cvep webinar series

Great Minds

Local leaders discuss 'The Economic Future of the Coachella Valley' in a free webinar series from the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, Palm Springs Life, and SBEMP Attorneys.

Staff Report Current Digital, Real Estate, Vision

cvep webinar series

It will take several years, but the Coachella Valley will bounce back from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. When it does, the local economy with be healthier, more diverse, and better educated and prepared to weather the uncertainties of the future.

How will we get there?

To answer to this complicated question, Palm Springs Life partnered with the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and the law firm Slovak Baron Empey Murphy & Pinkney to produce the webinar series The Economic Future of the Coachella Valley, featuring leaders from cross-section of the region’s most critical industries.

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Joe Wallace, CVEP’s CEO and chief innovation officer, and Valerie Powers Smith, partner at SBEMP, moderate the nine webinars, which stream weekly, Wednesdays at 2 p.m., and are also available on the Palm Springs Life YouTube page. The webinars are free.

“It’s important that leaders remain optimistic and realistic,” says Wallace, who oversees “innovation hubs” in Palm Springs and Palm Desert where entrepreneurs bring products to the market and create high-skill jobs in the region. “[COVID-19] cannot take our sunshine away. We’ll be back, and we’ll be back strong.”

Register for the webinars at:

Here’s the schedule:

Sept. 23: Tourism and Hospitality

Scott White (Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau), Kelly Steward (The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage), and Allen Monroe (The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens) discuss how airlines, hotels, attractions, and events are making Greater Palm Springs a safe and welcoming place to visit for business and pleasure.

Sept. 30: Health, Medicine, and Wellness

Ken Wheat (Eisenhower Health), Jenna LeComte-Hinely (Health Assessment and Research for Communities), and Kim Saruwatari (Riverside University Health System–Public Health) discuss the future of primary and secondary care as well as public health in the COVID-19 era.

Oct. 7: Arts and Culture

Louis Grachos (Palm Springs Art Museum), Chris Mobley (Modernism Week), and Ron Celona (Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre) discuss how arts and culture organizations, venues, and events are adapting to safely welcome visitors and deliver on their missions.

Oct. 14: Education

Joel Kinnamon (College of the Desert), Jake Zhu (CSUSB Palm Desert), and Sandra Lyon (Palm Springs Unified School District) discuss the pandemic’s temporary and long-term effects on education as well as how our local institutions are innovating new ways to teach and learn.

Oct. 21: Real Estate

Michael Meade (Wilson Meade Commercial Real Estate), Peggy Sue Lane (First American Title), and Brady Sandahl (Brady Sandahl Real Estate Group at Keller Williams Luxury Homes) discuss the boom in home sales and the challenge for commercial real estate. Sponsored by Franklin Loan Center.

Oct. 28: Retail and Restaurants

Michael Braun (Grit Development), Tara Lazar (f10creative), and Patrick Klein (The Gardens on El Paseo) discuss the state of retail and restaurants in the Coachella Valley— from the impacts on sales and employees to the new world of risk reduction.

Nov. 4: Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Laura Fritz (Eisenhower Health Foundation) and Debbie Espinosa (FIND Food Bank) discuss how nonprofit organizations are tuning their programming and fundraising strategies for the COVID era.

Nov. 11: Governance

One valley, nine cities, five tribal governments, and one pandemic: Lauri Aylaian (City of Palm Desert) and Jeff Grubbe (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians) discuss how local governments can work together to lift the entire region.

Nov. 18: The Future is Economic Diversity

Is the region too dependent on tourism? In the final installment in our nine-part series, Joe Wallace of CVEP and his guests discuss how to diversify the economy of the Coachella Valley.

For more information on CVEP, visit For information on SBEMP Attorneys, visit