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Get to Know Jody Gray in El Dorado County

06/28/2018 05:03PM

Growing up in South Lake Tahoe, Jody Gray often dreamed of owning a horse. “In junior high, I’d save up my lunch money—a dollar a day—until I had the $5 it cost to rent a horse at the stable,” she recalls. Her parents divorced when she was a child, and her mom, a casino worker, raised four children on her own. Gray was the youngest, and although times were hard, the strong women in her life—including her mother and grandmother—instilled in her a strong work ethic and the belief that you can accomplish anything with hard work and dedication. 

These days, Gray is the CEO of the El Dorado County Fair Association, a group that hosts the annual fair, provides a central meeting place for the community, and supports local nonprofits. In addition, she’s a member of Women’s Fund El Dorado, a collective of women who pool funds for philanthropic grants. “Community [involvement] shapes where we live,” Gray asserts. “Being a positive part of it makes [our region] a better place to live.” In her spare time, she competes in cutting horse competitions and volunteers as a coach for Ponderosa High School’s Future Farmers of America horse-judging team. And, of course, she now owns horses—five of them, with two more on the way. “Horses soothe me—I love the feel of riding such majestic animals,” she shares.  

By Amber Foster


What advice would you give to your younger self?
Life’s biggest mistake is being afraid of making one.

What comes to you naturally?
Being organized.   

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Dishonesty, people who blame everyone else for their problems, or people who don’t admit when they’re wrong.

What are you most proud of?
My relationship with my family.

Best words of wisdom you’ve received?

Follow your gut instincts—they’re usually correct.


Riding my horse on the beach

Guilty pleasure:
Ice cream

Local landmark:
American River

The day my husband and I decided to have a baby


Brad Paisley

Place to buy a gift, locally:
Cool Florist and Gifts

Local nonprofit:
MORE (Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises)

Do you know someone in the community who makes a difference or is particularly interesting that we should Get to Know? Email their name, where they live, and why they should be featured to

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