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Meet Elisabeth Watson

Welcome! Thank you for your interest in The Sea Ranch Board of Directors and my candidacy. Our governance may not always be at the top of your reading list, but it is important to our way of life here at The Sea Ranch. The Directors set policies that can have lasting implications (which is, after all, why you’re here reading this). To me, that is both fascinating and a grave responsibility I welcome.

 

When The Sea Ranch was founded, a development based on ecological principles and environmental stewardship was a radical idea. I wonder what innovative and forward-thinking initiative we can adopt now that future Sea Ranchers will look back on and think was equally ahead of its time. Will it be our response to climate change? Our ability to maintain a strong sense of community? Our cooperation with our neighbors to ensure a sustainable life on the coast?

 

I hope we can do all of the above. I believe we can - one policy, one decision at a time, arrived at with community input and with careful consideration of our resources and values. 

“You come for the views, but you stay for the people.”

Elisabeth Watson at The Sea Ranch bluffs.jpeg

My candidate statements lay out my priorities and positions on vital issues facing The Sea Ranch. Dig into them, argue with me, ask me how they will work, point out the flaws. I love exploring interesting ideas and examining whether and how they might work. Policy ideas have to come from somewhere, and that begins with you – our community.  


When my husband Nigel and I first arrived at The Sea Ranch 10 years ago, I wasn’t sure how to make friends here. Maybe you felt the same way. That feeling didn’t last long! It was so easy to meet people and get involved. It started with Beau the Border Collie, who wisely took me on hikes along our beautiful coastline, where we befriended other Border Collies and their people. I joined the Sea Ranch Connect Task Force and worked to make SRC a reality. Nigel joined the Finance Committee, and we dug even deeper into our welcoming coastal home. We could not believe the caliber of ideas, experience, and talent around us. We were a little intimidated at times, but we also couldn’t believe our luck. We get to live in a beautiful place based on values we cherish, and the people are fascinating and can solve any problem you put in front of them? And love doing it? Heaven.

Dedicated to TSR

TSRA Board of Directors

Burbank Housing and DCEM Subcommittees, Liaison to the Local Coastal Plan Working Group

Sea Ranch Connect Task Force

Managed member surveys, presented financial models, facilitated workshops and forums, researched the impact on real estate values, and educated local Realtors

Trails Committee

Led Saturday hikes. Contributed Trails Talks on "Azalea Spotting" & "Dogs and The Sea Ranch Trails: In Conversation with Beau"

Short Term Rentals

Worked with Tim Fulkerson on problem definition prior to the STR Task Force formation

 

July 4th Celebration

Organize and present annual July 4th Declaration of Independence reading and celebration

My proudest achievements, beyond being appointed to serve as your Director last August, include revitalizing the Berkeley Public Library Foundation and chairing the Berkeley Redistricting Commission. BPLF was struggling one year into a capital campaign for four new branches during a recession. With two colleagues, we recruited new board members, who elected me President. We raised the money we needed and transitioned BPLF to an ongoing source of private support for the Library, which funds initiatives beyond the public scope.

 

On the Berkeley Redistricting Commission, we had 18 months of public meetings, held largely without rancor but with plenty of debate. We got positive public feedback – nearly unheard of in Berkeley – and our results were uncontested.


I love working with a group of interesting, talented people on issues of public interest and getting things done to benefit my communities. Besides hiking our trails or having conversations with you on our deck overlooking the ocean, this is my absolute favorite thing. (My brothers think I am a complete nerd. That’s okay; I own it!) 

I deeply believe these conversations – whether they are about policy, politics or predictions –  should never take place in an 

echo chamber. I’ve always had friends and formed relationships with people with different perspectives. My running partner and I frequently engage in healthy debate to distract ourselves from the pain of running uphill. I grew up back East in a family of old-fashioned Republicans, so I’m used to being the lone voice. (I think that undermines my brothers’ credibility regarding the nerd comments, but I will leave that to you.) I read about frameworks for discussing controversial topics. I listen to podcasts about intellectual humility and conflict resolution on purpose and not just because I forgot to download “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” before we get to Bodega Bay. It’s not always “fun” listening, but I relish the process of finding the best ideas, the best approaches, the best solutions.

 

I would be thrilled and honored to continue my work on the TSRA Board of Directors. Thank you for your interest in my candidacy and taking time to learn a bit more about what I believe is important. Please reach out with any questions, comments, or interest in attending upcoming in-person and Zoom coffee meetings. I welcome your ideas and input.  

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Professional Experience

Abio Properties, REALTOR® & Associate Broker
2016-Present 

Watson Consulting 

Business Process Improvement, Facilitation, Strategic Execution
2009-2015

Ravenflow, Senior Director of Professional Services

2005-2009


Tall Ship Education Academy, Director

1999-2005

 

Indus International, General Manager

1998-1999

Robertson Stephens & Company, Director
1993-1997 

New York City Public Schools, High School Teacher

1984-1991

MBA - Georgetown University, The McDonough School of Business

BA - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Civic Engagement

Chair, Berkeley Independent Redistricting Commission

2021 - 2022

Berkeley Community Advisory Group

Transit Oriented Housing Development

2019 – 2020

Zero Waste Commissioner

2015 - 2019 

President, Berkeley Public Library Foundation
2011-2015

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