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Tara Lynn Gray

Director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate inside of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development

Learn about developing the States Small Business Economic system.

As Director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate inside of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Tara Lynn Gray is focused on further developing the state’s small business ecosystem and ensuring equity is front and center as she administers the small business programs for which she is responsible. Gray is a visionary breaking new ground in non-traditional spaces and is not afraid to ask the hard questions and engage in serious conversations to bring the Governor’s vision of a California for All to fruition.

Prior to her appointment by Governor Gavin Newsom, Gray was Chief Executive Officer of the Fresno
Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC) and Chamber Foundation (FMBCF), a 20-year-old
Community-Based Organization, where she engaged, educated, and empowered small businesses in
California’s Central Valley. She has been instrumental in the design and development of one of the most
groundbreaking community-level mobility programs in the country.

She has leveraged the green economy to advance equity, developed an employment & training program in green jobs for young adults 18-24 years old, and managed a network of organizations working to advance electric vehicle ownership. As part of the region’s DRIVE Investment Plan, Gray led the local initiative Betting Big on Small Businesses Owned by Women and People of Color which provides economic mobility for entrepreneurs in disinvested neighborhoods. In closing opportunity gaps, providing entrepreneur education & technical assistance that is culturally competent, the initiative seeks to grow POC small businesses to scale, create local jobs, and close the wealth gap for Black and Brown households.

Gray has been an Advisor for Solano and Alameda County Small Business Development Centers, served as a non-profit Program Manager and Director of Operations as well as run her own consulting business. She sits on several non-profit boards including Child Haven, Inc, CA Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation, The Central Valley New Market Tax Credit Fund, Sickle Cell Network, and Abundant Life Worship Center. Her advocacy and community involvement also includes work with the Caltrans Small Business Council, CA Highspeed Rail Small Business Council, State of CA Employment Development Department Small Business Employer Advisory Committee (EDD SBEAC), CA Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, Hospital Supplier Diversity Commission, and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). Gray is a member of US Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Gray wasCA Senate District 3 appointed Delegate (2019-2021) and was an ADEM for Assembly District 11 (2015-2017).

Gray’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from St. Mary’s College, Moraga,
CA; a Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ; a Management
Development for Entrepreneurs Certificate, UCLA Anderson School of Management; and various
Information Technology certifications.