Shelley Carthen Watson

President and Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Minneapolis

Shelley is the President and CEO of YWCA Minneapolis. A nationally-renowned public higher education labor and employment law expert, she previously served as Senior Associate General Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at the University of Minnesota. Prior to her role at the University of Minnesota, Shelley was a partner with the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. A former Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Shelley also served as Executive Director of the Hennepin County Bar Association and Hennepin County Bar Foundation. Shelley received her BA from Macalester College, and her J.D. from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

A former Macalester College trustee, Shelley has served as a board member with both YWCA Minneapolis and Vice-Chair of YWCA St. Paul; Planned Parenthood of North Central States; Minnesota Black Women Lawyers Association, The Blake School and The Blake School Learning Works; Minneapolis/St. Paul (MN) Chapter of The Links Incorporated, former President of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Minneapolis Chapter; Board Chair of WATCH; Interest For Others; The Playwrights’ Center; Minnesota Minority Lawyers Association; The Fund for the Legal Aid Society; Twin Cities co-chair of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association, National Association of College and University Attorneys. and the Courage Center. Shelley currently serves on the boards of Children’s Minnesota, Minneapolis Parks Foundation, Minneapolis Downtown Council, Northwestern Pritzker Law School Fund Board, and the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal Women’s Leadership Council.

Shelley has continually been recognized for both her professional and community activities. Her professional accolades include the Minnesota Lawyer In-House Counsel Award, recognized as a Top Assistant General Counsel by First Chair, an annual national selection of in-house counsel who have made significant contributions to the legal community; and the National Association of College