Information provided by Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) announced Tahra Goraya as its new president and CEO, effective Jan. 3, 2022. Goraya will succeed Kate Roberts, who has led the organization since 2015 and will be retiring at the end of the year.
“After a nationwide search, we are pleased that Tahra has accepted our offer to be the next leader of MBEP,” said Eduardo Ochoa, MBEP Board Chair. “Tahra brings an amazing set of qualities and experience to the position and will build on the superb foundation that Kate Roberts has built over the last 6 years. Kate has been so influential in creating partnerships in the region, expanding membership, and driving positive change through our key initiatives– affordable housing, equitable access to broadband, workforce development, and climate change. We are a better region because of Kate’s leadership.”
The releases also said that Goraya will bring strong skills in leadership, management, policy advocacy, and public affairs. She is knowledgeable in diverse issue areas across multiple sectors including nonprofit management, business, and government. Most recently, Goraya was an organizational consultant as well as an executive coach.
According to MBEP, Goraya previously served as the director for Zero to Three western regional office, a national early childhood public policy and research organization; district director for California State Senator Carol Liu; national director for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a national American Muslim civil rights organization in Washington, DC; and executive director of Day One in Pasadena, a substance abuse prevention and policy organization.
“Her familiarity in leveraging strategic relationships, building cross-cultural and cross-sector coalitions, crafting public policy, and organizing multi-faith and grassroots communities helped her to successfully get legislation passed for over a dozen policies,” the release said.
Goraya is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine with a degree in Biology, has a master’s in organizational management from the University of Phoenix, and a master’s in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with an emphasis in management, leadership, and decision sciences. Notable achievements include recipient of the Barbara Jordan Award for Women’s Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School Woman and Public Policy Program, Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year by the California State Senate and Assembly, Elected Town Meeting Member in Milton, Founder of Milton Muslim Neighbors, Advisor to Latino Muslim Unity, and Advisory Board Member for Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass Boston. A native of California, Goraya is a proud daughter of Pakistani Punjabi Muslim immigrant parents.
As the eldest of five children, she learned early the importance of hard work and the struggles of immigrant families, especially in farming communities. Goraya’ s passion for health equity and economic justice was shaped by her experience growing up in Bakersfield, and through her agronomist father, she grew to appreciate the tremendous agricultural contributions of Kern County, the release said. Goraya and her family are excited and eager to return to California after five years in Massachusetts.
“I am elated to lead MBEP during the next stage of its development and growth. MBEP’s triple bottom line approach centered around equity, environment, and economic vitality resonates strongly with who I am as an individual and as a professional,” said Goraya. “I cannot wait to partner with various stakeholders to build upon the great legacy of the founders to improve the quality of life and economic health of the region.”