Melissa Stafford Jones is the Executive Director for the First 5 Association of California, where she leads the strategy and direction of the Association, which represents the 58 county First 5 commissions, as well as its complementary Foundation, and the First 5 Center for Children’s Policy. Prior to joining the Association, Melissa was the Executive Director of the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, where she developed strategic initiatives for systems change to address the root causes of poverty and inequitable access to opportunity for low-income children and families in Contra Costa County. Previously, Melissa was a Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and President & CEO of the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. She received her Master of Public Health degree from U.C. Berkeley and her Bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Mary’s College in Moraga.