The Seattle Storm Wednesday announced that Alisha Valavanis has been named the team’s Chief Operating Officer.
“In this hiring process, our ownership group was looking for someone to come in with new ideas and the ability to embrace what it takes to run a sports organization,” said Seattle Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel. “Alisha has a true passion for what we do and a strong commitment to drive this business forward. She is an exciting addition to the Storm family and will be a great community leader here in Seattle.”
Valavanis most recently served as the Assistant Athletics Director of Development for Annual Giving and Alumni Relations at the University of California, Berkeley from 2011-14. As a senior staff member at Cal, Valavanis provided leadership, direction and fundraising models for head coaches and staff, while leading collaborative efforts with University Relations and campus partners on cross-functioning campaigns. Valavanis was responsible for creating revenue generation initiatives, annual fundraising efforts, development operations and alumni engagement strategies.
“My life has truly been enriched by the game of basketball,” said Valavanis. “From the incredible experiences on the court to a career on the business-side of the game; basketball has been a way of life for me. To work in the WNBA, for the Seattle Storm, is a dream come true. This is a model franchise, and I’m honored to be a part of the Seattle community. I’m very much looking forward to building on the strong foundation and the exciting brand that is Seattle Storm Basketball.”
“Alisha is incredibly bright and creative and one of the most talented leaders I’ve ever encountered,” said Sandy Barbour, Director of Athletics at Cal. “We are grateful for her time at Cal and her critical contributions to our success. It’s a huge loss for us, but I could not be happier that she has earned this phenomenal opportunity with a first-class organization. The Seattle Storm has hired a superstar.”
Prior to her time at Cal, Valavanis spent one season, 2010-11, with the Golden State Warriors in group sales, developing sales initiatives to assist the Oakland non-profit sector in leveraging ticket sales for fundraising efforts.
Valavanis’ basketball background spans more than 15 years, starting as a four-year collegiate player at the California State University, Chico, where she captained the team from 1997-99. In 2008, she was elevated to associate head coach. She ran the defensive system, guard development and oversaw a team of assistant coaches and operations personnel. Valavanis was also involved with financial oversight and fundraising opportunities for the program.
Valavanis graduated from Chico State in 2000 with a B.A. in communications. She earned her Masters in athletic administration from Chico State in 2004.
Karen Bryant has announced that her last day as Storm President & CEO will be July 31. The organization will be honoring her in-game against the Indiana Fever that night.
Valavanis’ appointment is effective July 1.