• Print

Seattle Storm Inspiring Women

2013 Inspiring Women Honorees

The Seattle Storm is proud to announce our 2013 Inspiring Women sponsored by Deloitte.
Join us in celebrating their remarkable achievements on Aug. 15
as the Storm take on the Chicago Sky at 7:00 p.m.

Kaaren Andrews, Principal, Interagency Academy- Ginger Ackerley Community Service Award
Louise Chernin, President & CEO, GSBA
In Memory of Melissa Erickson, former University of Washington Basketball Player
Chris Gregoire, former Washington State Governor

2013 Seattle Storm Inspiring Women

Kaaren Andrews | Principal, Interagency Academy - Ginger Ackerley Award
Kaaren Andrews was the 2007-08 recipient of the Thomas B. Foster award of excellence and outstanding leadership. The award is a reflection of an administrator’s commitment and effectiveness in improving student achievement, leadership and team building, as well as finding creative uses for resources. Andrews received the award as the principal of Madrona K-8. Since then, she has been appointed as the principal at Seattle’s Interagency Academy, an alternative high school for at-risk teens.

Interagency’s mission is to help each student achieve educational, career and social goals, as well as to inspire students to become self-sufficient and positive contributors in the community. The passion Andrews has to help children achieve great heights is a perfect fit for the important role she plays at Interagency.

After this local product from Mariner High School graduated from Princeton, she returned to Washington to teach and to coach. In 1998, she coached the girls basketball team at Seattle Prep, leading the Panthers to the Metro League championship, the Sea-King District title and a sixth-place finish in the Class 3A state tournament. The team ended the season with a 25-5 record, the best in school history at the time. Andrews left the position after one season to pursue her master’s degree in education at Stanford. She has made her way to Seattle and is pursuing her career in education and has been making an impact ever since.

2013 Seattle Storm Inspiring Women

Louise Chernin | President & CEO, GSBA
Louise Chernin has been the president and CEO of the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) since 2002. Prior to this, Chernin was the vice president of Shirley Bishop Inc., an association management firm, which managed more than 22 professional nonprofit organizations. Five years before that, Chernin was the director of the Seattle chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

“How can I be included among this list of incredibly accomplished and inspiring women who have received this award? It feels strange to be honored for doing what I love. I work with remarkable people and live in a city and state in which there is such a strong commitment to equality for all. The Seattle Storm has played an important role in our journey for equality by inspiring our youth and most especially our young girls and women to break down barriers, dream big and be all they can be. Thank you Seattle Storm for this honor.”
– Louise Chernin

As CEO, Chernin has led GSBA to become what is now the largest LGBT Chamber in the United States with more than 1,000 members. In addition to business development and advocacy on behalf of business and civil rights, GSBA sponsors a scholarship fund, which has awarded more than $1.8 million to 450 LGBTQA students in Washington since 1990. GSBA is also the sponsor of “Travel Gay Seattle, Where Out is In,” an LGBT tourism initiative created to increase revenue in the state of Washington by raising the national visibility of our region as a welcoming, progressive state and a top LGBT tourist destination. This July, GSBA will be opening the first Seattle LGBT visitors center on the West Coast.

In addition to her current role as the CEO of GSBA, Chernin was the national chair of the Council of Chambers and Business Organizations, the affiliate branches of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. During the five years in that position, Chernin provided leadership training to help start and strengthen other LGBT Chambers around the country. In 2008, Chernin was honored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) with its leadership award and also so named by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the top 20 most influential women in Puget Sound. In 2010, the Economic Opportunity Institute honored Chernin with its Aubrey Davis Award for Progressive Leadership and in 2011, Congressman Jim McDermott honored Chernin with his Community Leadership and Service Award.

2013 Seattle Storm Inspiring Women

In Memory of Melissa Erickson | former University of Washington Basketball Player
A former University of Washington basketball player, Melissa Erickson spent the early years of her life dedicated to honing her skills on the basketball court. As a youngster growing up in Littleton, Colo., Erickson led her high school team to a four-year record of 82-2 including an undefeated 24-0 run to the state championship her junior year.

After a seven-year fight with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease), Erickson passed away peacefully Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at Bailey-Boushay House in Seattle with family and close friends present.

“Being able to honor Melissa as a 2013 Inspiring Woman with the Seattle Storm is an amazing way to celebrate her love of life. Her fun-loving and caring personality was so infectious and is something we hope carries on in all the people her life touched.”
- Leanne Erickson
(Melissa's mother)

Erickson made a huge impact on her community even while living with her diagnosis. She and some of her friends founded the Melissa Erickson Foundation, which produces events that benefit the ALS Therapy Development Institute as well as the ALS Evergreen Chapter, an organization dedicated to providing support and resources to ALS patients, their families and caregivers. Erickson used her circumstances to increase ALS awareness as well as fundraise to help find more effective treatments for ALS patients. Even after her passing, the Melissa Erickson Foundation continues its fundraising events around the community.

Erickson earned a full athletic scholarship with the Huskies and competed in 92 games. Although her senior year was cut short due to an ACL injury, her team still went on to win the Pac-10 conference championship and reached the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight. After her collegiate basketball career ended, Erickson graduated in the spring of 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

2013 Seattle Storm Inspiring Women

Chris Gregoire | former Washington State Governor
Chris Gregoire grew up in Auburn, attending Auburn High School and later graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Gregoire went on to pursue law and received her juris doctor from Gonzaga University in 1977. Prior to her election as governor of Washington, Gregoire worked as an Attorney General for three terms to further build her political resume. She was the first woman to serve as Attorney General for Washington state.

Gregoire served as Washington Governor from January 2005 to January 2013 and was a tireless champion for her constituents. A strong advocate for improving the education system, protecting the environment and creating jobs, the 22nd governor of Washington won her way into people’s hearts.

From balancing the state budget during the most challenging period since the Great Depression to reshaping our education system, Gregoire has worked diligently to make Washington not only a great place to work, but a coveted place to raise a family.

Gregoire proved to be a fighter in and out of the office, battling cancer after her diagnosis in 2003, and continues to use her personal experience as a platform for her stance on health care. Christine Gregoire continues to lead by example and remains a beacon of hard work.