President & CEO
Arizona Commerce Authority
Sandra Watson brings more than 20 years of economic development experience to Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted to Arizona hundreds of companies that have invested billions of dollars in capital and created more than 65,000 quality jobs.
In her 16 years with the Arizona Department of Commerce, Ms. Watson served in multiple positions with increasing responsibilities and results. She has managed Business Development, Business Attraction, Workforce and Marketing. She has also served as Director of Innovation and Technology, and she continues to be a leading participant in these sectors.
Ms. Watson began her career in Canada, and brings not only a wealth of knowledge on the regional, state and national levels but can execute effectively on an international scale.
Ms. Watson is a collaborative leader who excels in strategic thinking and relationship building. Most recently, she has worked tirelessly as a leader to implement the exciting new vision for the Arizona Commerce Authority, providing invaluable energy and stability during the transition from the Department of Commerce. Her leadership and Legislature involvement have resulted in consensus and the specific strategies currently being implemented.
Sandra Watson earned an Honors Bachelor of Commerce Degree, and she has completed the Global Leadership Certification Program at the Thunderbird School of Management. In addition to sitting on numerous regional and statewide Boards of Directors, Ms. Watson serves on the National State Science and Technology Institute Board.
In 2004, the Phoenix Business Journal recognized Ms. Watson as an up-and-coming Arizona leader, with its “Forty Under 40″ designation. She is also a two-time recipient of the Arizona Technology Council Chairman’s Award, 2004 and 2010.