Charna Widby serves as the  Chief Government Affairs Officer for First 5 LA’s Office of Government Affairs and Public Policy. Prior to First 5 LA’s 2020 organizational restructuring, Charna was promoted to an Interim role as Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs from March 2020 to November 2020. Previously, she served as the Senior Policy Strategist managing the Family Strengthening and Health-Related Systems portfolio in the Public Policy and Government Affairs Department of First 5 LA. Charna’s years as a private sector lobbyist as well as background in nonprofit management and direct services have given her a keen eye and instinct for innovative service delivery systems and political strategy.

Prior to joining First 5 LA, Charna was a Director at The Raben Group, a D.C.-based lobbying and public affairs firm. She previously co-owned  Little Ladder, an early childhood development and behavioral intervention company in Washington. She has previously served as the Clinical Program Director for an early intervention and home visiting provider in Washington State, Wonderland Developmental Center. Her prior experience also included roles as the Advocacy Manager for Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Program Manager of California Institute for Health Systems Performance and Clinical Behaviorist for Teaching Autistic Children.

Charna earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago. She also earned her Master Certificate in Public Health from the University of Iowa as well as her Master in Public Policy and Master in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University.