Name: Griselda Barajas
Profession: Owner and CEO, Griselda’s Ventures Inc.
“You have to be positive in life. We are born with self-confidence and belief in ourselves, but we let other things get in the way. We allow other people to set our course, and that is wrong.”
Griselda Barajas remembers the day when a boy named Charley came to her rescue. “I was 11. It was a new school, a new country. I didn’t speak the language. I was older than my classmates. I had no friends.”
Charley took her hand and walked her to join his friends on the playground.
“That single gesture became a beacon of opportunity,” she says. “It gave me the strength to move forward, stop being scared, take on other challenges – and there have been many.”
From then on, it has been Griselda who has lent her hand, her acceptance and her energy to others. From age 10, she worked in her parents' Mexican products distribution business. A decade later, she opened the Texas Mexican restaurant.
As well known among lawmakers and lobbyists as the local community, Griselda continues to expand her business while serving as a strong advocate for small business owners and minorities.
“I tell my employees all the time that they must have pride in everything they do. It may be difficult in the beginning, but you can do whatever you set your mind to. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Many of her employees have worked with her for more than 20 years. “I try to surround myself with people who have a can-do attitude. I try to build on their strengths and address their weaknesses.”
She currently sits on the Board of the Sacramento Metro Chamber and is the Past-Chair of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber. She has been named Small Business Advocate of the Year by the CA Chamber and Business Woman of the Year by the Hispanic Chamber.
“I can’t think of a better place to live, learn and make a living than California,” she says. “Despite our differences, we share many of the same concerns: education, healthcare, access to good jobs and safety. I believe there is strong potential in this state to celebrate what we share and move forward together.”