Leading by Example

Linda Griego: Entrepreneur, Civic Leader, Donor

Growing up with her grandmother, Aurora, in Tucumcari, NM, Linda Griego gained valuable experiences that influenced her as a highly successful entrepreneur, civic leader and philanthropist. Aurora encouraged Linda to spread her wings. So, Linda landed in Los Angeles, where she graduated from UCLA in 1975. As president and CEO of Griego Enterprises for more than 30 years, she built and operated five restaurant/bakery businesses.

In the 1970s, Linda connected with UnidosUS, then NCLR (National Council of La Raza), “NCLR was front and center in LA at that time,” she explained. Later, when Janet Murguía took the helm of UnidosUS, Linda was inspired to become a donor. “Janet was a real trailblazer and one of the few Latinas in the national arena. Under her leadership, I have been very impressed with the organization’s relentless efforts to impress upon our elected leaders the importance of immigration reform,” Linda said.

Celebrating the opening of the Jacqueline Avant Children and Family Center in South Los Angeles.

Linda also has a breadth of civic leadership experience, having served as the Deputy Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, President and CEO of the LA Community Development Bank, President and CEO of Rebuild LA and as a Los Angeles director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; thus, she has a deep understanding of economic issues and how they impact communities and small businesses.

Linda traces her work and love of community to her early life experiences. “In my teens, I did payroll at the bakery that my family operated,” she shared. And Aurora set a profound example for her granddaughter, working full time as a baker but making time to help friends pick cotton or to volunteer with the Elks. “No job was too small,” Linda said of her grandmother, who also valued education and the importance of voting. “We were the first to own encyclopedias [in our town] when I was 11…When I got my driver’s license, I didn’t go to school on election day; I drove people to the polls. She had a lot of wisdom,” Linda added.

Linda has remained a supporter of UnidosUS because, she says, “The work UnidosUS is doing is not easy; with a divided political system, the challenges are immense. UnidosUS is forward-looking and influential. For example, it is concerned about the future of our young people who are faced with challenges like student loan debt and barriers to homeownership. My husband and I were able to buy a home in LA within five years of graduating from college; that is impossible today. UnidosUS is laser-focused on these critical issues.”

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