Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

After 22 Years EOI’s Policy Director Will Retire May 1, 2022

EOI Celebrates Dr. Marilyn Watkins’ Remarkable Career


After 22 remarkable years of dedication, service, and leadership, EOI Policy Director Dr. Marilyn Watkins is retiring from full-time employment on May 1, 2022. With sadness for our team but joy for Marilyn in this next chapter, the EOI board and staff congratulate Marilyn on an inspiring and impactful career and thank her for her immense contributions to our organization and state. 

Marilyn’s commitment to shaping compassionate, responsive, and humane policy solutions for Washington has ensured that our state leads the nation in fair and equitable workplace policies. It is not an overstatement to say Marilyn’s work passing critical measures for family economic security alongside coalition partners has led to improved quality of life for hundreds of thousands across our state. 

During her tenure at EOI, Marilyn played an instrumental role in the development, passage and implementation of Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program and led EOI’s policy team to other major victories including the Equal Pay and Opportunity Act, Paid Sick Leave, Cascade Care, and more. Marilyn also co-founded Family Values @ Work, a consortium of 27 coalitions helping spur the movement for family-friendly workplace policies nationwide. To this day, she still advises lawmakers and advocates across the country on the equitable Paid Family and Medical Leave policy.

Marilyn’s impact on EOI’s internal growth and transformation has been just as significant. We thank her for her contributions shaping our mission and values, mentoring many across the field and developing the next generation of leaders at EOI. 

“Over the past two decades, Marilyn has been at the forefront of progressive policy in Washington. Our state has been a leader in equitable workplace policies and has pioneered a paid family leave program that is well ahead of our national standards. Marilyn has been a critical leader in both of these policy area,” says Michael Tamayo, EOI Board President.

EOI’s staff and Board of Directors understand leadership transitions present both risks and opportunities and are therefore conducting a thorough review of staff and board capacity, strengths, and growth areas. In the coming months, we will conclude our internal review and thoughtfully structure a new leadership position to best serve the organization, state, and the candidate who will fill the position.

We thank our allies, coalition partners, and friends for their continued support during this transition. We invite you to join us as we celebrate Marilyn’s exemplary leadership and decades of service by sending your best wishes or sharing a favorite story, memory, or photo in our digital card. Please add your note by Wednesday, April 27th.

You can also join us on Zoom on Thursday, April 21st, at 5:00pm for our legislative wrap-up event, where we will take some time to reflect on our wins under Marilyn’s leadership.

  • Leave a Reply
    • Senator Steve Conway

      Marilyn has been an incredible resource in developing legislation for working families. Her knowledge and ability to share that perspective was critical to our legislative work on unemployment policy, minimum wage, sick leave, etc She was respected by all. And I hope will continue to assist on policy in building economic justice for all Washingtonians. Congrats on your retirement!

      Apr 18 2022 at 8:53 PM

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