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Editor’s note: Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a newsmaker in the WNBA. This week she speaks with Karen Bryant, the Storm’s CEO and president. Bryant, 45, started a “Take Your Health by Storm” campaign with fans with the goal of changing her lifestyle to find balance with her busy schedule running the team. Her 30-day challenge ends this week.
WNBA Talk: A chat with Storm CEO and president Karen Bryant
Karen Bryant started the “Take Your Health by Storm” campaign for fans of the team.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Jayda Evans: I joined your 30-day challenge where you pick three things to change about your lifestyle with one stretch challenge and did OK. What about yourself?
Karen Bryant: I’m definitely not going to be an A student. I’m doing really great on eating breakfast and pretty good on meditation, and I’m doing so-so on the exercise. I’m definitely exercising more, but don’t always hit the 45 minutes or 10,000 steps. My goals were probably pretty ambitious, but that’s me. The timing wasn’t great. I started on vacation on a boat, which made it really challenging.
Q: I’m always happy to wake up and eat; I can’t believe you’re not.
Bryant: Everybody says that! But I don’t actually do it. So, I get up a little earlier and make something, and I’m eating a lot more fruits and veggies for sure.
Q: What was your reasoning in starting this “Take Your Health by Storm” campaign with fans, ending with a 30-day challenge?
Bryant: I turned 45 in December, my daughter turned 5 in April and in conjunction with birthday reflections I decided this was going to be the year. I’ve been talking about getting back in shape for a couple years now and haven’t made any changes. It was all talk. In talking about it at work, someone said “Hey, we should do something with that.” Health and wellness is one of the league’s platforms, so it was a great fit. I knew if I went public with it, I would be more inclined to follow through, knowing how competitive I am.
Q: What do you think you’ll stick with from this challenge?
Bryant: For sure breakfast. I totally value getting energy in the morning. I feel better just eating breakfast. And I’m definitely going to continue to mediate. It has been healthy for me to just decompress. When I’m done and open my eyes, my body feels more relaxed.
Q: What has been the response from fans? It seemed many showed up to kayak, bike and play kickball with you.
Bryant: The smallest group was about 15 and there were probably 50 or 60 for kayaking, which was really fun because of all of the different profiles of people who showed up. One woman had been kayaking since she was young and had been bugging her husband to join her for literally 20 years. They’re both Storm fans, so she finally got him in a kayak. It’s been nice to interact with fans about something different.
Q: Will the Storm continue with this health movement?
Bryant: In the offseason we’ll kind of retool it, but it’s going to be an ongoing initiative. It’s something we’re pretty excited about continuing to build out. Whether or not I’m the face going forward, I don’t know. But we’ll absolutely try and figure out how it can help us bring new fans in. I’m even in conversations now with Seattle Public Schools to figure out how we might get engaged with P.E. during the school year.
Q: Did you discover anything odd through this movement?
Bryant: I had to get more gear. I was going through more exercising clothes than I had. And I realized I have a lot of cool shoes, but I didn’t have a pair that was built for taking three- to five-mile walks.
Q: What are you most proud of through this?
Bryant: Probably the fact that I’m doing it publicly. My motivation was to really try to inspire others, but I knew it would help me be more accountable. It’s a lifestyle change and it’s just the beginning.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.