(Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

The WNBA has named Colie Edison as its first Chief Growth Officer, the league announced Tuesday.

Beginning Jan. 31, Edison will lead the development and execution of “strategic growth initiatives.” She will be based in the league’s New York office and report directly to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

“Colie is joining our executive leadership team at a time in WNBA history where the league has enormous growth potential,” said Engelbert. “As we continue to execute on the league’s five-year transformation plan, Colie brings extensive business experience with managing strategic projects and alliances as well as negotiating marketing and media partnerships and we look forward to her making an immediate impact on our growth aspirations.”

Edison joins the WNBA from the Professional Bowlers Association, where she was the organization’s first female CEO in its 64-year history. There, she oversaw all business aspects related to planning and executing key initiatives, including the league’s groundbreaking partnership with FOX Sports.

In conjunction with her role at PBA, Edison was also CCO of the Bowlero Corporation, the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling centers, leading all consumer-facing strategic growth initiatives. After initially joining as VP of Marketing in 2013, she was promoted to CCO in 2017.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the WNBA at such a pivotal and exciting time for the league,” said Edison. “The momentum for the WNBA continues to grow and I look forward to working with Cathy and the WNBA leadership team to help further elevate the league.”

The move comes on the heels of a New York Times article that addressed league expansion. In it, Minnesota Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said the league has been too focused on matching revenue and expenses, and not enough on investing for the future. In response, Engelbert said she has a “track record of building businesses and growing businesses, and that’s what we’re doing here.”

Expansion has been a popular topic in the WNBA for months. In September, Engelbert said the depth of the WNBA “would support expansion,” but the decision would be driven by analytics. While cities like Oakland have taken steps toward hosting a WNBA expansion team, players like Sue Bird have said they would like to see the league expand strategically.