Carolyn Smith Watts Biography

Carolyn Smith Watts,
Community Activist
(Photo by Andy Witherspoon)

Carolyn Smith Watts is an award-winning public servant
Carolyn Smith Watts
Leadership Long Beach
"Most Impactful Alumni" Award

Carolyn Smith Watts (right front)

BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way edited by Sunny Nash, Foreword by Carolyn Smith Watts


Profiles of African American
Women who made a difference
to the history of Long Beach, 

Edited by Sunny Nash

Foreword by Carolyn Smith Watts
Bobbie SmithAlta Cooke, Carrie Bryant
Dale Clinton & Lillie Mae Wesley (not present) 

Carolyn Smith Watts is an award-winning public servant who has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for Southern California communities.

A community leader with particular emphases on equal employment opportunities for all, fairness in business representation and unbiased social justice, Watts draws a great deal of experience in community work from her former position on the Lansing, Michigan, Police Force 25 years ago, before relocating to Long Beach.


  • Leadership Long Beach "Most Impactful Alumni" Award
  • UCLA Conscious in the Community Award 
  • Women of the Year, Community - State of California Senate
  • Women's Health Leadership State of California


  • LA County Health Dept. Quarter Million Dollar Grant
  • Published & Exhibited Photographer


  • City of Long Beach Civil Service Commission
  • Honorary Board of Governors, Leadership Long Beach 
  • Historical Society of Long Beach Board of Directors
  • Downtown-Buffum Long Beach YMCA Board
  • South Coast Dance Alliance Board
  • Youth Network Board
  • Citizen Police Complaint Commissioner 
  • READY Long Beach Emergency Preparedness Expo Committee Member 

Carolyn Smith Watts co-created with Sunny Nash the study of a group of community women from the civil rights generation, which resulted in a book, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, about twelve African American women, known locally as the Pioneering Dozen who made a difference in the history of Long Beach and Southern California. The significance of the study is its illumination on the subject of preparation.

"My feeling was to pay homage to women in the community," said Watts, oral history consultant. "My thought was to celebrate those women's millions of triumphs and stories. My action was to create a process that exhibits every woman as a thread in the cloth that comprises the tapestry of our community. And these twelve women have contributed over six hundred years of experience to the City of Long Beach. They are deserving of all the honor we can bestow upon them."

Tuttle Cameras Long Beach
Tuttle Cameras Long Beach

The project came as the result of Watts' photograph, which was published on the cover of BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way and also published in the Tuttle Cameras book, ONE CAMERA, and exhibited at the Historical Society of Long Beach.

Networking as a Way of Connecting

Taking networking cues from the women in the study, Watts is also making a difference in Long Beach by using her energy and talent to promote her vision of women's full participation in all levels of government and commerce by helping Long Beach women in earlier stages of their careers to improve their educational and professional preparation to their increase competitiveness and chances of success in all aspects of life. 

Engaged in professional networking, Watts hosts regular gatherings and has led to her founding a women's organization, Thank God I Found You, to inspire women and provide a network for them a method to share ideas and resources, leading to professional opportunities and increased chances to serve the residents of Long Beach. 

Carolyn Smith Watts (center, front) hosts African American women in Sunny Nash Video.

As a small business owner, Watts founded, Boloph’s Specialty, a consulting, marketing and service firm for special events.

Who's Who of Long Beach
A dynamic public speaker and facilitator, Watts' contributions extend to many segments of her Long Beach and surrounding community. For a number of years, she has played an integral role in the Leadership Long Beach Institute, where she herself has become a celebrated member of the community, recently having been honored as a Long Beach leader with the most community impact of the decade.

Who's Who of Long Beach

Among the 25 award-winning alumni, Carolyn Smith Watts was honored during a dinner ceremony commemorating the Silver Anniversary of the Leadership Long Beach Institute. "It is an awesome group," said Jeff Williams, Leadership Long Beach executive director. "The list reads like a who’s who of Long Beach."

Leadership Long Beach Most Impactful Award Carolyn Smith Watts
Carolyn Smith Watts, (right front)

Watts shares the Leadership Long Beach philosophy

  • MISSION: To be a catalyst that informs, activates and connects community leaders to more meaningfully serve Long Beach
  • VISION: To be vital to a positive Long Beach of engaged and dedicated community leaders

Carolyn Smith Watts - FEMA Action Figure

Carolyn Smith Watts, Disaster Action Team (DAT), and the Long Beach Community Emergency Response Team
Carolyn Smith Watts (left)

Watts serves on the American Red Cross Long Beach – Rio Hondo Chapter Disaster Action Team (DAT), and the Long Beach Community Emergency Response Team to provide citizens training required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

DAT--Shelia Taylor and Willie Mussman--leads Pat Lynch, Carolyn Watts Smith, Million Tesfaye, Barbara Seymore and remote lead, Phil Barker, respond to multifamily fire affecting five adults and seven children in Huntington Park, California.

Watts is a former Manager and Corporate Consultant for the Department of Labor at the Long Beach Job Corps Center, where she established modules for personal and career development and worked with over 300 student and staff members, a training model later implemented nationally. As Social Development Director for one of the largest Housing Urban Development (HUD) complexes in the City of Compton, California, Watts' work resulted in the approval of HUD’S Safe Neighborhood Grant and Los Angeles County Health Dept. Tobacco Control Alliance grant, totaling a quarter million dollars. 

Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 

~Thank You~ 

Breaking Through Lighting the Way

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