Gloria D. Gray is chairwoman of the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors, the first African- American to lead the board and only the second woman to do so in the district’s 90-year history. She is also the recently-elected president of the West Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors, where she has served for 14 years.
Gray began her career in water in 2006, when she was elected to the West Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors. She was the first African-American woman elected to that board in its 65 years and served as board president in 2010. She represents the Division II cities of Inglewood, South Ladera Heights, Lennox and the areas of Athens, Howard and Ross-Sexton. In 2009, Gray was appointed to Metropolitan’s Board of Directors to serve as one of two West Basin representatives.
She was the first African-American woman to serve as Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Board, was the first African-American woman to chair a Board meeting in the 86-year agency history and serves on the Executive Committee, Personnel and Technology Committee, Special Committee on Bay-Delta, and Vice Chair of Communication and Legislative Committee. In 2017, Gray was appointed chair of Water Planning, and Stewardship Committee, making her the first African-American woman to chair this important committee which focuses on MWD water projects and programs.
In March 2009, she was appointed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to serve on a water quality Community Task Force, which is part of the County’s Clean Water, Clean Beaches Initiative to address pollution in our local waterways that include rivers, lakes, bays, beaches, and coastal waters. (Gray, an Inglewood resident, was elected to the Inglewood Unified School District Board of Education in 1995 and served as president for 2 terms.)
In April 2010, Gray was appointed to the Delta Stewardship Council by former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and served a four-year term. She served through July 2014 and was the first African American and African American woman to serve on the council. In 2011, she met with stakeholders from up and down the State and suggested the Delta Council hold public forums to gain broader knowledge in order to develop a comprehensive Delta Plan.
In May 2012, she was confirmed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as a member of the Oversight Commission for the dissolution of the City of Carson Redevelopment Agency. In 2013, she was recruited by the White House Obama Administration to interview for a Cabinet position in the Department of the Interior.
In 2014, the West Basin Board of Directors appointed Gray as their representative to the Association of California Water Agencies Region 8 currently serves as Vice Chair, and ACWA Joint Powers Insurance Authority. She was appointed to represent West Basin as a voting board member on the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and the Commission elected her to the Executive Committee and the Commission’s Authority. During her first term, Gray initiated West Basin’s Local Business Enterprise Program and Local Banking Program that allows local businesses to better compete for work and enhances the local community within West Basin’s service area.
In recognition of her many years of community service, Gray received an acknowledgement proclamation from the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District in recognition of her service and outstanding leadership on the Delta Stewardship Council; she received the 2014 African Legacy Award as the first African-American woman to be elected to the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; received the Outstanding Community Honoree award from The A-Man, Inc. STEM International on June 7, 2013; in March 2013 she was inducted into the National Association of University Women’s Hall of Fame for exceptional leadership; was honored in October 2012 by the Southern California Water Committee with the “Honorable Harriett Wieder” award for leadership in water; Friends of the Sisters at the Well for her leadership in civic and public engagement; and the Friends of Ballona Wetlands for her leadership on current and future water supply issues.
Underscoring her commitment mentoring the next generation of water leaders, Gray is a founding board member of the California African American Water Education Foundation representing Metropolitan and is a strong supporter of Metropolitan’s many education and training outreach activities, including the district’s highly successful apprenticeship program.
In the past years, she has commendations from former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosia, current Mayor Eric Garcetti and numerous elected officials. Gray is a Union Member of SEIU Local 721 for over 30 years. Gray earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in the Business Administration Program at the University of Redlands and her Health Services Management Certificate from the University of California Los Angeles, and a Masters in Governance from Special District. She retired as a Health Care Administrator from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.