Tahra Goraya, Commissioner

Tahra brings strong skills in leadership, management, policy advocacy, and public affairs. She is
experienced in diverse issue areas across multiple sectors including nonprofit management,
business, and government. Currently, Tahra serves as the President and CEO of Monterey Bay
Economic Partnership (MBEP). Previously, Tahra was an organization consultant as well as an
executive coach. Tahra has 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. She
considers herself a generalist who is adept at leveraging strategic relationships, building
cross-cultural and cross-sector coalitions, crafting public policy, and organizing multi-faith and
grassroots communities.

Tahra is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine with a degree in Biology, has a
Masters in Organizational Management, and a Masters in Public Administration from the
Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Notable achievements include a 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, Founder of Monterey Bay Muslim Neighbors, and Advisor to Latino
Muslim Unity.

A native of California, Tahra grew up in Bakersfield, California. She 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 rural farming
communities. Tahra’s passion for equity and economic justice was shaped by her experience
growing up in Kern County. Through her agronomist father, she grew to appreciate the
tremendous agricultural contributions to the economy. And through her mother, she learned the
importance of building community bridges.