Storm honors local Black leaders on Believe in Women Night presented by Symetra

Tradition dating back to 2006 hosts local leaders and celebrates their work towards equality

SEATTLE — The Seattle Storm announced today this year’s honorees for the Believe in Women Night presented by Symetra. Selected by a committee that consisted of Storm players, owners, and front office executives, the honorees are Kakela (Kela) D. Hall, Ijeoma Oluo and Joycelyn Thomas—who is also the recipient of the annual Ginger Ackerley Community Service Award. The event is part of Force4Change, the franchise’s social justice platform.

The three women will be celebrated during a halftime ceremony on July 24 as the team hosts the Atlanta Dream at Climate Pledge Arena at 3 p.m. PT. Dawn Trudeau, Seattle Storm co-owner, Alisha Valavanis, Storm President and CEO, Crystal Langhorne, Storm Director of Community Engagement, and Trinity Parker, Symetra SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, are slated to welcome the honorees during the presentation with gifts.

“Believe in Women is a fan-favorite and encompasses principles of empowerment and activism that the Storm family holds dear,” said Crystal Langhorne, Storm and Force4Change Director of Community Engagement. “We’re so excited to honor and amplify the work of these incredible women who have contributed so much to the fight for a more equitable society.”

The Storm tradition of honoring businesswomen and civic leaders from the Seattle area dates back to 2006, when “Inspiring Women Night” was created. In 2020, the program name was changed to “Believe in Women”, to reflect the ever-changing roles and opportunities that female leaders hold and create in the community.

Besides honoring upstanding women, The Ginger Ackerley Community Service Award is given to an individual who has made an impact on improving the quality of life in the local area. Ginger Ackerley, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 79, founded and chaired the Storm and was a co-owner of the Seattle SuperSonics for 18 years.

“Symetra proudly joins the Storm in honoring three extraordinary Black women leaders. KD Hall, Ijeoma Oluo and Joycelyn Thomas inspire all of us. Their professional accomplishments speak for themselves, as does their civic leadership, their focus on building community and their commitment to equity, inclusion and social justice. They are all powerful examples of women leading forward and creating positive, high-impact change,” said Trinity Parker, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer at Symetra.

Joycelyn Thomas, ARNP holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, Master of Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Washington. Currently, she works as a Family Nurse Practitioner at a Family Practice Clinic for Virginia Mason Franciscan Health where she is the former Medical Director. During the pandemic, her volunteer work focused on COVID-19 education and vaccination distribution within the African American community. Through her leadership, she worked collaboratively with local governmental, large health care organizations, churches, and grass roots community organizations to educate BIPOC communities about COVID-19, benefits of vaccinations, and administer thousands of vaccines.

KD Hall is the CEO of KD Hall Communications and KD Hall Foundation. With 16 years of driving projects in strategic communications, education, and Seattle area non-profits, Hall is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington, a member of the board of governors at NATAS Northwest Emmys, and a board member at Business Impact Northwest. Her work at the KD Hall Foundation has created a positive impact in Seattle through community programs like the College Ambassador Program, Girls on the Rise, and Women on the Rise, each providing mentorship to young girls and women looking to thrive as professionals.

Ijeoma Oluo describes herself as a writer, speaker and internet yeller. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller “So You Want to Talk About Race” and most recently, “Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America.” Her work on race has been featured in The Guardian, The New York Times and The Washington Post, among many other publications. She was named to the 2021 TIME 100 Next list and has twice been named to the Root 100, as well as received the 2018 Feminist Humanist Award and the 2020 Harvard Humanist of the Year Award from the American Humanist Association.

Check out the full list of past Believe in Women Honorees.

Tickets for the Believe in Women Night on July 24 versus the Atlanta Dream and the other two remaining Storm home games are still available. For more information visit or call 206-217-WNBA (9622).