Featured Speaker: Raji K. Brar Chief Operating Officer Countryside Corporation
Born and raised in the Central Valley, Brar is a first-generation Sikh American. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Punjab, India. She was born in Fresno County, where her parents started their life in the States working in the fields as farmworkers. Her family eventually made the move to Bakersfield, where she went to Junior High, High School and College. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Health Care Administration from CSU Bakersfield. After College, she worked as a Chemist for BC Laboratories. Today, along with her family, she owns Countryside Corporation, which has a Construction & Real Estate Development division and operates various franchises (Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Countryside Markets, Me-nEds Pizzeria, Countryside Car Wash and Shell Gas Stations). They employ over 500 people throughout Kern and Tulare Counties and have been in business for over 30 years.
In the past Brar has had the privilege of being the first Sikh Women ever elected to a City Council Seat in the State of California. In 2006, she was elected to the Arvin City Council. Due to this historic achievement, she was named “Women of the Year” by the California State Senate. Brar is a three-time Gubernatorial Appointee. Currently she serves on various boards; Central Valley Water Board, President of the CSUB Foundation Board, Kern Medical Board, KHSD Foundation Board, KERO Channel 23 Community Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board of Kern Venture Group. In the past, Brar has served on the CSUB Alumni Association Board, CSUB BPA’s Executive Advisory Council, RBG Educational Foundation Board, Leadership Bakersfield Advisory Council, Girl Scouts of Central California South, Kern Health Systems, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Arvin Redevelopment Agency, Farmworker Institute for Education, Arvin Chamber of Commerce, BPD Community Advisory Panel, Government Relations Committee HCC, City of Arvin Economic Development Committee and Subway’s Marketing Board.
Of all the boards she serves on the one dearest to her heart is the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association, which is a nonprofit she co-founded. The mission of the association is to give back to the community through their various programs; Kaur Care, which is a partnership with community hospitals and the public health department to provide free health, cervical and breast cancer screenings as well as Covid 19 testing and vaccinations. They also have created a toll free first of its kind Bi-Lingual (Punjabi/English) Resource Line, You Are Not Alone, which partners with the Family Justice Center, DA’s office, and the Police Department to help folks in crisis access the resources they need. The Sikh Women’s Association’s Seva Scholarship initiative gives out needs-based scholarships to deserving students throughout Kern County. Since its inception in March of 2015, the Women’s Association has given out over $200,000 in scholarships and was recently selected as Non-Profit of the Year by the California State Assembly
She has received numerous awards and accolades; Bakersfield Life Magazine’s “20 under 40,” Girl Scouts “Women Inspiring Girls Award,” Hispanic Chamber Businesswomen of the Year, Businessperson of the Year Beautiful Bakersfield Awards, CSUB’s Award for Outstanding Community Service, 24 Remarkable Women of the CSU, 2021 CSUB Hall of Fame Inductee and 2022 Assembly District 32 Women of the Year. Brar has been a keynote speaker for many events such as the Central Valley SBDC Awards, KCHCC Business Awards, Kern County Women’s March, and the Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference.
She is happily married to her college sweetheart and husband of over 21 years, and loves being a mother to her children, Davin, Dylan and Imanni!
Exempt Parking for Event Provided in CSUB Parking Lots C and K1