will all receive the honor from the Storm, the 13th season the franchise has recognized Pacific Northwest women impacting the community for the better. Martha Bejar will be honored as the CenturyLink Inspiring Woman in-game on July 15.

“Inspiring Women Night presented by CenturyLink is truly a special night on the schedule,” said Storm President & GM Alisha Valavanis. “This night is about celebrating remarkable women that give back and are making a positive impact in the Seattle community. Our ownership group, our front office and our team look forward to honoring all the Inspiring Women of this night.”

“The Seattle Storm has a successful track record of positive community influence and career development. CenturyLink is proud to partner with them in recognizing these inspiring women.” said Sue Anderson, Vice President of Operations for CenturyLink. “The special evening and awards align perfectly with many of CenturyLink’s unifying principles including integrity, respect and positive attitude. To honor women that make a difference in our community is important to all of us at CenturyLink.”

Bejar, a female executive and board member at CenturyLink, will be honored as CenturyLink’s Inspiring Woman. Through her support of Rainier Scholars and the national East West Institute, Bejar represents an element of diversity that CenturyLink values within their company and the global communities it serves.

Bejar, fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, is the recipient of numerous industry awards; she was named as one of the top fifty Hispanic women in the United States by Hispanic Inc. Business Magazine, the 2008 Woman of the Year from Hispanic Business Media, and the Visionary Award from LISTA (Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association).

Bejar graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Miami, holds an MBA from Nova Southeastern University and received an Advanced Management Program degree from Harvard University Business School.

Natalie McCarthy, a Tacoma native, faced adversity at a young age, losing her sight at age 10 due to a brain tumor. An accomplished athlete, McCarthy competed with the women’s varsity crew at Pacific Lutheran University and graduated with a degree in Biology. While competing with PLU crew, McCarthy was invited to train with the United States Para-rowing national team. After years of success in domestic competitions, including The Head of the Charles and The Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, McCarthy was named to the 2013 para-rowing national team where she won a bronze medal at the 2013 World Rowing Championship in Chungju, South Korea. McCarthy was also part of the national team for the 2015 World Championship Lac d’Aiguebelette France.

McCarthy plans to attend law school in the fall of 2017 where she will continue her work advocating for individuals with disabilities and others facing systemic barriers. She currently works as a case manager at the Dispute Resolution Center of King County which is a non profit organization providing affordable mediation and other conflict resolution services to residents of King county. McCarthy serves as the athlete Representative for the Para-Rowing High Performance Committee and as a Para-Sports Representative for the Athlete Advisory Committee for the United States Olympic Committee.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Seattle Storm because I appreciate any opportunity to connect the para-sport community with the elite, able bodied athletic community,” said McCarthy. “These relationships will build more positive and inclusive sports at all levels.”

Mary Pugh is CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Pugh Capital, a company she co-founded in 1991. Pugh’s vision in founding Pugh Capital was to create a diverse Seattle based asset management firm that clients view as a trusted partner. Pugh Capital specializes in managing fixed income portfolios for institutional clients and manages $4.7 billion on behalf of its clients.

A graduate of Yale University, Pugh has a long history of community service. Her areas of focus include serving on a number of investment committees and to improve the success of students of color by sharing her passion and knowledge of investments. In addition, she is President of the Greater Seattle Chapter of the Links and a board member of the Seattle Central College Foundation.

“I am excited to be one of the Inspiring Women honorees and particularly appreciate receiving the award at a Seattle Storm game,” said Pugh. “This event combines my love of basketball, with recognition of the contributions that women make to our communities. I appreciate all of the opportunities that I have been given to make a difference and all of the people who supported me along the way. Best wishes to the Seattle Storm for a championship season!”

Tricia Raikes is the co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, which works toward a just and inclusive society where all young people have the support they need to reach their full potential. She has been recognized as a White House Champion of Change, Woman of Influence by the Puget Sound Business Journal, and a Humanitarian Super Hero by ParentMap. Raikes’ professional background includes leadership of Creative Services at Microsoft Corporation and her co-founding role in Marketing Partners. She serves on the board of the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management at the University of Nebraska. Raikes is an advisory board member of the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and on the Cabinet for the Senior Vice Provost of Education. Together, she and her husband Jeff co-chaired the United Way of King County’s 2006-07 Campaign. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Washington State University.

“It’s inspiring to be in the company of so many extraordinary women using their voices, talents and convictions to lead meaningful change for our community,” said Raikes. “At the Raikes Foundation, it’s been our experience that positive and lasting change only comes through collaboration—breaking down silos and bringing the community together to tackle our biggest challenges, whether it’s youth homelessness or inequity in our education system. Bringing people together is what the Storm does best, and I’m grateful to be counted among these thoughtful and dedicated women who are doing such incredible work in our region and beyond.”

As previously announced by the WNBA, Seattle has been selected to host Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017. The game is set for 12:30 p.m. on July 22, 2017 at KeyArena.

Fans can secure the best seats in the house with Storm 360 Memberships, available now, starting at $180, available online or by calling (206) 217-WNBA (9622). Packages and group discounts are available at 206-217-WNBA (9622).