cvep webinar palm springs life

They Can’t Take Away 
Our Sunshine’

In a webinar series, leaders discuss the way forward for the Coachella Valley.

Staff Report Current PSL, Vision

cvep webinar palm springs life
Joe Wallace, CVEP’s CEO and chief innovation officer, and Valerie Powers Smith, partner at SBEMP, moderate the nine webisodes.

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 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 the region’s critical industries. The webinar series is presented by Timo’s Air Conditioning and Heating.

Joe Wallace, CVEP’s CEO and chief innovation officer, and Valerie Powers Smith, partner at SBEMP, moderate the nine webisodes, which stream weekly, Wednesdays at 2 p.m., and are available anytime at

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

Wallace moderates the first two webisodes, beginning with tourism and hospitality and featuring Scott White of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, Kelly Steward of Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, and Allen Monroe of The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

The second webisode looks into healthcare with Ken Wheat of Eisenhower Health, Jenna LeComte-Hinely of the research firm HARC, and Kim Saruwatari of Riverside University Health System.

Here’s the webinar schedule for the remainder of the series:

October 7: Arts, Culture, and Entertainment
Featuring Louis Grachos (Palm Springs Art Museum), Chris Mobley (Modernism Week), and Ron Celona (Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre).

October 14: Education
Featuring Joel Kinnamon (College of the Desert), Jake Zhu (CSUSB Palm Desert), and Sandra Lyon (Palm Springs Unified School District). Sponsored by Think Together.

October 21: Real Estate
Featuring 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). 
Sponsored by Franklin Loan Center.

October 28: Retail and Restaurants
Featuring Michael Braun (Grit Development), Tara Lazar 
(F10 Creative), and Patrick Klein 
(The Gardens on El Paseo).

November 4: Nonprofits and Philanthropy
Featuring Laura Fritz (Eisenhower Health Foundation), Debbie Espinosa (FIND Food Bank), and Jan Hawkins (The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens).

November 11: Governance
Featuring David Ready (City of Palm Springs) and Reid D. Milanovich (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians).

November 18: The Future is Economic Diversity
Featuring Joe Wallace and guests to be announced.

The webinars are free. Register online at