Gloria D. Gray was elected to the West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) Board of Directors in 2006 and is the first African-American woman elected to the Board. She represents the Division ll city of Inglewood, and the unincorporated Los Angeles County areas of Lennox, South Ladera Heights, West Athens and Westmont.
Gray was appointed to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) Board of Directors in 2009 to serve as one of two West Basin representatives. In 2018, she was elected Chair of the MWD Board and unanimously was re-elected in 2020, where she is currently serving her second two-year term. Gray is the second woman and first person of color to serve as Chair of the MWD Board, the first African-American woman to serve as Vice-Chair, the first African-American woman to chair a Board meeting, and currently 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, Gray was appointed by the Los Angeles 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 two 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 state stakeholders and suggested the Delta Council hold public forums to gain broader knowledge in order to develop a comprehensive Delta Plan. She also was invited to and made presentations on the status of the Delta Plan and water resources management to the Association of California Water Agencies, Southern California Water Committee, Urban Water Institute, Council for Watershed Health, Los Angeles African American Public Policy Institute, California Latino Water Coalition Delta Summit, Leadership Southern California, and Water Environment Federation Technical Conference.
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, Gray 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 (ACWA) Region 8 Board. For the 2020-2021 term, Gray served as the Vice Chair. Effective January 1, 2022, Gray was selected as ACWA Region 8 Chair for the 2022-2023 term.
She was appointed to represent West Basin as a voting board member on the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission (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 2018, Gray was recognized as Visionary of the Year by Playa Vista Jobs for her work in the water industry. In 2017, Gray received the Esther Williams Award of Excellence for her continued commitment to community service and water reliability from the South Bay Workforce Investment Board.
In recognition of her commitment to community service, Gray received an acknowledgment proclamation from the MWD Board of Directors 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 MWD Board of Directors and the Outstanding Community Honoree award from The A-Man, Inc. STEM International in June 2013. In March 2013, she was inducted into the National Association of University Women’s Hall of Fame for exceptional leadership. She 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.
In May 2012, Gray received the “Outstanding Women of 2012” award from the Gardena Chamber of Commerce. In 2011, she received the “Women in Action Award” from the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute as a role model for young women and was awarded induction as both a “Frontline Soldier” for Pathways to Your Future and the El Camino College “Women of Distinction” honor. In 2009, she received the Power Pac Award from the Los Angeles African American Political Action Committee; was selected the 2009 Female Democrat of the Year for the 51st Assembly District; earned the 2007 “Women in Water” Award from the Water Replenishment District of Southern California; named 2002 Woman of the Year from the California Legislative Assembly 25th Senatorial District; Outstanding Leadership Award from the American Business Women Association and Living History Maker – Outstanding Community Service Award for Turning Point Magazine. She also was awarded the Black Woman Achievement Award from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Under her presidency, Gray oversaw West Basin’s first community Town Hall, Business Outreach, and Water Issues and Drought Forum events. Gray also is a regular speaker at conferences and panels such as the 2017 American Water Summit.
In past years, she has commendations from former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, current Mayor Eric Garcetti and numerous elected officials. Gray is a union member of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 721 for over 30 years. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of Redlands, and her Health Services Management Certificate from the University of California Los Angeles. She retired as a Health Care Administrator from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.