Tara Lynn Gray is the Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) and former Chief Executive Officer of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC) and Chamber Foundation (FMBCF). Gray is engaging, educating, and empowering diverse small businesses in California’s Central Valley. As the leader of a 20-year-old community-based organization (CBO), she is a visionary breaking new ground in non-traditional spaces. She has been instrumental in the design and development of one of the most groundbreaking community-level mobility programs in the country targeting diverse communities and the inner city.
Gray’s work has impacted all citizens of the State of California. In her role at CalOSBA, she has demonstrated her commitment to diversity by being an advocate for all programs coming out of GoBiz. Gray advocated to local municipalities regarding the importance of including diverse communities as stakeholders in all programs and funding opportunities. Gray also created Source Diverse Source Local, a public-private partnership to strengthen inclusive procurement and a California-based supply chain.
Gray’s commitment to DE&I has had both immediate and long-lasting impacts on the quality of life for California’s diverse communities. Her work creates jobs, grows diverse small businesses, and develops a diverse, educated, and skilled workforce for California. Through her work, Gray has:
- Leveraged the green economy to advance equity and inclusion by developing an employment and training program in green jobs for diverse young adults ages 18-24 years old.
- Led the local initiative, “Betting Big,” which aims to provide economic mobility for entrepreneurs in disinvested neighborhoods and seeks to grow people of color small businesses to scale, create local jobs, and close the wealth gap for Black and Brown households.
- Acted as an advisor for Solano and Alameda County Small Business Development Centers, served as a nonprofit Program Manager and Director of Operations, and run her own consulting business.
- Continued to sit on several nonprofit boards including Child Haven, Inc, California Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation, The Central Valley New Market Tax Credit Fund, Sickle Cell Network, and Abundant Life Worship Center.
At CalOSBA, Gray has utilized technology to streamline processes for distribution of funding to diverse small businesses and CBOs. This use of technology has led to more efficient and speedy distribution for important economic relief to our diverse communities. Past systems were heavy in paper documentation and verification, but this new process streamlined the process, and Tara continues to promote the effective use in programs and services for diverse communities.
Gray has been inclusive of all communities: Hispanic, Asian, African American, Native American, LGBTQIA+, Veterans, Women, etc. CalOSBA’s Entrepreneurship & Economic Mobility Task Force addresses the need for diversity in the growth of entrepreneurship and in the innovation economy. She has been aggressive in assuring that California’s diverse communities are included as key stakeholders in the State of California and their local areas.
Governor Newsom appointed Gray as Director of CalOSBA due to her demonstrated leadership and her ability to make changes in the best interest of California’s diverse communities. She has used her position to educate policy makers, elected officials, and local municipalities, helping them understand and embrace DE&I efforts. Through programs and innovation at CalOSBA, Gray has been an undeniable leader in ensuring diverse communities are part of Statewide economic recovery and growth.