There are several components that make this iteration of the PRO2CEO Report the most unique to date. The objective remains the same, as we strive to highlight the most important and successful transitions from the world of sport into the arena of business. The WNBA, however, stands in contrast to its professional counterparts on multiple fronts.

There is perhaps no single word that encapsulates what the WNBA has been able to do for sports since its inception but “pioneer.” Although the WNBA has barely a couple of decades since its establishment, it still has maintained a pioneering spirit.  Improvements in attendance, sponsorship, media coverage, media rights and broadcasting games have all seen significant increases, which is a positive sign for the longevity of the WNBA. Unfortunately, continual lack of resources and lower levels of support for women as a relates to sports & entertainment as compared to the men’s game still hurts the league’s growth and keeps it in pioneer mode rather than being a legitimate peer of its professional counterparts. Early WNBA players like Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoopes raised the bar and were playing to give the women and league a presence and purpose in sport, which ensured that women had a place to play at the highest level of basketball in the world. Next generation players like Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley, and Tamika Catchings were all able to give the league a spotlight and grow its appeal for the mainstream.

The predominant trends here speak to disparity between men’s and women’s sports, both in terms of financial investment and exposure. This includes the associated optimism as women’s sport grows in popularity due to increased mainstream exposure wrought by standout performances at both the collegiate and professional levels. While there is a high level of encouragement moving forward, the present state is more reflective of the previous model of men’s and women’s sport in this inequity. For another, the WNBA is essentially within its infancy as a league. Previous editions of the PRO2CEO Report featured leagues that have a half century of talent from which to pull and examine in matters of transition, at minimum. The WNBA was incepted in 1996. It features twelve teams. The sample due to the timeline and volume of players is quite minimal.

Given these factors, this edition of the report will take on a mildly different shape. The pool of current players preparing for transition will be far more robust than prior editions, given the recent influx of popularity for the league and players therein, as this has lent itself to higher levels of available information. The list of former players, including the honorable mention, will feature as more condensed, as there is simply a smaller pool given the youth of the league and its emergence being more contemporary. The overarching goal remains highlighting the transitions that have occurred and examine the business endeavors of current players. Perhaps more importantly, the active rise of the league will give way to a key analysis as to what current trends could indicate for the future of the sport in matters of transition.



While the aim of the PRO2CEO Report remains showcasing successful and unique transitions out of sport as they relate to business, the WNBA stands apart from its professional counterparts in that some athletes have stepped away in order to pursue exclusively nonprofit work or focus purely on social issues. The concept itself is, of course, not specific to the WNBA. Scores of athletes from other sports have established a charity or nonprofit or engage with such an organization in a way that contributes positively to society. In most cases, however, they do this in conjunction with various other business pursuits. The WNBA side is worthy of note in this respect within the honorable mention context, though, given the exclusivity in which it has been sought by some of their former players.

A critical area where the WNBA has pioneered and dominated in relation to its professional counterparts is in relation to how is players deal with social issues. Just about every major social justice issue over the past decade-plus has seen the WNBA has lead the way in addressing it individually as players and as leaders. WNBA players should be commended for not only being pioneers of sport, but also in facing issues of race and society. Its players and coaches maintain a pulse on the issues of the day, never sitting on the sidelines, but leading the charge in moving to the forefront.

There is perhaps no one more notable in this vein than Maya Moore. The first overall pick of the Minnesota Lynx in 2011, Moore won four WNBA championships and was an All-Star on six occasions. In 2019, Moore stepped away from the game in order to focus on social justice reform and has dedicated her professional life to doing so in the years since, doing so primarily through the Win With Justice program, which seeks for a “fair and equitable” justice system.

Other prominent names from the various, albeit short, eras for the WNBA can be seen in the coaching & front office arenas. Cynthia Cooper-Dyke was a pillar as one of the league’s early stars and held coaching posts at the collegiate level, including two stints with USC, and the professional level with the Phoenix Mercury. New York Liberty star Becky Hammon famously worked on the bench for Gregg Popovich & the San Antonio Spurs before taking over as the head coach of current WNBA power Las Vegas Aces. Dawn Staley, who logged time in the American Basketball League and with the WNBA’s Comets, coaches perennial Final Four squad South Carolina’s women’s basketball team. Kara Lawson, of Connecticut & Washington fame, maintains a similar post with Duke. Tina Thompson coached the University of Virginia’s women’s team and now works as a scout with the Portland Trailblazers. Asjha Jones was something of a journeyman player, but became the first WNBA alum to win a title as a player and coach before also joining the Blazers’ staff in 2021. While not a coach in the traditional sense, Rushia Brown also carved an extremely notable path, as she founded the Women’s Professional Basketball Alumnae (WPBA), an organization which helps athletes to transition from the WNBA and European leagues back into mainstream society.

