Karen E. Watson is a strategic marketing and communications and policy consultant whose practice centers on using consumer market research, advertising techniques, and stakeholder coalition building to create greater public demand for healthier behaviors and the adoption of new cultural norms. Her work centers on promoting food as medicine.
Watson established a business vertical at Nielsen to sell data, analytics and solutions to the government and public sector in order to match the interests of public policy entities, domestic and global, to Nielsen’s broad array of information and services. She was the primary driver and strategist behind the innovative “Drink Up” project, a national public health campaign to encourage Americans to drink more water. Before that role, she was Chief Communications Officer at Nielsen.
Watson has more than 30 years of experience in policy, public affairs, government relations, media and marketing. As head of the public policy office for Echostar, during the introduction of satellite TV, she advocated for competitive choice for consumers. As chief communications officer for the FCC during the mid 90’s, she translated complicated communications policies during the revision of the 1930 Telecommunications Act, Watson’s early career was as a journalist for PBS, National Public Radio and The MacNeil/Lehrer Report.
Watson is also a visiting researcher at Imperial College Business School in London, where she works at The Centre for Health Economics and Policy Innovation. She has lectured graduate students at McGill University, Oxford University, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Columbia University.
She is an investor in Farmer’s Fridge and an executive board member of The Center for Good Food Purchasing, the Gold Foundation and an advisory board member of several food and tech startups. She also advises Esther Dyson’s Wellville initiative and the Obama Foundation’s effort on Civic engagement.