Get to Know Jody Gray in El Dorado County
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?
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
The day my husband and I decided to have a baby
Place to buy a gift, locally:
Cool Florist and Gifts
MORE (Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises)
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