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Chico State Alumni Association

Wildcat Connect Webinar | Power Players and Leadership

Power Players: Join us in conversation with three passionate Wildcats leading the way in their professions.

View the Power Players webinar recording

Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Time: 3:00 p.m.

Summary: In today’s ever changing and uncertain world, strong leadership is now more important than ever. Join Gayle Hutchinson, President at California State University, Chico; Alisha Valavanis, CEO and general manager of the Seattle Storm, and Alexa Benson-Valavanis, President and CEO of the North Valley Community Foundation as they share their thoughts and experiences as leaders as well as provide profound insight about how you can take an active role in creating the kind of future you want to see.

Panelists: Gayle Hutchinson, (Ed.D.) President of CSU, Chico; Alexa Benson-Valavanis (BA, Journalism, '00), President and CEO North Valley Community Foundation; Alisha Valavanis, (BA, Journalism, '00, MA Physical Education, '04)

gayle hutchinsonGayle Hutchinson started her career as an assistant professor at Chico State in 1990 and called the university home for the next 23 years, working her way to full professor, then department chair and finally dean. She also served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at CSU Channel Islands, where she learned the importance of community partnerships and philanthropy. But she calls her return to Chico State in 2016 as president momentous in her working life for more than one reason.  Hutchinson has always enjoyed serving in leadership roles, and says sports taught her the power of teamwork, and the team taught her the importance of working together as one to imagine a successful future, achieve collective goals and overcome difficult challenges.

ValavanisAlisha Valavanis is the CEO and general manager of the four-time WNBA Champion Seattle Storm and Force 10 Sports Management, LLC; a sports management firm that creates world-class sporting events in Seattle by providing operations, revenue generation, communications, and marketing expertise. Valavanis has expanded the Force 10 sports management portfolio that has included Pac-12 women's basketball tournament, USA basketball, Seattle ProAm, Seattle Reign FC (NWSL) and the Seattle Seawolves (MLR). 


alexa valavanisAlexa Benson-Valavanis has served as president and CEO of the North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) since 2005. She was recruited to play basketball at Chico State and graduated in 2000 with her degree in journalism. After graduation, she worked in business development in Shanghai, China before starting an organization supporting nonprofit development in Guatemala. Under her leadership, the NVCF has experienced tremendous growth in clients, services, and revenues of more than $175 million to causes in northern California, the U.S., and all throughout the world.