Storm Unveils Honorees For The 2023 Believe In Women Night Presented by Symetra

Local leaders will be celebrated for their professional success and community engagement

SEATTLE — The Seattle Storm is thrilled to announce the 2023 honorees for its annual Believe in Women Night presented by Symetra, a Force4Change initiative. The four leaders selected by Storm players and executives are ChefKristi Brown, Dr. Nwando Anyaoku, Veronica Very Davis and Tyra Mariani—who is also the recipient of the Ginger Ackerley Community Service Award.

The Ginger Ackerley Community Service Award, a key component of Believe in Women, acknowledges an individual who has made an impact on improving quality of life in the Puget Sound area. The award is named after Ginger Ackerley, who founded and chaired the Storm and was a co-owner of the Seattle SuperSonics for 18 years.

“Believe in Women is always a special theme night for the Seattle Storm. A night that gives us the chance to highlight important work done by Black women in our city, celebrating each honoree’s positive impact in our community,” said Crystal Langhorne, Director of Force4Change. “I’m proud of the continued Force4Change efforts to celebrate such incredible leaders in our region.”

The four women will be celebrated during a halftime ceremony on July 22 during which time the Storm hosts the Chicago Sky inside Climate Pledge Arena at 6 p.m. PT. Dawn Trudeau, Seattle Storm co-owner, Crystal Langhorne, and Trinity Parker, Symetra SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, will welcome the honorees during the presentation with gifts.

“Congratulations to Dr. Nwando Anyaoku, Kristi Brown, Veronica Very Davis, and Tyra Mariani on this well-deserved honor. Trailblazers in their respective fields, these four inspiring honorees embody professional accomplishment, civic leadership, and service to community. Together, they are powerful examples of why we support, celebrate and ‘Believe in Women’ at Symetra,” said Trinity Parker, senior vice president, Chief Marketing Officer.

Get to know the honorees:

Ginger Ackerley Community Service Award recipient Tyra Mariani is the former president of the Schultz Family Foundation, where she partnered with Howard Schultz—former Starbucks chair and CEO—and his wife Sheri to accelerate the family’s work toward greater opportunity, accessible to all. Previously, Tyra served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Secretary of Education and Chief of Staff for the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education during the Obama administration, among other prominent roles in the public and private sectors, including work with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Kraft Foods Corporate, and McKinsey & Company. She is a board member of Fidelity Charitable and JFF and a trustee of Howard University.

Chef Kristi Brown is a chef and entrepreneur. Her catering and hummus ventures, That Brown Girl Cooks! propelled her business as a food, culture, and community organization where she explores her inspirations and gives them back to the communities she serves. In 2020, Chef Kristi opened COMMUNION Restaurant & Bar, which has been acclaimed by renowned food and travel publications, such as CONDE NASTE’s 12 best new restaurants in the world, NY TIMES’ The 50 places in America we’re most excited about right now, Seattle Met’s Restaurant of the Year, and Seattle Eater’s Best New Restaurants.

Dr. Nwando Anyaoku is a physician executive, speaker, coach and consultant. A board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Anyaoku serves as VP and Chief Health Equity officer for Providence Swedish Health Services. She is also a faculty member with the Carnegie Mellon University Master of Medical Management program. Dr. Anyaoku is best known for her strong commitment to helping people and communities thrive and bloom where they are planted. When she’s not coaching and supporting medical leaders or speaking at conferences and special events, Dr Anyaoku serves as an active board member for several regional and national boards of directors. Dr. Anyaoku is a proud mother of two boys and an avid reader, traveler and cook.

Veronica Very Davis is the founder and visionary of Wonder of Women International and the nation’s newest cultural destination experience, WOW Gallery. She is the visionary creator of the ‘Dear Sista, I See You.’ Healing Art Exhibition that unapologetically centers Black Women, Black Love, and the Black Community in Downtown Seattle. Very inspires and encourages the healing of systematic and racial trauma in Black communities by using an ancestrally guided framework of storytelling, which builds community and spaces for reflection, renewal, restoration, and rejuvenation. She has also self-published a coffee table book, Dear Sista: A Sacred Collection of Love, Light, and Liberation Letters from My Sisters, featuring images of Hiawatha D.’s historic Iconic Black Women paintings. Very is a force of nature, and her commitment to justice and healing for the Black community is nothing short of incredible.

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

Tickets for Believe in Women Night along with the Storm’s remaining home game are still available. For more information visit or call 206-217-WNBA (9622).