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It takes hard work and dedication to earn the title of Chief Marketing Officer for a well-known equine company like Equibrand, but for Billie Bray, it was real-life experiences that molded her into the businesswoman she is today. “I grew up on a ranch 50 miles south of Malta, Montana,” says Bray. “I learned some of the most important life lessons on the ranch, and they are the kinds of things that college doesn’t teach you.”
In the center of her hands-on education was the best life-skills professor she could have asked for, her dad. “I learned that you’re only as good as your word, any obstacle can be overcome, and excuses are unacceptable,” says Bray. “There will always be roadblocks in life, but they are just opportunities to find solutions and solve problems.”
Bray packed up the determination and grit she obtained on the ranch and brought it with her on a path to what would become a successful career that started with a Business Administration Degree from Eastern Montana College. “I chose a business degree with thoughts that it would help prepare me with skills to manage the business side of farm and ranch operations,” says Bray. “I returned to the ranch after college, but an opportunity with Equibrand arose, so I moved to Texas, which began to open new doors into a business world and industry I truly enjoyed.”
As the CMO for Equibrand, Bray is well-positioned to grow the Western industry while simultaneously having the opportunity to encourage other driven cowgirls. “More women own and ride horses than men, and the Western industry is full of opportunity,” she says. “Find your passion and seize your chance, and when you find it, it’s up to you to make something of it.”
Bray is passionate about horses, and in particular, the competitive Western disciplines. “I want to help grow major equine events, create new and exciting events, and focus on youth participation in our industry,” she says.
Acknowledging that her success comes from an upbringing filled with parental encouragement, Bray hopes to have an influence on other families to support the cowboy way of life. “I hope I have encouraged parents to raise their kids to be cowboys or cowgirls, to be leaders and not followers, and to help them saddle up their horse even when they don’t feel like it,” says Bray. “We have to have kids involved to keep the Western culture alive and growing.”