Don Watson

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Don Watson, with his wife Marilyn, 8 May 2019

Donald D.W. "Don" Watson, born (1934-09-22) 22 September 1934 (age 89), is a retired academic and volunteer board member residing in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He was a senior lecturer in mathematics in England before moving in 1967 to Lakehead University where he was Director of Computing Services until his retirement in 1996.

As of 1994 he lived at 44 South Hill Street, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Early life

Don Watson was born 22 September 1934 in the United Kingdom.

Education and Career

Watson attended the elite Kings College School in Wimbledon, England, likely from about 1941 to 1952.

Watson read Mathematics at Brasenose College, at Oxford University, graduating 1956. He was also educated at London University; he had an early career lecturing at colleges in England.

Donald Watson, circa 2004

In 1967, he moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario, where he took positions at Lakehead University, including:

  • Director of Computing Services and
  • Director of Reengineering

He retired in 1996.

Volunteer Experience

Since at least 1984 Watson has served on numerous community and charitable boards, including:

  • Volunteer Thunder Bay
  • The George Jeffrey Children's Treatment Centre
  • Leadership Thunder Bay
  • The Lakehead Social Planning Council
  • The Ontario Association of Children's Rehabilitation Services
  • The Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras
  • The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra
  • The Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras
  • Thunder Bay Kiwanis

Watson has also written The Board Member's Companion, which he originally self-published on a website in 2004 called "" but as of 2019 it is no longer accessible from there; it is available from Internet Archive, however. [2]

Specifics are always questionable and can never be infallible. Nevertheless, it is easier to achieve a good result by modifying specifics than by starting from generalities.

— Don Watson, The Board Member's Companion, 2004

Since 1996, in retirement, he continued to serve on community boards until at least 2004, and possibly as late as 2019 or beyond.

You can never have too much perspicacity.

— Don Watson, "favourite quote" listed on Facebook [1]

The Board Member's Companion

In June 2003 Volunteer Thunder Bay published a book, The Board Member's Companion, written by Watson, under ISBN 0-9733508-0-6. After further revisions, Watson published it again, this time self-publishing as a collection of 3 PDF files on a website, in September 2004.

To write this book he drew from his extensive experience on the boards of directors for not-for-profit organizations. The Board Member's Companion outlined a model that he intended to encompass all types of boards.

The ENDS Model provides a simple way of seeing all boards of all kinds as the same. It breaks the subject into components that are easy to explain. Success factors for each component can then be developed independently.

While most of these success factors support John Carver (“Boards that make a Difference”, Jossey-Bass, 1990), the differences enable the book to suit a much wider range of board types.

A board is defined as an entity with four parameters. Everything any board is, does or produces derives from one or other of these four parameters.

By adjusting parameter content, any board can be modeled. The underlined letters of the parameter titles form the acronym (“ENDS”).

— Don Watson, The Board Member's Companion
Letter Title Description
E Ends/Framework The high-level organizational activities and guidelines that are the Board's main responsibility.
N Nurture Board member work outside board meetings.
D Decisions Formal decision-making within board meetings.
S aSsignment The assignment of specific responsibilities and tasks to individuals and groups reporting to the Board.

[His] experiences have provided an abundance of material on which to base his book. He likes to get things right, which is why it has taken four editions to finish the book.

— Don Watson, The Board Member's Companion website [2]

How I wish I had this book when I started out as a member of my first board 30 years ago... I believe it is the best on the subject I have read.

— Dusty Miller, former Mayor of Thunder Bay

The Board Member's Companion fills a gap in the the literature by covering the ground that a non-profit board member needs. Because it was written as a volunteer project, it may be downloaded for free by anyone, anywhere.

It is easy & enjoyable to read & understand, specific with many examples and full of useful information. Everything in it has been tested and shown to work. Earlier versions of the book had excellent reviews (click on the "Reviews" button). For information on the author (click on "Author").

The fourth edition is split into 3 parts, which may be downloaded separately as long as each part is used in its entirety:

Part A

Is a Board Orientation Guide that uses the simple ENDS model (Click on the "Ends Model" button) to explain roles and demonstrate the key factors that bring success to all boards, both large and small.

Parts B & C

Describe Methods for achieving the factors that bring board success (including governance policies, ends policies, strategic policies, teams, committees, meetings, strategic and tactical planning, performance reviews, solutions & selections, document quality, asking, recruitment).

— Don Watson, The Board Member's Companion website [3]

Marriage and family

Watson married Marilyn (maiden name unknown, born 2 October, year unknown) on 11 November 1976. They appear to have had at least one child, since Watson's Facebook profile lists a granddaughter, Haley Olivia. [5]

His wife, Marilyn Watson, was also a volunteer board member, serving in 2015 as Chair of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Orillia. [4]


Don Watson's email as of 2004 is [3]


[1] LinkedIn, 2019. [5]

[2] Blue Pages; Professionally Speaking (The Publication of the Ontario College of Teachers), December 2004 [6]

[3] The Board Member's Companion. Watson, Donald. Internet Archive, 26 November 2004. [7]

[4] Facebook [8]

[5] The Board Member's Companion full book download link: [9]