When you work with the Katz Watson Group, you are guaranteed a solid, committed team of creative, communicative, and collaborative professionals.

Fran Katz Watson, founder and president of The Katz Watson Group, has been active in the political and fundraising arenas for the last 10 election cycles. She began her career in college working for the Democratic Party of Virginia as well as the congressional candidate from her hometown of Norfolk, Virginia.

Prior to founding The Katz Watson Group in 1999, she served as the National Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and, in 2000, managed national fundraising for Senator Joe Lieberman’s run for Vice President.

Previously, Fran served in various political and fundraising positions for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and several gubernatorial and US Senate races.

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Lauren France joined the Katz Watson Group in 2007 as a summer intern and has grown with the company to her current position as Senior Vice President.

She thrives on planning fundraising trips, helping clients establish better organizational systems, writing finance plans, and integrating new software to ensure state-of-the art technology for all our clients.

Lauren earned her BA in sociology from George Washington University.

Amanda Hart joined the Katz Watson Group as a finance assistant upon graduating from college in June 2020. She was promoted to finance associate just six months later.

She earned two degrees at the University of Maryland: a BA in government and politics and another in English language and literature. She also completed several political internships, including one with the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

Johnson Smith has been involved in campaigns on State & Federal levels since 2018. Before joining Katz Watson Group, he worked as the Deputy Finance Director for Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for Governor of TX. Johnson also worked for Amy McGrath for US Senate (KY), Jeff Jackson for US Senate (NC), Renee Hoyos for Congress (TN-02), and Josh Mers for State Treasurer (KY).

Johnson enjoys crafting effective finance plans, creating productive call time & events programs, and developing national fundraising strategies. Johnson attended Transylvania University in Lexington, KY.

Karen Darkes is an innovative, results-driven Fundraising & Campaign Consultant with 6+ years managing political fundraising operations for high-profile political clients on a national scale. She excels at owning high-impact operations and takes pride in her capacity to go above and beyond in all aspects of her work.

Pivotal to her applicable expertise in fundraising and campaign is Karen’s capacity to build strategic partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders. She is adept at building out networks and creating new donor and sponsor activity that is essential to targeted campaign goals.

Karen continues to deliver measurable change to national campaigns as a highly reliable consultant with an eye for new growth opportunities. She is an influential change advocate who possesses the know-how to take fundraising strategy to the next level.

Karen is a 2013 graduate of Morgan State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Outside of the office, Karen is involved in national volunteer organizations such as the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Metropolitan Washington, DC Chapter and Jack and Jill of America Inc., Greater Suburban Maryland Chapter and serves in leadership in both chapters.

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