Maritza Kelley is the Senior Director of Advocacy and Legislative Affairs for First Focus. In this role she works closely with the First Focus team to implement legislative and policy strategies to support First Focus’ priority initiatives.
Maritza brings to First Focus advocacy experience at both the federal and state levels. Before coming to First Focus, Maritza worked as an Associate at the Ibarra Strategy Group, where she handled a diverse portfolio of non-profit and corporate clients, advancing their public policy goals with elected officials, communities of color and advocacy organizations. Prior to joining ISG, she worked four years at the Texas State Capitol. During the 2009 81st Legislature, she led the policy direction and coordinated consensus building among 44 Members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the largest and oldest Latino caucus in the United States. During the 2007 80th Legislature, she worked as a research analyst at Moak, Casey and Associates, providing in-depth analyses of education legislation for client school districts.
Maritza attended graduate school at the University of Texas Austin, receiving a Master’s of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a Master’s of Arts from the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. In 2008, she was selected to join a team of researchers to execute the study, “Risk and Vulnerability Assessment in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic,” which received the 2010 American Planning Association National Award for Best Applied Research Project. In 2007, she was the recipient of a Ford Motor Company Social Enterprise Fellowship to provide consultation to an NGO in Puebla, Mexico.
Maritza also currently serves as Vice President of the Hispanic Lobbyists Association. She is a native speaker of Spanish.