While this transition into coaching, scouting, or ambassadorship is not necessarily unique to the WNBA, given the numerous examples in other sports, the crossover between men’s & women’s sports does speak to an encouraging trend moving forward. Again, while journeys such as these do not represent a traditional approach to business in the sense typically discussed within the PRO2CEO Report, the WNBA has communicated a clear commitment to social initiatives – perhaps on a level that exceeds that of their fellow professional sports leagues – with Moore and Swoopes in particular serving as two extremely prominent names to focus heavily on this aim within their transition.



10. Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever)

  • Years Active: 2002-2016
  • Reported Net Worth: $300k
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: Catch the Stars, Tea’s Me Café
  • Summary: From a community standpoint, Catchings has remained deeply involved in the Indianapolis community through her Catch the Stars nonprofit, which serves both youth and adults through various fitness and literacy initiatives. Her most distinctive business venture, though, has come in the former of Tea’s Me Café, a local tea spot that caught her attention when she was logging time as a player for the Fever. Catchings purchased Tea’s Me, which now has two locations, and has plans for additional expansion in the future.

9. Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets, Seattle Storm, Tulsa Shock)

  • Years Active: 1997-2011
  • Reported Net Worth: $500k
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: Back to Our Roots
  • Summary: Swoopes has gravitated toward a route outside of traditional business practices. One of the league’s earliest stars – most notably with the Houston Comets – Swoopes co-founded the nonprofit Back to Our Roots, which seeks to “empower and educate today’s youth to believe in themselves through farming, gardening, goal setting, sports and exploring different cultures; particularly in Africa.”

8. Rebecca Lobo (New York Liberty, Houston Comets, Connecticut Sun)

  • Years Active: 1997-2003
  • Reported Net Worth: $1.5 million
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: Broadcasting, Medical
  • Summary: In addition to her work as an analyst on ESPN as part of various college basketball and WNBA broadcast teams, Lobo has spent a large operating on a very different front. She has served as a spokesperson for various health-related issues, including breast cancer and knee injuries. She collaborated with her mother on a book detailing the latter’s battle with breast cancer, while also co-founding a scholarship to the UConn School of Allied Health. Dating back to her playing days, she has also served as a spokesperson and financial backer for, which strives to build platforms for various medical companies focused on health in different medical arenas.

7. Michelle M. Marciniak (Seattle Storm)

  • Years Active: 1996-2002
  • Reported Net Worth: $1-2 million
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: SHEEX, Inc.
  • Summary: A grinder who spent most of her professional career in the American Basketball League, Marciniak did log time in the WNBA with Seattle before transitioning to coaching at the University of South Carolina as an assistant until 2008. One of the more traditional business approaches, though, Marciniak is a cofounder of SHEEX, Inc. SHEEX represents a standalone entity in the bedding industry given the nature of the product. Rather than traditional cotton or linen, SHEEX utilizes moisture-wicking stretch material that one typically sees with athletic wear and has been heavily embraced by the outdoor and boating industries.

6. Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky, Minnesota Lynx)

  • Years Active: 2008-2022
  • Reported Net Worth: $2 million
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: Mortuary Science
  • Summary: To date, Fowles does not have an ownership stake or notable investment in a particular business. But her journey is set far apart from perhaps any other athlete that has been profiled in any PRO2CEO Report thus far. As she reached the end of her career in 2022, it became public knowledge that Fowles’ next career move was to pivot into the field of mortuary sciences. Having studied the science for several years in college, Fowles’ interest stems from the death of her grandmother when she was six. While this is, of course, not a traditional business approach, the set goal of becoming a mortician represents a tangible transition plan for Fowles, who has maintained coursework toward this pursuit at the American Academy McAllister Institute, an elite educational program for such endeavors.

5. Nancy Lieberman (Dallas Diamonds, Springfield Fame, Long Island Knights, Phoenix Mercury, Detroit Shock)

  • Years Active: 1980-1987, 1997, 2008
  • Reported Net Worth: $3 million
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: Coaching, Sports Media, Front Office
  • Summary: A star in women’s hoops before the inception of the WNBA, Lieberman has remained in and around the game in the time since her playing career ended. She served as a coach on both the WNBA and NBA side, with the latter coming as part of the G League Texas Legends in 2009 Sacramento Kings coaching staff in 2015. Lieberman also coached the BIG3 league’s Power to a championship in 2018. She currently serves as a broadcaster for the Oklahoma City Thunder and more recently accepted a role as an ambassador in the front office of the Dallas Wings, a role which will include collaboration with her charity and business development & brand expansion for the franchise.

4. Renee Montgomery (Minnesota Lynx, Connecticut Sun, Seattle Storm, Atlanta Dream)

  • Years Active: 2009-2019
  • Reported Net Worth: $3 million
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: Atlanta Dream, Takeline, Montgomery & Co.
  • Summary: While the two-time WNBA champion has largely remained around sport since her retirement in 2021, she maintains a versatile portfolio headlined by her ownership of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. She was part of a trio of investors that purchased Kelly Loeffler’s share of the organization following the latter’s opposition to the league’s increasing social justice initiatives. Her hope is that her own journey to ownership serves as a springboard to more women owners across both the WNBA & NBA. Montgomery also serves as the team’s vice president. In addition, Montgomery owned a team in the former Fan Controlled Football League, alongside Marshawn Lynch, and is heavily involved in the podcast game, appearing on both Crooked Media’s Takeline with podcast force Jason Concepcion and Meadowlark Media’s Montgomery & Co.

3. Swin Cash (Detroit Shock, Seattle Storm, Chicago Sky, Atlanta Dream, New York Liberty)

  • Years Active: 2002-2016
  • Reported Net Worth: $5 million
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: Swin Cash Enterprise
  • Summary: As part of Swin Cash Enterprise, Cash has multiple endeavors of note, including Cash For Kids, a program designed to increase motivation and education in children through fitness and nutrition, and the She’s Got Time summit, which organizes workshops and wellness activities with the aim of increasing connection and empowering women in sport. Most notable among the exploits within her post-WNBA career is with the New Orleans Pelicans, however, as Cash serves a crucial role as the team’s VP of basketball operations and team development. As each of the two major basketball leagues has showcased an intense openness to progress, Cash’s role is essential in growing the culture from within the organization via gameday operations, onboarding of new employees & team members, and everything in between.

2. Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks)

  • Years Active: 1997-2009
  • Reported Net Worth: $5 million
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: Aston Rose, Los Angeles Sparks
  • Summary: Perhaps the most prominent name to emerge from the earlier years of the WNBA, Leslie has maintained a regular presence in mainstream media thanks to her role as a television analyst on multiple networks, including ESPN and on local Orlando Magic coverage. From a business standpoint, she became a part-owner for the Los Angeles Sparks in 2011, just shortly after she had stepped away from professional basketball. Among her most notable business ventures, however, is Aston Rose Sports & Entertainment. Leslie was part of the initial group that launched the real estate firm, which seeks to find properties for athletes & entertainers nationwide. As of 2022, they had closed over $500 million in real estate deals.

1. Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)

  • Years Active: 2002-2022
  • Reported Net Worth: $10 million
  • Notable Business Interests/Activities: A Touch More, TOGETHXR
  • Summary: One of the sport’s most decorated athletes, regardless of league, Bird has operated heavily in media. She founded media & commerce company TOGETHXR in conjunction with fellow athletes Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, and Simone Manuel. An overarching goal of the company is to inject the mainstream with more content and examine more contributions from women in sport, including simply how they are represented within media. Under that umbrella, Bird also started production company A Touch More with partner Megan Rapinoe. Their goal is to center “the stories of revolutionaries” and utilize their platform as athletes to showcase progress within culture.


Trends present in both the former and current player summaries illustrate some encouraging trends in line with other professional sports, as well as fundamental areas in which improvement is needed (and very likely expected). Within other sports, similar transitions can be identified. There are analyst roles attained, coaching & front office positions obtained, and more traditional business ownership, both via investments and individual start-ups, across different industries. It is encouraging to see some of these components also reflected on the WNBA side given the extremely noticeable disparities in matters of pay.

The disparity is likely the most notable element present, however, even if its overall presence is somewhat abstract. There’s a real absence of variety among business pursuits, no doubt linked in some fashion to the disparity resulting in a lack of opportunity. While the men’s sports covered to date have showcased franchise ownership, start-ups, and lucrative investments, the areas in which we see these in the women’s professional basketball side is sparce. It is, of course, a smaller pool of players with a much more limited history given the somewhat recent inception of the league. However, as much power as professional sport wields in business, it is hard to ignore an element of discouragement there.

