Director of California Office of the Small Business Advocate

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Tara Lynn Gray assumed office on April 26, 2021, as the fifth Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate. In this capacity, she represents the interests of California’s 4.2 million small businesses within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

As Director Gray leads the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, her primary focus is aligned with Governor Newsom’s California for All vision. She aims to bolster the state’s small business ecosystem and ensure that considerations of equity and inclusion are foundational to all small business programs across California.

Director Gray’s formative understanding of economic development can be traced back to her grandmother’s beauty shop. There, she witnessed firsthand the importance of extending credit to customers and fostering a sense of trust within the local community. Her grandmother’s compassionate approach and unwavering determination left a lasting impression on her.

Having been a small business owner for two decades and working closely with two small business development centers, as well as managing a business association and foundation, Director Gray possesses the requisite experience and expertise to effectively advocate for the needs of small businesses.

Prior to her appointment by Governor Newsom, Director Gray served as the CEO of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC) and Chamber Foundation (FMBCF). In this role, she actively engaged, educated, and empowered small businesses throughout California’s Central Valley, particularly in Fresno. Simultaneously, she dedicated herself to community service by spearheading the “Betting Big on Small Businesses Owned by Women and People of Color” initiative under the DRIVE Investment Plan. This initiative aimed to enhance economic mobility for entrepreneurs in underinvested neighborhoods.

Director Gray’s advocacy work consistently addresses the need to bridge opportunity gaps, elevate the role of women and BIPOC business leaders, and promote diversity in procurement opportunities. She has also taken the lead in green economy initiatives, employment and training programs, and the advancement of electric vehicle ownership.

Through her multifaceted experiences and steadfast commitment to promoting small businesses, Director Tara Lynn Gray continues to shape a thriving and inclusive business landscape in California.