Dr. Lori Gentles

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Lori Gentles currently serves as the Human Resources Director for the county of Santa Barbara, supporting 4,000 employees and accountable to elected officials such as the district attorney and a five-member board of supervisors.


Gentles returned to county service after spending seven years in the California State University system where she served as the Associate Vice President for San Francisco State University and as the founding Vice President of Human Resources Diversity and Inclusion at CA State Fullerton.

With 25-plus years of professional and senior-level human resources leadership experience, in both public and private sector organizations, Lori has been at the forefront of shifting the focus of Human Resources from operational and transactional to strategic and transformational. Empowering HR staff to be creative in delivering value-added services and innovative solutions is one of her strengths. She has implemented programs and policies to enrich employee experiences and to reinforce a social justice and equity mission.

Ms. Gentles is also an accomplished speaker and trainer, frequently speaking at national and international conferences. Her engagements have taken her from Asia to Africa. As an affiliate of the Consortium of International Management - Policy and Development (CIMPAD), she presented her thesis, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty through Socially Conscious International Recruiting, Education and Employment, in Namibia; and, in 2015, Gentles spoke in Zambia on the theme Ideals and Practice of Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Gentles serves on the executive board of the National Black MBA Association – Los Angeles and is the program chair for the Orange County Leaders of Tomorrow – a national mentoring program for African-American high school youth. Ms. Gentles has received national recognition from the College and University Professional Association (CUPA-HR) as an Emerging Leader and is the recipient of Inclusion Cultivates Excellence Award.

Ms. Gentles is a native of Phoenix, Arizona. She holds an MBA in International Studies from Saint Mary's College School of Business and Economics and a Bachelor's Degree in Interpersonal Communication from Arizona State University.