 Nonetheless, while the trends thus far could likely be deemed frustrating, there is plenty of room for optimism as it relates to the future of transition in the WNBA. In a broad sense, the recent negotiations noted above that led to an increased revenue share and other benefits indicates optimism for the league in a financial sense. More financial success for the WNBA should, ideally, result in a continued increase in mainstream coverage and perhaps more business opportunities that fall under a more traditional model. Moreover, the Harvard Business School program “Crossover into Business” that was done by players such as Ivory Latta & Elizabeth Williams presents an upper tier opportunity for these players to explore the world of business and perhaps stake their claim to more of the business approaches that we see in other sports.

Where additional optimism lies is in the types of exposure we’re seeing for WNBA athletes. Through working with already established platforms (Ionescu & Thirty Five Ventures’ Boardroom) and mediums (Bird’s A Touch More), there is an opportunity for these athletes to not only become participants within the culture, but drivers of it. The impending Unrivaled league represents an adjacent step in progress here. Breanna Stewart has said that one of the goal in the league is to encourage participation from college athletes to join the WNBA ranks, with this league serving as a tool to increase popularity of women’s basketball organically. These opportunities are becoming far more frequent, which should bode well for the continued growth of the league on all fronts.


We would be remiss in our report, of course, if the NIL frontier was not mentioned as part of this steady optimism. The potential for money & exposure currently ruminating around women’s hoops at the collegiate level is massive, with some of the names maintaining just as much of a household presence – if not more so – than their professional counterparts. LSU star Angel Reese more than doubled her NIL presence following their National Championship run, which includes deals with Bose, Coach, and Calvin Klein, in addition to her own merchandise and tremendous social media following. Caitlin Clark of Iowa, whom was defeated by Reese’s LSU squad in last year’s title game, has NIL deals with Nike, Topps, and H&R Block, among others. The Cavinder twins – Haley & Hanna – formerly of Miami, parlayed their NIL into a podcast in conjunction with Betr and deals with such companies as Champs Sports, Boost Mobile, and more upon their retirement from the game. Paige Bueckers, perhaps the original NIL star of the women’s college game, has maintained an NIL portfolio highlighted by partnerships with Nerf, Bose, Crocs, StockX, and Gatorade. She was the latter’s first NIL partnership in NCAA upon its implementation.

The significance of these developments at the college level cannot be overstated. NIL has increased the opportunity for earnings at an earlier point in players’ careers, yes, but more importantly it has the potential to lead to an exponential increase in exposure for these athletes and the women’s game itself. Names like Bueckers, Reese, and Clark are already a household presence in the mainstream. The expansion of NIL on this side of sport should help feed into something of an organic rise in exposure and marketability for the WNBA, which could feed into a stronger infrastructure in matters of transition for these athletes in the later portion of their career.

Championing the importance of the women’s game, however, is ultimately going to be not only the athlete of today’s responsibility, but society as well. For the women’s game to truly reach higher heights and achieve incremental growth that is retained and increased annually, society is going to have to play its role. This begins at a grassroots level. This means maintaining intention in supporting girls & all the way through, from amateur youth sports, to middle school, to high school, to college, and, ultimately, to the professional level. Until society renders as much time to a youth softball or basketball game as is dedicated to a youth pop warner football game – on a widespread level countrywide – we won’t see meaningful change. This edition of the PRO2CEO Report also serves as a call to action for everyone who wants to see the women’s game improve.


A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces)

  • Considered a fashion icon beyond even the WNBA context, Wilson’s most notable business comes in the form of candles. While performing at one of the most elite levels of anyone in the game at present, Wilson has a burgeoning candle business, the Burnt Wax Candle Company. Started alongside her mother, Wilson’s business has grown to include candles, reeds, and diffusers named after various accomplishments and adjectives that align with her career exploits.

Breanna Stewart (New York Liberty)

  • Perhaps one of the more important business innovations seen in recent years, Stewart is set to launch the Unrivaled basketball league in tandem with Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx. The aim of the new league is to offset some of the overseas participation, as the timeline will align with the league’s new prioritisation rule.

Candace Parker (Las Vegas Aces)

  • Displaying an early attention to the business side of things, Parker has increased her business presence in manifold ways the longer she’s been in the league. In addition to presence within NBA 2K, Adidas, and an analyst spot with Turner Sports, Parker also owns a share of Angel City FC of the NWSL and works with various nonprofits across multiple social fronts.

