Meet the Staff

Siana Amos

Siana Amos

Administrative Coordinator

Siana Amos is the Administrative Coordinator for First 5 Association of California. Prior to joining the Association, Siana supported communications, community outreach, and regional sustainability initiatives with the County of San Diego, and volunteer management and advocacy efforts through her work with Voices for Children. She brings expertise in program coordination, project management, and nonprofit development as well as a deep passion for supporting children and families. Siana received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Public Service and Community Engagement and her Master of Nonprofit Administration degree from University of San Francisco.

Courtney Armstrong

Director of Government Affairs

Courtney Armstrong is the Director of Government Affairs for First 5 Association. Prior to joining the Association, Courtney worked in HIV, hepatitis C and STD policy and advocacy, serving as the Senior Policy Officer at the LA County Department of Public Health's Division of HIV and STD Programs and before that as the Vice President of Policy at San Francisco AIDS Foundation. In those roles, she was responsible for directing local and statewide legislative, budget and administrative advocacy work, and aligning the organization with partnership opportunities. She also provided leadership and coordination of the California End the Epidemics Coalition, a coalition of organizations and health departments from across the state calling on the Governor and Legislature to end the HIV, viral hepatitis, STD and overdose epidemics. She received her Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis on Health Policy from the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley.

Tiana Cameron

Communications Associate

For the past 20 years, Tiana has been known as a behind-the-scenes, secret weapon for small to large companies, local to national non-profits, and industry associations. She's worked with organizations such as March of Dimes and Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors to help achieve their goals through strategic branding, digital marketing, project management, and graphic design. When she's not working, she enjoys collecting any and all cat things, karaoke, music theory, Star Trek, and continuous improvement.

Kristine Dobson

Director of Finance and Operations

Kristine Dobson is the Director of Finance and Operations for the First 5 Association of California. Kristine oversees operations and fiscal processes for the organization and projects. Kristine plays an integral role in the organization’s REDI (Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) initiative and other operational goals. Kristine brings expertise, experience and energy across a range of areas including nonprofit operational management, fiscal and grants management, IT, marketing, HR and contracts management. She is a collaborative, proactive systems builder and a creative problem solver with a continuous improvement mindset and skillset. Kristine has a background in operations executive leadership in technology startup companies and recently completed her law degree and passed the California State Bar Examination.

Lilea Durán

Lilea Durán

Network Director

Lilea brings a decade of experience in early learning and community building and has a strong familiarity with our First 5 Network. During her tenure at First 5 Napa County, Lilea has focused on holding equity and social justice at the center of their work to ensure all children and families are served with honor and dignity and all sectors prioritize them. Lilea developed a bilingual resource for early childhood providers to promote gender and diverse family inclusion in early learning settings; a parent education program that centers social inclusion; and served as network weaver and facilitator for Napa’s local leadership network, the First 5 Napa Network, that brings together cross-sector leaders to understand the needs of children and families and co-create solutions.

A headshot of Shelby Hill

Shelby Hill

Senior Executive Administrator

Shelby is the Senior Executive Administrator of the First 5 Association and CA Children & Families Foundation. Her solution-oriented approach and skillful handling of communications, schedules, and details keep Association projects on track and executed seamlessly. Before working at First 5, she was a financial assistant for clients through a Bay Area CPA firm. During the 0-5 years with her son, she remotely assisted entrepreneurs with their start-up office management needs.

Avo Makdessian

Executive Director

Avo Makdessian is the Executive Director for the First 5 Association of California, where he 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. In his prior role, Avo was Vice President of Silicon Valley Community Foundation where he led a team focused on connecting philanthropists to community investment opportunities, funding actionable research, impact investing, and multi-sector collective impact initiatives. Avo is the founding director of the foundation’s Center for Early Learning – a comprehensive center of grantmaking, research, and state/local advocacy for young children and families. He also led the foundation’s regional grantmaking for COVID-19 response providing millions of dollars to support families with affordable housing, food, and financial assistance. Prior to joining the foundation, Avo was Policy Director of First 5 Santa Clara County where he implemented First 5’s research agenda, public policy advocacy, and community outreach efforts. Earlier in his career Avo served as the Director of Education and Neighborhood Services for the San Jose Mayor’s Office focusing on early childhood development, neighborhood revitalization, gang prevention, K-12 education, and public health. Avo serves on the Ad Council’s Advisory Committee on Public Issues and volunteers for several local causes in the Bay Area. Avo attended San Jose State University where he majored in political science.