The Molina Family Profiles: Janet Molina-Watt
Janet Molina-Watt knows something about taking a different path in life. One of the three daughters of Dr. C. David and Mary Molina, she is not in the family business, Molina Healthcare. It doesn’t mean that, as a young Molina, she didn’t work with her siblings in the business.
“Well, mom and dad have always said,” begins Janet Molina-Watt, “Do what you want. They never said anything about being in the business.”
Her bio describes Janet Molina-Watt as a “Community leader and lifelong resident of Long Beach who is actively involved in contributing to the local education system.” It’s a life that has grown out of her ability to follow her passions, always encouraged by her parents.
“So, there was never any pressure to become a doctor, to go into the family business.”
Following Her Own Path
Molina-Watt started in college with theatre arts at Long Beach City college. Then, she found a stepping stone to her calling at California State University, Long Beach when she met an interior designer who was doing some work for her parents.
“I enjoyed the problem solving. I enjoyed the creativity and the design.”
When she finished her degree, she decided she wanted more. “I want to do more than that. I want to take over the design of an entire building. Have it from start to finish.” So, she received her master’s in Architecture at California State University, Pomona. “And I was supported the whole way.”
But Molina Healthcare was never far behind. “Well, we all worked in it growing up. And then, when I was in college, I continued to work there.” However, Molina-Watt and her husband continued to work at Molina Healthcare through college doing billing.
As fate would have it, there was an architect working with Molina Healthcare building the Family Practice offices.
“He actually took me on and I worked with him. So, I got a lot of practical experience.” When she graduated, she went to work with an architectural firm.
A Detour for Janet Molina-Watt
From helping out at Molina Healthcare to Interior Design to starting her own architectural firm with a classmate, Janet Molina-Watt took a detour into education. That detour came as a result of the need for a preschool for her second child.
“We were looking around. We had a great preschool for our first son and then when our daughter was ready to go and I was pregnant with our third one and I just couldn’t drive that far.”
The family began looking for schools closer to them with the same philosophy as their first son’s school.
“But I didn’t see something that really fulfilled our needs. So, my husband jokingly says Why don’t open your own preschool?”
And she did. It’s called the Little Owl Preschool in Long Beach. Her love of education comes from her parents. “Mom and Dad were always, of course they’re teachers, so I think it was innate in them…they really fostered this love of learning. They wanted us to read.”
Exploration was also important for the Molina family. “They didn’t want a lot of organized activities. They were more interested in us doing things exploring.”
Community and Janet Molina-Watt
Janet Molina-Watt and her husband have talked about what legacy they want to leave behind. “We have a saying We’re not in this for ourselves alone. I read that quote a long time ago and he and I thought that really says it all.”
For the Watt family, as well as her siblings, their connection to Long Beach is special. As a Leadership Long Beach alumnus, Ms. Molina-Watt and two of her fellow classmates worked to design and raise funds to light the Queensway Bay Bridge that leads to the Queen Mary. Over the years, she has served on various community boards including The Department of Health and Human Services, Fairfield YMCA and the Long Beach Ballet.
“We are so ingrained in the community and making it the best place it can be and teaching our children the same thing.”