Chiney Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks)

  • While working as a television analyst isn’t necessarily a unique component among current & former WNBA stars, Chiney Ogwumike has parlayed it into more of a full-time role than many of her contemporaries and predecessors. Initially catching on as a co-host of ESPN Radio’s Chiney & Golic Jr. prior to the latter’s departure, Ogwumike has since signed a multi-year deal to serve as a basketball analyst on their NBA Today program.

Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics)

  • What started as a side project blossomed into a full-time business for Delle Donne & her partner Amanda. The two started woodworking company Deldon, following the creation of pieces for their own home. Their shop creates original ideas and custom pieces including charcuterie boards and wall art.

Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks)

  • If it can be assumed that leaders within a players’ union are set up for post-career success, regardless of field, we can likely make the assumption with Nneka Ogwumike. The current president of the WNBPA, Ogwumike was part of the negotiation that resulted in players getting an increased revenue share, a stipend for child care, full paid maternity leave, among other factors, in recent CBA negotiations. With a stated goal of overhauling the status quo of women in sports.

Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty)

  • In an effort to increase her business portfolio, Ionescu is teaming with Thirty Five Ventures, owned by Kevin Durant, as a strategic partner. This partnership will allow her to gain access to capital opportunities through developing content and events with Boardroom, part of Thirty Five Ventures. In addition to various branding deals, Ionescu is also part of Division Street, which helps fellow Oregon Ducks capitalize on NIL opportunities.

Skylar Diggins-Smith (Phoenix Mercury)

  • Arguably one of the league’s first genuine social media stars, Diggins-Smith has the roots of a traditional approach to business despite still being active in her career. A strong advocate of financial education, she has navigated the stock & NFT spaces as a business focus. She also has a partnership with, which seeks to enhance financial literacy. The goal of her partnership with the investment platform is to confront pay equity and increase financial literacy in general, as well as within a specific context such as NIL.


Kevin Carr is the Founder, CEO and Principal of PRO2CEO, LLC. Kevin believed a high-performing professional development firm specializing in transition management for professionals in the sports, entertainment and business needed to exist. PRO2CEO is a career transition and business development-consulting firm for elite current & former athletes, artists and organizations who seek to increase their optimization and monetization in the business world. Kevin has also been a guest lecturer at NYU, UCF, Indiana U, and Baruch College for several graduate and undergrad level classes on sports management, leadership, corporate social responsibility and public administration. He has also been an adjunct professor at Florida State and Michigan State universities and taught courses on life Skills and Career Development.

Randy Holt is a research assistant and analyst with PRO2CEO. A former high school English teacher, Randy acquired his Masters in Sport Management from the University of Florida, specializing in Athlete Development. Away from PRO2CEO, he is a corporate analyst, an Athlete Development Specialist at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, and a freelance baseball writer focusing on analytics. Randy’s aim is to identify major trends in sport as they relate to athlete development and transition, while also determining how those trends can be shaped into resources and development opportunities for athletes at the lower levels.

LaVaughn is a United States Naval Officer stationed in Virginia, with over 17 years of military service. He was a member of the United States Naval Academy varsity football team, where he graduated in 2005. LaVaughn earned his masters degree in Sport Management at Liberty University and was inducted into their International Honor Society in Business, Management and Administration. He is currently serving as the lead for PRO2CEO’s NIL/Player Management department.

Meneftha Pierre is a South Florida native who earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Communication from the University of Central Florida in 2015. She also graduated with her Master’s of Business Administration in Sport Management from Florida Atlantic University in 2018. Pierre has over seven years of varying experiences at the collegiate, non-profit, and professional level. Most recently, Pierre earned a Project Management Professional Certificate. She currently serves as the Business Operations Manager for PRO2CEO. 

Jessi Wynn is a social media content creation intern at PRO2CEO. She is an undergraduate student at Florida State University double majoring in Public Relations and Sport Management. In addition, Jessi is very passionate about sport public relations/ social media. She aspires to continue to learn and grow her career in this field. 

Collin is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the University of Florida Institute for Coaching Excellence. Additionally, Collin is pursuing his Master of Science in Sport Management at the University of Florida. Collin also serves as the producer and editor of the Athlete+ Podcast Network, including The HIT Show hosted by Kevin Carr. For inquiries or further concerns, please reach out to Collin via email.

Justin Skaggs is the graphic designer for the Institute for Coaching Excellence. Justin graduated from Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida with an A.S. degree in Graphic Design Technology. Currently, Justin also works as a Graphic Design Assistant with ELearning TEKnologies and assist with the development of E-Learning courses at various companies. Read more about Justin and view his portfolio here.

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