Residents Step Up to Leadership

Maybe it’s because you want a better education for your kids. Or maybe you started exercising in the local parks and wanted to see some changes. Or perhaps it’s simply because you grew up in a family that was active in their community.

Whatever the reason, thank goodness for those leaders in our communities who step up, volunteer and advocate for change. They aim to provide a voice for their neighbors, friends and fellow community members.

As Bay Meadows grows into its own as a new neighborhood, more of our residents are participating in civic life. It might be as simple as joining the local social committee.

A number of neighbors have stepped up to community leadership. The Bay Meadows Neighborhood Alliance, with Kelly Moran at the helm as President, “represents homeowners, residents, and businesses within the Bay Meadows neighborhood through outreach and cooperation with the City of San Mateo as well other agencies and organizations active within the city and Bay Meadows.”

Or civic leadership might mean running for elected office.

That’s the case with community leader Shara Watkins. Shara is a longtime Bay Meadows resident who is running for San Mateo-Foster City School Board. We caught up with Shara to learn more about her interest in local leadership.

Shara Watkins, candidate for San Mateo-Foster City School Board

Q. Had you ever run for office before?
A. This is my first time running for office.

Q. Were you involved in politics in high school or college?
A. I was pretty active in politics in college. I spent a summer as an intern in Secretary Clinton’s office and was a volunteer on Senator Kerry’s presidential campaign.

Q. We see that you’ve been a teacher and currently work in education. How long has it been on your mind to run for school board?  
A. I have dedicated my professional career to education and to the students in my local community. As a committed San Mateo resident, and motivated by the current political climate, I decided there is no better time than now to get involved.

Q. Do you feel there’s anything particular from your experience at Bay Meadows that has shaped your interest in getting involved in your community?
Bay Meadows is an incredible neighborhood and am grateful for the opportunity I have had to engage with my community. Owning a home and developing a deeper commitment to Bay Meadows, and to San Mateo at large, inspired me to broaden my reach. I’m looking forward to continuing to give back to the students, families, teachers, and San Mateo-Foster City community in a way that leverages my expertise and continues the trajectory of excellent schools for all kids.

Q. What advice would you give to folks who are looking for a way to get more involved in their community? 
A. There’s never a perfect time and there’s no right way to participate more actively. The only way our democracy works is when family, friends, neighbors, and you get involved! I’m always happy to chat with anyone that is looking to make a bigger impact. rates Bay Meadows high on the list for walkable locations to live on the San Francisco Peninsula and for good reason! Why? Because we are steps from shopping (Hillsdale Center), groceries (Whole Foods), parks, a farmer’s market and an easy bike-ride from downtown San Mateo with its burgeoning restaurant scene. San Mateo’s shared Bay Bikes are on-site, so no need to own your own. And Caltrain is a quick stroll from anywhere in the neighborhood. Learn all about connecting the dots for your many transportation options with Connect San Mateo.