North Coast, CA – Mary Ann Hansen, the dynamic and visionary leader of First 5 Humboldt, has been selected as the 2022 North Coast Woman of the Year, Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire announced.
As Executive Director of First 5 Humboldt, Hansen has transformed the organization which is now serving more kids and women in need than ever before. She was selected for the award for her decades of exemplary service working to support Humboldt County’s youngest children and their families, including her life changing work to prevent and address Adverse Childhood Experiences. Hansen has been a champion to expand equitable access to rich and robust childcare, she has gone to the mat to expand health and wellness opportunities for moms and their kids and in our darkest days during the pandemic, Mary Ann and her team were a shining light delivering nearly 2,000 diaper kits and care packages to essential workers in all corners of Humboldt County.
“Mary Ann has dedicated her life to improving the lives of kids and families. Her belief is simple, but bold: All kids, no matter their background, deserve the very best. Her passion and drive is unmatched,” Senator McGuire said. “Mary Ann is kind and empathetic, she’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met and she’s not afraid to ruffle feathers if it means North Coast kids will have a better life. I’m especially grateful for her work with kids impacted by childhood trauma. We are so fortunate to have her at the forefront of children’s health issues here on the North Coast and this recognition is so well deserved.”
Senator McGuire hosted an intimate lunch to celebrate Mary Ann’s well deserved honor earlier this week. The event was attended by family, Ms. Hansen’s co-workers, Supervisors Bass and Bushnell, Eureka Mayor Susan Seaman, the Executive Director of First 5 California, Jackie Wong, and First 5 Humboldt commission co-chairs Lorey Keele and Connie Sundberg. Several speakers praised Mary Ann Hansen for her tireless work and steadfast leadership on behalf of Humboldt families and our kids.
“I am so honored to be acknowledged by Senator McGuire. We work so well together. And, I want to be honest, it takes a team to do what we do. This recognition isn’t about me, it’s about our collective action for our kids here on the North Coast,” said Mary Ann Hansen. “Humboldt always stands strong for families and I feel privileged to do the work that I do. I’m especially grateful to our community partners and the First 5 Humboldt team who are nothing short of amazing.”
A lifelong Humboldt County resident, Hansen’s record of service to childrens’ well-being began at UC Davis, where she studied Human Development, and continued as she moved on to found the Ferndale Children’s Center. She later earned her master’s degree at Cal Poly Humboldt and taught for their Child Development department for over twenty years. She recently completed her term serving as Policy Chair of the First 5 Association of California and on the Board of the First 5 Center for Children’s Policy, which both promote best practices and policies to better support the well-being of young children and families. She also serves on the California Surgeon General’s Trauma-Informed Primary Care Task Force and co-chaired the Network of Care subcommittee. The latter group produced the Network of Care Roadmap to support health care providers in developing holistic strategies to care for children and adults in the most vulnerable regions of California impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences.
Photos from this week’s celebration of Mary Ann Hansen are attached.