Blazers Hire Christa Thoeresz As Director of Community Relations


The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Christa Thoeresz as their new Senior Director of Community Relations.

In November, the Blazers announced that Traci Rose, the now former Senior Director of Community Relations and the head of the make it better foundation would be moving on to an opportunity with the Boys and Girls Club of Portland.

Thoeresz succeeds Rose in one of the most visible positions in the organization. Thoeresz most recently held a similar position of Director of Community Relations for the Portland Timbers, the City’s Major League Soccer club.

Thoeresz held that position since 2011 and the Timbers were awarded the 2012 and 2013 Community Relations Department of The Year awards from the MLS.

Here is the full release from the team:

PORTLAND, Ore. (February 5, 2014) – Thanks to a search that began last fall, thePortland Trail Blazers have found their new community relations lead just across town in a similar capacity with the Portland Timbers. Christa Thoeresz, most recently head of Community Relations for Portland’s Major League Soccer franchise, is joining the Trail Blazers as Senior Director of Community Relations. Thoeresz begins her new role onFebruary 24, reporting to Ben Lauritsen, Trail Blazers Vice President of Legal and Community Affairs. She succeeds Traci Rose, who left the Trail Blazers last November for a senior executive role with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro.


Thoeresz steps into a highly visible responsibility for the Trail Blazers, and assumes day-to-day management of all community relations platforms, strategies, resources and staff. Chief among her duties will be the development, planning, and execution of programs for the Trail Blazers’ community involvement in conjunction with local charities and key Trail Blazers partners. She will also have an influential role within the make it better Foundation, the primary channel for the Trail Blazers’ charitable fundraising and giving.


“We consider ourselves fortunate to have attracted someone of Christa’s caliber, who also has ties to the Portland community that extend both professionally and philanthropically,” said Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan. “We’re beginning the transition of an already successful and respected community relations effort to a new level of focus, support and execution. Christa will bring fresh ideas and perspectives that we look forward to integrating into every way that the Trail Blazers connect with our fans, employees, sponsors and donors.”


“Philanthropy that aligns with our values and priorities as an organization is a fundamental key to how the Trail Blazers benefit the community where our players, staff, and fans live and work,” added Lauritsen. “Our organization has supported numerous causes and charitable entities over the years. We look forward to continuing that very important work in some new and innovative ways under Christa’s leadership.”


Since 2011, Thoeresz has managed the Timbers Community Relations Department, with direct responsibility for the franchise’s outreach programs, partnerships, volunteerism and philanthropic efforts. Major League Soccer recognized the work of Thoeresz, her staff and the Timbers in 2012 and 2013 with the Community Relations Department of the Year Award.Stand Together, the platform of the Portland Timbers work in the community, marshals the power of sport to positively benefit the lives of children and families in the Portland area. With a special emphasis on youth activity, education and the environment, Stand Togetheralso developed significant connectivity with girls locally with the help of the Portland Thorns, the reigning 2013 National Women’s Soccer League Champions.

“It has been a privilege to work with the Timbers and Thorns FC front office and teams, and I’m proud of the work we have accomplished there together,” said Thoeresz. “The opportunity to join the Trail Blazers in this role and to continue building upon the incredible work they do in the community is an honor. I am excited to work with the Trail Blazers and the NBA to positively impact my home state of Oregon.”

Professional experience for Thoeresz extends to a broad portfolio of international positions in sport and social change in the Dominican Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Columbia and Australia. She speaks multiple languages including Spanish and French, and is a graduate of the Leadership Portland Class of 2013.

Thoeresz holds an MBA in International Business from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury College. She is also a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Connecticut College with a Bachelors of Arts degree. Thoeresz was a standout collegiate athlete in three varsity sports while at Connecticut College; and was a decorated multi-sport athlete while growing up in Portland as a student at the Catlin Gabel School.


Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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