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Lucille Boss

Lucille Boss, Emerging Leaders Program
Housing Programs Manager, County of Santa Barbara

Even from a young age, Lucille Boss’s career has been guided by her interests and inquisitiveness.

She was a swimmer from elementary through high school and in college at SBCC and Cal State Lutheran she worked as a lifeguard. Wanting to do more and learn more, these experiences laid the groundwork and led to her role with the City of Santa Barbara, where she managed public swimming pools.

“I find something that interests me and realize I want to learn more about it,” Boss remarked. This profound curiosity, drive and talent, have enabled her to transition seamlessly between government and nonprofit sectors, pursuing passions from parks and recreation to education initiatives to addressing the housing crisis.

For the past five years, Boss has held various roles with the County of Santa Barbara, including encampment response coordinator and housing programs manager. Notably, she led efforts to resolve encampments of persons experiencing homelessness during the critical COVID-19 pandemic, and helped to establish shelters in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, ultimately leading to permanent housing for many. She is also credited with securing three competitive state grants to address housing insecurity totaling $16.52 million.

It was Boss’s role at the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, working with Geoff Green to develop the wildly successful SBCC Promise, that led to her interest in housing. As the director of scholarships and the SBCC Promise, Boss saw the enormous need for housing, not just among students, but faculty and staff. She wanted to know more, inspiring her to join the Housing Authority Commission, gaining experience and deeper interest, fueling her advancement to the County position she now holds overseeing affordable housing programs.

Boss participated in the Emerging Leaders Program while working at SBCC.

“It was really great timing for me because we were just about to launch the SBCC Promise and Emerging Leaders encouraged us to set goals for what we wanted to achieve throughout the year,” recalled Boss, who was focused on making the program a success. In fact, the SBCC Promise would go on to become the most comprehensive in the nation, and both the program and Boss were recognized by the White House for the achievement.

“It’s been eight years since I participated in Emerging Leaders and it’s really cool to see what others in my cohort have achieved,” she said. “The program creates this safe space to share ideas, challenges, and goals, and it’s wonderful to celebrate each other along the way.”

The fact that participants remain connected is thanks in part to the work that Boss did as Emerging Leaders Alumni Community Coordinator. Again, an example of Boss following her interests from an Emerging Leaders participant to member of its Leadership Council to Chair of the Council to joining the Leading From Within staff.

She says, above all else, it is these relationships that were built in that shared sacred space that have meant the most to her. And she still incorporates lessons practiced, such as knowing when to take a breath, or take a meeting in a new setting to gain fresh perspective.

“I can’t think of Leading From Within without thinking of Ken and poetry,” said Boss. “I so appreciated that our sessions started with personal reflections to a shared poem that set the tone for everything that followed.”

“We all need more poetry in our lives.”

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