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Five Questions with E. Marie Watson


As the world continues to grapple with the impact of the pandemic, E. Marie Watson, executive director of Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, Inc., finds that she is frustrated by the sluggish pace of receiving reimbursements for the programs her agency operates. Her workspace is fairly new, constructed in 2011, and she finds it an excellent facility in which to provide services to her local community. “We just can’t find enough employees for our Head Start Program,” she said. Learn more about Ms. Watson in this Five Questions with a Community Action Leader feature.


What are some lessons learned that you would share with women trying to navigate their professional and personal lives?

Women have to believe they are worthy of their positions. You have to treat people with respect, and they will help you to accomplish whatever task you are working to complete. Most women are nurturers which enables them to perform well in the workplace and at home. My faith in Christ has enabled me to meet several challenges and learn how to work with employees and my family.


What attracted you to nonprofit work?

It is my mission to work with people who have given up having a better life. I really just needed a job at that time, but I have since learned it was my calling.


What advice would you give your younger self?

I should know I am capable of being a good leader and don’t let people stop me.


What are some of your favorite words of wisdom?

Put God first and everything else will fall in place.

All things are possible through Jesus Christ.

I am the head and not the tail.

Trust and believe in yourself.


What’s your favorite TV show—and why?

HGTV’s Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines. I love to watch them change a dilapidated house into somewhere you might want to live.


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