Interim Chief Executive Officer
As Interim Chief Executive Officer of Downtown Women’s Center (DWC), Lisa Watson oversees a 120-person team and a $10 million operating budget with the aim to end women’s homelessness in greater Los Angeles through housing, wellness, and advocacy.
Dedicated to positive social change, Ms. Watson began her career in the nonprofit sector over twenty years ago. As DWC’s CEO from 2000 through 2014, she transformed DWC from a small agency serving 300 homeless women annually into a nationally-recognized homeless services organization and anchor agency within Los Angeles County serving thousands annually.
From 2015 to 2018, Lisa was the inaugural Director of The Laspa Center for Leadership at Scripps College. Under her leadership, the Center supported a diverse community of young women leaders as they prepared to take on global challenges and advance the role of women in contemporary leadership positions.
Lisa is the Founder and Principal of Watson Consulting Group. After completing the Transformational Coaching Essential Training provided by Leadership that Works, Lisa has used her coaching skills to support numerous leaders within the nonprofit sector. Since 2014, she has served as a consultant for The Durfee Foundation; in her role as coach to Durfee Fellows she has worked directly with nonprofit EDs and CEOs to help these leaders build strategies for improving the capacity of senior staff to effectively manage and lead. Proficient in helping nonprofits succeed in meeting their financial and social goals, she is also experienced in entrepreneurial endeavors, having developed three social enterprise operations from the ground up. Further, Lisa has worked with multiple nonprofit boards undergoing a strategic planning process and has guided nonprofits through the process of creating merger acquisition plans.
Lisa has been the recipient of several community awards, including being honored as a Local Hero by KCET, named one of Los Angeles Magazine’s Top 50 Women Changemakers, and recognized by The Annenberg Foundation as a visionary leader. She is married to Los Angeles artist Lisa Marsh and they have two grown daughters, Alice and Irene.
Ask Me About
My folk art collection, travel, puzzles, love for Chicago, and almost any show on PBS.
Proudest Moment Working for DWC
The parade and festival for the opening of the San Pedro Street building: everyone was dancing in the streets and there were live bands, costumes, smiling faces, new apartments for 71 women, and a supportive community for the thousands of women who enter the building every year.