Four Remarkable Women Making a Difference in Greater Palm Springs

Women Leadership Forum's Women Who Rule! Awards Luncheon & Scholarship Fundraiser
Women Leadership Forum’s Women Who Rule! Awards Luncheon & Scholarship Fundraiser

Donna MacMillan, Kathy Greco, Susan Stein & Joan Boiko to be Honored at Women Leaders Forum’s 2nd Annual Women Who Rule! Awards Luncheon & Scholarship Fundraiser, Jan 31 at Agua Caliente Resort; Jim Houston to Receive Inaugural “Super Man” Award

Four remarkable Coachella Valley women will be honored for their extraordinary community leadership, public service and visionary entrepreneurship on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 at Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley’s 2nd Annual “Women Who Rule!” Awards Luncheon and Scholarship Fundraiser, a spectacular valley-wide tribute honoring local women making a difference in our community.

The 11 a.m. event at the Agua Caliente Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, will be emceed by KESQ-TV’s Karen Devine and CBS Local 2’s Brooke Beare — and will kick off with an elegant champagne reception and silent auction followed by a noon awards program, live auction and  ‘healthy” luncheon, sponsored by Desert Regional Medical Center. The Title Sponsors of the event are Desert Regional Medical Center and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Proceeds of the live auction and a match of up to $50,000 with Pathways to Success, a division of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, will go directly towards college scholarships for members of WLF’s Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program.

This year’s outstanding “women who rule” include:

Donna MacMillan, philanthropist,  “Mary T. Roche Community Leadership Award.”  Renowned throughout the Coachella Valley and beyond for her big heart and tremendous philanthropy, MacMillan has donated millions of dollars over the years to local nonprofits and organizations in need, including Eisenhower Medical Center, the College of the Desert, the McCallum Theatre, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the Palm Springs Art Museum and the newly established Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert. Last year, MacMillan joined WLF supporter Helene Galen in funding much needed college scholarships for members of WLF’s “Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program.”

Kathy Greco, CEO of Desert Healthcare District, “Jackie Lee Houston Heart of Gold Award.” As CEO of Desert Healthcare District, Greco led the charge to provide $5 million in funding for the new UCR Medical Center Residency Program at Desert Regional Medical Center. In addition, she worked to fund over $900,000 to place the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Program, in partnership with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, in every school in the Coachella Valley — touching 71,000 students in 32 schools throughout the desert’s three school districts. Greco also launched a new food insecurity initiative to ensure access to healthy food for the underserved, including low-income children and seniors. The program provides over a million pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to food distribution sources in the Coachella Valley.

Joan Boiko, Communications Manager, Palm Springs Unified School District, inaugural “Helene Galen Excellence in Education Award.” When it comes to communicating the achievements and accolades of Palm Springs Unified School District, no one does it better than Joan Boiko. A long-time supporter of WLF, Boiko keeps in constant contact with every high school counselor in PSUSD, making sure that students learn about the benefits of joining WLF’s Young Women Leaders Mentoring and Scholarship Program. Boiko, whose two daughters are graduates of the program and received scholarships, manages the district’s newsletter and has been deeply involved in the success of the Digicom Student Film Festival, the Pinnacle Fund Foundation and promoting the new Helene Galen Performing Arts Center at Rancho Mirage High School. In addition, Boiko uses her radio show “You Learn Something New Every Day” on 1450 a.m. KPTR progressive talk to discuss issues in education and the mission of WLF. She is also the past president and a founding member of Soroptimist of Palm Springs and has raised thousands of dollars over the years supporting women and girls in the Coachella Valley.

Susan Stein, Creative Director/Producer, Fashion Week El Paseo, Fashion Editor of Palm Springs Life Magazine, “WLF Visionary Award.” When it comes to creative vision with a fashionable twist, no one in the Coachella Valley compares with Susan Stein, the long-time fashion editor of Palm Springs Life Magazine and Creative Director/Producer of Fashion Week El Paseo. Stein’s singular vision has propelled Fashion Week into a major special event and tourism booster that women leaders from the Coachella Valley and beyond flock to attend. A long-time supporter of WLF, Stein partners every year with Saks 5th Avenue to present WLF’s signature fall kick off “Fashion Night Out” in September. She has also been a mentor to many young women interested in careers in the fashion industry.

In addition to honoring these four remarkable women who rule, WLF will proudly present its inaugural “Super Man Award” to long- time supporter and champion of education, Mr. Jim Houston. A Palm Springs resident for more than 30 years, last year Houston underwrote WLF’s “Jackie Lee Houston Merit Scholarship,” which is distributed every May to a deserving young woman leader seeking higher education. Over the years, Houston’s generosity to WLF has been unmatched.

“Donna MacMillan, Kathy Greco, Joan Boiko and Susan Stein serve as tremendous role models and inspirations to the accomplished members of Women Leaders Forum and the young women we mentor,” said WLF President Amy Blaisdell.  “We are incredibly thrilled to pay tribute to these four fabulous women while raising much needed funds for our young women leaders seeking higher education.  I encourage every woman leader in the Coachella Valley to join WLF on Jan. 31 as we honor these extraordinary women who rule — along with our very own “super man,” the wonderful Jim Houston. It is sure to be an inspirational day.”

Founded in 2001 by current Indian Wells Councilmember, Mary T. Roche, the mission of WLF is to empower and develop women leaders of all ages and backgrounds. Over the past 12 years, WLF has raised more than $300,000 in college scholarship funds for members enrolled in its Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program.

Ticket prices are $65 for members and $85 for non-members.  This year WLF and its Young Women Leaders have partnered with FIND Food Bank of the Coachella Valley to help feed the hungry.  Please bring one canned food item or more to help those in need.  For more information about WLF, visit the website at www.wlfdesert.org.

About Kate Buckley

Kate Buckley is a brand strategist, premium domain broker and consultant, interviewer, storyteller, visual artist, and award-winning poet & writer. She’s worked in media and marketing since 1997, holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and is the author of A Wild Region (Moon Tide Press) and Follow Me Down (Tebot Bach). A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her awards include a Gabeheart Prize and the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize. She was most recently shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. A ninth-generation Kentuckian, she’s made her home in Southern California since 1998.

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