When I think about the purpose of the 20 under 40 People to Watch feature, I am reminded of how I was raised.
Growing up in our home, we were raised with the attitude of gratefulness – grateful for the opportunity to live in America and because of this opportunity we were taught we had a responsibility to give back, along the lines of “to whom much is given much is expected.”
The intention of 20 under 40 is to recognize individuals who are making life better for residents in Kern County and beyond. When I found out that I had been chosen for the 2015 Class of “20 under 40,” I was ecstatic! Being tapped for this honor was assurance that I was indeed fulfilling my intention of being of service to my community.
I was given this amazing honor but what was I going to do with it? I knew I had a responsibility to do more, so I did. In the four years since receiving 20 under 40 honors, I went from serving on just two community boards to eight. Our Sikh Women’s Association went from raising $5,000 for scholarships to over $143,000 and our company, Countryside Corporation, continues to grow and open more businesses and provide more jobs here in Kern County.
Being chosen for 20 under 40 is not just an honor, it is much bigger than that – it is a call to service. Your community has recognized you for being of service and is looking to you to lead and to do more. The beauty of 20 under 40 is that it inspires folks who are already leading and elevates them to give more of themselves. The majority of honorees inevitably go on to do more.
I will be forever indebted and grateful for the opportunity to be included as an honoree in the 2015 class of 20 under 40. It sparked in me a desire to do more for my community. I learned so very much about different nonprofits, community partners, resources and programs in our community, which I have accessed to help me in my endeavors. My fellow classmates inspired me with their stories of service through leadership and I was touched to be recognized for my efforts by community leaders.
We aren’t here just for ourselves, folks.
We are here to be in service to one another and in service we grow and we learn to become leaders. Congratulations to the class of 2019! Looking forward to seeing what you do next! ￼
Raji Brar is the COO of Countryside Corporation, which is family owned and operated. Brar is a two-time gubernatorial appointee; serves on numerous community boards, including CSUB’s Foundation Board and Kern Medical’s Hospital Board; and is the co-founder of the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association. Brar is happily married to her college sweetheart and has three beautiful children ages 14, 11 and 10. The views expressed are her own.