Women Leaders Forum Honors Quintet's Contributions

Live auction raises more than $100,000

Jim Houston is flanked by his fellow honorees by the Women Leaders Forum, including (from left) Joan Boiko, Kathy Greco, Donna MacMillan and Susan Stein.

Sherri Breyer


Four extraordinary women and one Super-man took off their capes momentarily to be honored at the second annual Women Who Rule! awards luncheon and scholarship fundraiser Jan. 31 presented by Women Leaders Forum (WLF) of the Coachella Valley.

James R. Houston, named the organization’s first Super-man, received the Champion of Education Award.

The outstanding women and their awards were: philanthropist Donna MacMillan,  Mary T. Roche Community Leadership Award; Desert Healthcare CEO Kathy Greco, Jackie Lee Houston Heart of Gold Award; Creative Producer/Director Fashion Week El Paseo and Fashion Editor Palm Springs Life magazine Susan Stein, Desert Visionary Award, and Palm Springs Unified School District’s Communications Manager Joan Boiko, Helene Galen Excellence In Education Award.

More than $100,000 was raised at a live auction conducted by Patti Gribow and Wes Ahlgren, chief operating officer of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEO).

This includes $50,000 in matching funds from Pathways to Success, a division of CVEP. Other large donors were James Houston and Donna MacMillan, $10,000 each, and Helene Galen, $7,500.

One of the inspiring speakers was Amanda Boiko, daughter of honoree Joan and a past WLF Scholarship recipient. She spoke of how much the orgaization’s mentoring program meant to her.

There are currently 100 young girls in WLF’s mentoring program, and the board is hopeful that they can distribute 22 student scholarships this year as they did in 2013.
The mission of Women Leaders Forum explained by president Amy Blaisdell is to “empower, develop, and inspire women leaders of all ages and backgrounds in our community.”

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