Executive Transition Consultant

Consultant Details:

Contact: Lisa Watson
Name of Firm: Watson Consulting Group
Language Spoken: English
Website/LinkedIn URL: www.consultingwatson.com

Consultant Expertise

Organizational assessments, Board development, Executive coaching, Transition consulting & project management, DEI, Communications strategy

Program Areas

Arts and Culture, Community and Economic Development, Education, Human Services, Philanthropy

Legal Structure of Organization:

Sole Proprietorship

Year Practice Founded:


Number of Individuals in Firm:


Names and Titles of Individuals in Firm:

Lisa Watson
Molly Moen
Senior Consultant
Irene Marsh-Elmer
Senior Project Manager
Zaneta Smith
Project Manager
Lauren Bartlett

Firm or Consultant Address:

1025 Hope Street

RFQ Contact Name:

Lisa Watson

RFQ Contact Phone:


Geographic area currently served by firm (select all that apply):

Los Angeles

How would you describe the range of diversity reflected in your firm’s consultants and leadership (or self, if sole practitioner)?

WCG is a LGBTQ+- and woman-led organization committed to gender equity and an end to racism. Our full-time and part-time staff and consultants have diverse backgrounds, and many identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+. Our hiring process includes strategies for actively recruiting team members with a range of life experiences.

Please describe your mission, values, and approach:

Mission: Watson Consulting Group offers mission-driven consulting services in support of government, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations through pursuing complex organizational change, leadership initiatives, and systems change work aimed at uplifting vulnerable communities. Values: Equity: Equity and inclusion are core to our work. Our projects focus on supporting organizations dedicated to uplifting marginalized communities, valuing and empowering the voices of those they serve. Integrity: We honor the trust our clients put in us and hold ourselves to the highest standards of personal and professional integrity. We value honest, clear communication based in compassion. Collaboration: Collaboration is central to all work in the nonprofit sector. We believe that everyone has valuable knowledge based on their experiences, that collaboration makes us stronger, and that social impact requires the cooperation of many dedicated partners. Approach: WCG prides itself on contributing to the healthy and sustainable development of nonprofits serving our communities, with a focus on supporting and advancing leaders within agencies and uplifting talent within the sector to meet the ever-growing demand for visionary and effective leadership. Our passion lies with supporting success on behalf of agencies and individuals working at the forefront of change, typically challenged to achieve their mission with limited resources. We do not use out-of-the-box products nor do we have a one-size-fits-all approach to anything we do. We approach all projects from the point of view of shared leadership and inclusion, co-constructing our approaches in collaboration with our clients to meet their individual needs.

What expertise or perspective do you bring to organizations looking to ground their collaboration practices in values of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

All WCG staff are trained in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and several staff members have extensive expertise in facilitating DEI trainings and working with organizations to craft comprehensive DEI plans. Equity is a core value of our firm and a lens through which we approach every project. Our team has a wide variety of professional experience, but everyone has worked in the nonprofit sector. Our staff also come from a wide variety of lived experiences and are committed to lifting up nonprofits that are working with the most vulnerable communities across Los Angeles.

Please describe your ideal engagement. Feel free to include issue area and scope of project:

We do not have a cookie cutter approach to projects and recognize every client and every transition is unique, thus, it is difficult to describe an ideal process. However, key elements of a successful transition process/engagement would include: • Determining the purpose, process, and timeline for the transition, including the roles and responsibilities of a Board Transition Committee • Determining an exit plan/calendar for the departing leader, including expectations, transition contract and celebration, and support needed for other leaders within the organization • Providing transition coaching support to the departing leader and Board Chair • Providing leadership coaching/training for the remaining members of the staff leadership team • Developing a transition/onboarding plan for the new leader • Providing non-recruiting support for the hiring process

How many executive-transition related projects have you or your firm been involved with?


Please describe your fee structure:

Our fees structure varies according to the needs of the client. We are very transparent on costs and work with potential clients to develop a scope of work that meets their needs and their budget.

What percentage of your clients are within the nonprofit sector?

Approximately 85%

Are you open to remote engagements?


Briefly name and describe 1-3 examples of executive transitions with which you have been involved as a consultant (please prioritize NSI-funded and/or LA-based organizations).

Center for the Pacific Asian Family, a nationally recognized pioneer in the work of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse services, was facing the departure of its Executive Director after nearly two decades in the role. WCG has provided support to the Board Transition Committee, developed the new CEO job description, and crafted exit and onboarding plans for the departing and incoming leaders. The Industry, an artist-driven opera company, shifted their organizational structure from a model containing a single artistic director to a cooperative of three artistic directors. WCG supported the board and ED through this decision-making process. Downtown Women’s Center, an organization serving homeless and formerly homeless women, was undergoing an executive transition. Lisa Watson served as Interim CEO, conducted an organizational assessment, supported the board through the hiring process (including planning, development of job descriptions, and interviews), onboarded the new CEO, and oversaw professional development of other executive leadership staff.

Add any other information you feel would aid in understanding the value you or your consulting firm can bring to an organization preparing for or implementing an executive transition:

Lisa Watson, Principal, has personal experience serving as a long-term Executive Director who transitioned. In addition to expertise derived from studying executive transition and consulting agencies undergoing transition, she brings her personal experience and lessons learned to this work. Our team is also highly skilled in supporting effective boards of directors and helping them to understand their most important roles during transition. Additionally, WCG recognizes the importance of organizational culture and how acknowledgement and incorporation of culture is important for a successful transition. Transitions are a crucial time period where organizations have the opportunity to thoroughly reflect on their practices and values to ensure that they are well positioned to make a positive impact on the communities they serve. WCG is committed to supporting organizations through this important process.

Please list up to 5 Consultants from your firm

Lisa Watson Dedicated to positive social change, Lisa Watson began her career in the nonprofit sector over twenty years ago. As Executive Director and later CEO of The Downtown Women’s Center from 2000 through 2014, she provided leadership through DWC’s transformation from a small agency that served 300 homeless women annually into a nationally recognized homeless services organization and anchor agency within Los Angeles County. With a focus on eliminating barriers to ending homelessness, Lisa Watson worked to dramatically expand the capacity of DWC to serve residents of Skid Row. From 2015 to 2018 Lisa served as the Inaugural Director of The Laspa Center for Leadership at Scripps College. Under her leadership, the center strived to create a diverse community of knowledgeable women leaders who are prepared to take on global challenges and advance the role of women in contemporary leadership positions. Lisa’s years of experience working with business planning, fund development, financial and social impact analysis, and strategy complement her MBA and inform her expertise. She is proficient in helping nonprofits succeed in meeting their financial and social goals, and adept at strategic partnerships. She is also experienced in entrepreneurial endeavors, having developed three social enterprises from the ground up. lisa@consultingwatson.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-watson-8737b46/ Molly Moen Molly Moen brings over 20 years of nonprofit management and development experience to her role at Watson Consulting Group. In senior leadership positions at both Chrysalis and Downtown Women’s Center, Molly was responsible for fundraising, communications, and advocacy efforts; guided strategic work on mission, vision, values, intended impact, and theory of change; provided oversight for fiscal management; led Board development work; and more, ensuring both the funds and strategic capacity for dramatic organizational growth. Molly has also worked with Phoenix Houses of California and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. She is passionate about helping organizations build the capacity they need to achieve their mission and helping communities work towards resilience and equity. Molly holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Wells College and a Master’s in International Business from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School. molly@consultingwatson.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/molly-moen-9638a0/ Irene Marsh-Elmer Irene Marsh-Elmer’s strong belief in social equity has driven her education and career. As a workshop facilitator with the Set to Create program at the Downtown Women’s Center, Irene encouraged women to cultivate their talents while earning an income selling handmade items. Passionate about the role of policy in improving economic equity, health outcomes, and quality of life, Irene completed degrees in Public Policy and Public Health from Claremont Graduate University. She strongly believes in the power of research and evaluation to improve the impact of nonprofits and governmental organizations who serve marginalized and underserved populations. From 2018-2021, Irene administered federal, state, and local grants at the Lake County Community Development Division, where she specialized in programs focused on housing, homelessness, and human services. irene@consultingwatson.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/irene-marsh-elmer-65058849/ Zaneta Smith Zaneta brings 10+ years of experience with non-profits and social enterprises to her role with the Watson Consulting Group. A former White House Intern in the Obama Administration, Zaneta discovered she had a knack for explaining macro-level data to the masses. She returned to Los Angeles to serve high-risk young adult populations at the beginning of Assembly bill 109 being instituted in CA. Her training in clinical practice & social enterprises while pursuing her master’s of Social Work (MSW) led her to serve various social enterprises in Los Angeles including, Downtown Women’s Center and LA Kitchen. The latter at which she created clinical programming to increase impact and long-term outcomes. Zaneta developed a passion and expertise for workforce development often working in tandem with housing professionals. Zaneta has a desire for macro level work and systems change to better assist direct-service professionals. She received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Spelman College. zaneta@consultingwatson.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/zaneta-j-smith-msw-3152013b/ Lauren Bartlett Lauren provides social change-based leadership development for nonprofit leaders and agencies. Lauren received her BA in Ethnic Studies from Mills College where she also served as the Coordinator of Engagement and Inclusion, leading support services for first-generation college students and leading underrepresented student retention programs at the Social Justice Resources Center. She has facilitated social justice programming ranging on topics of social identity, inclusion, oppression, power, privilege, and liberation. Lauren has specialized in providing leadership development and student support services and participated in AmeriCorps Public Allies, advocating for better access to community resources. Lauren’s interests include staff wellness and morale, retention, engagement, and diversity and inclusion work with agencies and individuals from underrepresented communities and coaching support to developing young leaders of color. lauren@consultingwatson.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-t-bartlett/

Do you always conduct an organizational assessment as a part of your scope of work?

How (or do) you involve senior staff and other stakeholders in the process

Prior to narrowing the pool of candidates for a client, do you make it a practice to share the full list of applicants with the client?

Do you identify/place interim executives?

Do you have a minimum fee?

What percentage of your searches are for LA-based organizations?

What is your track record of placing BIPOC candidates?

Do you have a guarantee policy or an “off-limits” policy?