Lisa M. Garrett (Courtesy Photo)

 Lisa M. Garrett, the director of Personnel for the County of Los Angeles, is one woman who has impacted lives for the better in local communities, and she has done so for 30 years.

Garrett has served in this role for the County since March 2010. L.A. County is the largest local government in the nation with over 114,000 positions, a $43 billion budget, and 39 branches or departments that serve as a safety net for the over 10 million people.

Her journey with L.A. County began in 1994 as a deputy district attorney in the Office of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Family Support Operations. She later transitioned to the Child Support Services Department (CSSD), holding various leadership roles before becoming the acting director of Personnel.

Related articles:

Throughout her tenure, Garrett has implemented significant initiatives to strengthen the county’s workforce, improve customer service and access, and innovate HR practices. Garrett’s approach to public service is holistic, compassionate, and innovative, focusing on the government’s role as a safety net for the vulnerable, and a choice place of employment for talented and dedicated people on all career levels.

Some of Garrett’s achievements include moving the central Department of Human Resources (DHR) to a strategic and consultative HR model, increasing talent pipeline programs, establishing the Los Angeles County University for employee development, and creating robust executive recruitment and IT teams.

Garrett holds a degree in Psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles, a Juris Doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law, and an MBA from Pepperdine University. She also completed an Advanced HR Management certificate from the UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Program and serves as an adjunct professor teaching Public Human Resources Management within the California State University system.

Being an impactful change-maker, Garrett has received many awards for her dedication, and spirit of excellence along with her commitment to data-driven decision-making and wellness programs.  Her commendations include the ASPA Clarence A. Dykstra Award for Excellence in Government in 2016 and a Top 25 Doers by Government Technology Magazine in 2019.

Recently, Garrett was honored for her years of work and creativity by the Los Angeles County African American Employees Association (LACAAEA) at their 2024 Black History Month Annual Black-Tie Gala & Fundraiser.  She recently shared more about her career with the L.A. Sentinel.

L.A. Sentinel: How did you feel about receiving this honor?

Lisa M. Garrett: I was floored and overwhelmed. There were so many people that they could have selected, and they selected me. I was pleased to be honored for my years of service. LACAAEA is doing great work, by providing pathways for advancement and lifting communities.

LAS: Please tell us more about your role as director of Personnel.

LMG: I am a public servant, and I am proud of that. I’ll tell anyone that the government is the best employer that anyone can have because you can feed the hungry, you can clothe the naked, and you can give jobs to individuals who need employment.

We work with people who have been imprisoned or who have experienced barriers to employment or barriers to services in general.  The beauty of government and the whole safety net concept is that it allows us to help those in need and those at the other end of the spectrum who want a promising and rewarding career.

The attractiveness of working for the government, LA County in particular, is that we have services that can help people with various needs.  For example,  if you need healthcare, we have healthcare; if you need mental health assistance, we have the Department of Mental Health.

If you are homeless or housing insecure, we have all hands on deck and we partner with other agencies to mitigate homelessness in the County of Los Angeles.

If you need assistance with food for yourself or your children, or if a child is in foster care, we handle all services that impact individuals and families. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve in this capacity.

LAS: Please describe specifically what your department does.

LMG: In my department, we support the individuals who are doing the work — our employees.  We hire entry-level positions to the highest level “C-Suite” executives within our organization.  We train and develop our employees, we provide excellent benefits, and we offer a sense of belonging in a diverse environment.

One of the most exciting things that we’re working on right now is the “Emergency Hiring Initiative” that was started by our Board of Supervisors last year to fill positions that help persons experiencing homelessness with housing and needed services. We are hiring nurses, doctors, mental and public health professionals, social workers, community health workers, and others for this important initiative and have streamlined our hiring process to bring people in quickly.

LAS: What else do you want the people of Los Angeles to know?

LMG: LA. County is an excellent employer.  We have been on the Forbes ‘America’s Best Large Employers’ list five times within the last eight years and our employees put us on there because they find this to be a great place to work.

I would also like the public to know that having a record is not a barrier to employment in L.A. County. Over the years, the State of California and L.A. County have done a lot to break down barriers for individuals who were justice involved. We are resolved to ensure everyone has a fair chance of getting employment.  When you employ a person, you uplift the family and families uplift communities.

To learn more visit: