CEO and President of the Seattle Storm
For more than 14 years, Karen Bryant has been involved with professional women’s sports. Currently the president and CEO of the Seattle Storm, the two-time WNBA champions, Bryant’s leadership has helped guide the Storm to be recognized as one of the league’s premier independently owned franchises.
She has taken the Storm from an expansion team to an independent entity – an entrepreneurial feat.
As a businesswoman in the sports world, Bryant’s past as a notable basketball player laid the foundation for her success. From Edmonds, Wash., Bryant graduated from Woodway High School in 1986. She left high school with a state championship as a part of the girls’ basketball team. Bryant attended Green River Community College, in Auburn, Wash.; Seattle University; and then earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington in 1991.
Bryant started her career in sports in 1996, as the director of operations for the American Basketball League’s Seattle Reign, where she later served as general manager.
In 1999, she was recruited by the Seattle SuperSonics to lead the organization’s effort to secure a WNBA expansion franchise.
In 2008, the Seattle Storm became an independent organization, upon the relocation of the SuperSonics. The same year, Bryant was named the Storm’s chief executive officer. Bryant is responsible for overseeing business and basketball operations for the organization, including long-term growth strategies and developing partnerships and initiatives focused on support for women and girls. With her leadership, Storm revenue has increased 162%.
Under her leadership and guidance, the Storm won the WNBA championship in 2004 and 2010.
Bryant has been widely acknowledged as a professional sports visionary and community leader, and her abundance of awards and affiliations speak for themselves. In 2005, the Puget Sound Business Journal recognized her as one of their Women of Influence; in March of 2010, she was awarded the prestigious Health and Dignity Award by the Americans for UNFPA for her continued efforts towards elevating the status of women and advocacy for equality. Most recently, Bryant and the owners of the Seattle Storm were named Girl Scouts of America’s Women of Distinction. She was also honored as Seattle’s 2010 Sports Executive of the Year by the Seattle Sports Commission.
Previously affiliated with King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) and the Girl Scouts – Totem Council, Bryant is committed to giving back to the community and lending her skills as an entrepreneur and passionate individual.
Bryant is currently serving on the boards of the Seattle Sports Commission, the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, and the Special Olympics of Washington.
The Seattle Storm has a dominant presence in the community because of the services and programs it sponsors. The Go-Green Initiative, Take Your Health by Storm, and Read to Achieve programs exemplify the Storm’s emphasis on community involvement and awareness. Programs like the Seattle Storm’s “Woman of Inspiration”, a yearly event, recognize women in the community who strive to go above and beyond.
Bryant has been instrumental in bringing professional women’s basketball to a diverse and rapidly-growing fan base, making the Storm a unique community asset that combines competition, sportsmanship, and world-class entertainment value.
About the Seattle Storm
The 2010 WNBA champion Seattle Storm is one of six independently owned teams in the WNBA, the world’s most successful women’s professional team sports league. Established in 2000, the Storm is committed to bringing outstanding professional basketball to a fan base rich with tradition and support.
The Storm leads the way for change in the community with outreach programs for youth basketball, health and fitness. The organization looks to be an inspiration for girls and women while providing support and motivation to better the Puget Sound.