• President & CEO, Pinellas County Urban League
  • Grow Smarter Steering Committee Member 

Rev. Watson L. Haynes II, President & CEO of the Pinellas County Urban League, which serves as a change agent to address generational poverty with the major focus areas of Economic Development, Housing, Education and Health Initiatives. The service areas of the Pinellas County Urban League include 24 municipalities in Pinellas County, the Tampa Bay area and Marion, Hernando, Sumter, Lake, Seminole and Pasco counties.

Rev. Haynes is a popular public speaker, consultant and trainer in governmental and non-profit operations and education. He served as the Education and Community Outreach Project Coordinator, Academic and Student Affairs, St. Petersburg College and is a retired employee of the Florida Department of Labor.

He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (a water policy taxing authority covering 16 counties and serving 3.5 million residents). As a member of the Governing Board, he also served as Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee, Diversity Chairman, and representative of the Board on the Green Industry Advisory Committee. He also served as co-chair ex-officio for the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board and as the District representative on the Governing Board of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

Rev. Haynes was appointed by Governor Charlie Crist to the Florida Commission on Human Relations, and was re-appointed by Governor Rick Scott in 2011. He represented the commission as a member of the Center for Public Safety Innovation (CPSI) Florida Regional Community Policing Institute and served on the majority of the discrimination case review panels.

Over the past 30 years, Rev. Haynes has held positions on numerous governmental boards and commissions including Chair of the Charter Review Commission, Chair of the Social Action Funding Committee, Chair of the Pinellas Community Foundation and Trustee on the Gulf Coast Legal Services Community Law Program. He is a past member of the Charitable Solicitations Board. He was appointed by the Pinellas County Commission as a member of the Health Facilities Finance Authority and the Social Action and Mental Health Funding Advisory Board, member of the Pinellas County Transit Alternatives Stakeholder Committee for Economic Development. He serves on the boards of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Associated Marine Institute (AMI) Kids, and is a member of the Pinellas Education Foundation P4PS Committee (Parents for Pinellas Students) as well as a founding member and former Chair of COQEBS (Concerned Organizations for Quality Education for Black Students).

Rev. Haynes holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from National Louis University, a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Eckerd College where he served as a member of the President’s Advisory Council and is a graduate of the Eckerd College Leadership Development Institute. He has an Associate in Arts Degree from St. Petersburg College where, in 2007, he was recognized as an outstanding Alumnus and more recently in 2012 was honored by the College and its Board of Trustees for outstanding service to the College and community. He received an AA degree in Theology from the Florida Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida and was the first African American elected Senior Class President at St. Petersburg High School. He is the Co-Chaplain for the Eta Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and an Associate Minister at New Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church.