Dr. Sara Watson is the founder and Global Director of ReadyNation and ReadyNation International, an international business organization whose 1,800+ members advocate for improving the economy and workforce through effective investments in children and youth. Members include current and former Fortune 500 CEOs as well as small business owners and more than 100 chamber of commerce leaders. It is based in the U.S. and is also working with leaders in other countries to help them create business champions for children, such as Uganda (Early Steps Uganda), Australia (ReadyNation Australia) and Romania (ReadyNation Romania). She is a member of the Early Childhood Development Action Network, where she co-chairs the Advocacy Task Force; a member of the Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally; and a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow.
She was a senior officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts, where she directed a 10-year campaign to advance quality preschool for all children in the U.S. With a total budget of over $90 million, she managed projects with 30 national organizations, supporting campaigns in more than half the states. That campaign contributed to doubling public spending on pre-k and re-framing early education as a school readiness and economic development issue. She also designed and launched two other Pew campaigns, to promote home visiting for at-risk families and to help states use cost-benefit data to inform policy.
She was also Executive Vice President for National Partnerships at America’s Promise Alliance, and a program manager and the director of the Better Results Group for The Finance Project in Washington, D.C., where she directed multi-site foundation initiatives and wrote publications on financing and results-based accountability. She has worked for the Family Policy Council in Olympia, Washington, supporting a state-wide network of community collaboratives. She was also the manager of the Improved Outcomes Project for the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, D.C., where she consulted with states and cities on reforming family and children’s services. Dr. Watson has given scores of major speeches and published dozens of articles and monographs on family and children’s services reform and disability policy. She has also organized 13 national or global business leader summits on early childhood. She was a board member of Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families, Maryland Advocates for Children and Youth, and Virginia’s Action Alliance for Children and Youth. She has a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Carleton College, and Master of Public Policy and Ph.D. degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Dr. Sara Watson spoke in the session “Skills for tomorrow“.
Download her presentation here.