Patty First

Chief Strategy and Impact Officer


In her role as The Raben Group’s chief strategy and impact officer, Patty First is charged with helping our clients, our staff, and the visionary campaigns we put out into the world achieve greater, more lasting impact. Patty is known for distilling complex issues and helping others to focus on the big picture and get clear on the smartest strategy to achieve success. She doesn’t simply take the wheel — she’s an astute listener, and her decisions are informed, first and foremost, by the direction our clients seek to go.

Over her more than two decades at Raben, Patty has earned a stellar reputation for her diplomatic and persuasive approach, and for building and nurturing relationships with partners, and across coalitions. She knows how to help social justice leaders and organizations achieve their missions without losing their way, deploying her training as a certified coach in helping people and organizations achieve the best versions of themselves.

Patty’s work is deeply informed by her prior experiences as an attorney and policy expert at the forefront of many of the most pressing civil rights challenges of our time: immigration, women’s rights, voting, and more. Before she joined Raben, she worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee as counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), as a trial attorney in the civil rights division at the Department of Justice, and as deputy assistant attorney general in DOJ’s Office for Legislative Affairs.

Patty received her law degree from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She remains a fierce defender of the Midwest (though she’s not sure she could still survive a Midwestern winter).