Six years after joining the Storm as an unpaid intern, Talisa Rhea has ascended to one of the top jobs in the WNBA.

The Storm announced Rhea’s promotion as the team’s general manager Tuesday afternoon, continuing her meteoric rise for the reigning WNBA champion.

In that role, the 31-year-old Rhea succeeds Alisha Valavanis, who will maintain her duties as the team’s president and CEO of both the Storm and Force 10 Hoops.

“We are thrilled to promote Talisa to general manager and are eager to support her continued growth as a WNBA basketball executive. Talisa has the experience, basketball acumen and passion to thrive in this role,” Valavanis said in a statement. “In addition, we at the Storm are excited to continue the tradition of developing post-collegiate and professional players in roles that expand their career opportunities.” 

A Juneau, Alaska, native, Rhea was a two-time state player of the year after leading Juneau-Douglas High School to three state championship games, and one title.

As a 5-foot-11 guard, she went on to star at Oregon State from 2007-10, leading the team in scoring as a junior and becoming the second-leading three-point shooter in program history.


She transferred to Seattle University for her senior season in 2011-12. She led Seattle U that season in assists and was second in scoring. After graduating, she played one year professionally in Poland.

While working toward her master’s degree in sports management at the University of Illinois, she began her internship with the Storm as a video coordinator.

In October 2015, she was promoted to manager of the team’s basketball operations. In January 2019, she was named the team’s assistant GM.

“I am grateful for this promotion within the Storm organization,” Rhea said in a statement. “I feel fortunate to have experienced the Storm’s championship culture for the past six seasons and I look forward to leading our team in the pursuit of sustained excellence. I would like to thank Alisha, the Storm owners, and the entire Storm organization for this incredible opportunity.” 

The Storm opens its 2021 season with a WNBA Finals rematch against the Las Vegas Aces on May 15 at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena.