Katrina Watson Named by The Birmingham Business Journal as a 2023 Woman to Watch

Every year, The Birmingham Business Journal highlights women who are leaders in their organizations and who are predicted to make a significant positive impact within the Birmingham business world. Honorees will be recognized at the annual Women’s Summit. United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) is proud to announce that our very own Katrina Watson, Senior Vice President of Community Impact, is being recognized this year.

“Lifting as we climb” is central to the way Katrina lives her life. She prioritizes providing professional development opportunities for those around her, knowing that stronger people create stronger organizations, which in turn create stronger communities.

In her role as Senior Vice President of Community Impact at UWCA, Katrina and her team are responsible for allocating approximately $30 million annually to nonprofits serving the six-county area around Birmingham. Katrina has added professional development as an offering to United Way’s 79 partner agencies. She mentors other professionals to help develop their skills, build meaningful connections and navigate unfamiliar situations. In fact, Katrina is a recipient of the UAB MPA Alumni Society’s Sam Gaston Excellence in Mentoring Award; and two of her mentees have obtained new jobs with increasing responsibilities. Katrina speaks regularly to nonprofit management students and has taught two fundraising courses at UAB.

Katrina is a positive force who encourages people to focus on their strengths. She encourages them to be prepared for their current and future opportunities, with a focus on their accomplishments, natural skills and experience as motivational factors. Throughout her career, she has strived to build people up, believing that we are stronger together.

As UWCA adds a place-based strategy to its work, in alignment with its strategic plan, Katrina is encouraging her team to make deeper connections with community members, because she believes building genuine relationships increases connection, understanding and empathy. She understands that a community is not just a place, but is made of individuals with important experiences, emotions and hopes. Therefore, community members from the areas where United Way is working will be introduced to serve on UWCA committees and help make decisions.

Invested in community, Katrina currently serves on the Alabama Committee on Credentialling and Career Pathways Technical Advisory Committee for Human Services, an appointment she received in 2020 by Governor Kay Ivey. Katrina has previously served as Treasurer of the UAB MPA Alumni Society, Governance Chair of the Children’s Policy Cooperative of Jefferson County, Long Range Planning Committee Chair of the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees and Secretary of the Birmingham Change Fund.

Katrina is a 2023 graduate of Momentum’s Executive Leaders Program, 2022 graduate of Alabama Leadership Initiative and a 2020 graduate of Leadership Birmingham. She has been recognized as a Top Influencer Under 40 by Birmingham Magazine and as a Rising Star by UAB’s National Alumni Society. The Birmingham Business Journal has named Katrina a Top 40 Under 40, Who’s Who in Workforce Development Birmingham, Who’s Who in Nonprofits and an Executive of Influence.

Katrina has made a lasting impact already in her career by accomplishing things such as increasing The Literacy Council’s annual revenue by 33% when she was the Executive Director and helping that organization earn The Birmingham Business Journal’s 2018 Nonprofit Award for agencies with budgets between $500,000 and $1,000,000. With the strides she has made and is making in a people-centric approach to her work, there is no doubt that she is a “woman to watch” in the next phase of her career.