CVEP Vision Webinars

The Economic Future of the Coachella Valley

The Economic Future of the Coachella Valley, a nine-part webinar series, features leaders and experts from a cross-section of the Coachella Valley’s most critical industries assessing how to navigate the effects and opportunities of the changing economy.

Joe Wallace, CEO and chief innovation officer of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, and Valerie Powers Smith, partner and chair of Trusts, Estates & Probate and Special Needs and Elder Law departments at SBEMP law firm, lead this series of discussions to advance our region’s sustainable future.

A Palm Springs Life event in partnership with the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership

Each of the nine webisodes is focused on a specific sector of our economy. To watch, please click on the link below each webisode summary.

Webisode 1: Tourism and Hospitality

From Palm Springs to Coachella, the Coachella Valley is California’s playground. With more than 125 golf courses, natural hot springs, luxury resorts, and events that draw visitors from around the world, tourism and hospitality are at the heart and soul of the Greater Palm Springs economy. In of the first webinar in our nine-part series, tourism leaders discuss how this critical sector is navigating the short- and long-term  impacts of the pandemic and preparing to safely welcome visitors back to our resort communities for business and pleasure.

Wednesday, September 23, 2:00 p.m.
Moderator: Joe Wallace
Speakers: Scott White, Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau; Kelly Steward, Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage; Allen Monroe, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

View Webisode

For event coverage, click here

Webisode 2: Health, Medicine, and Wellness

Greater Palm Springs has long been a destination for health and wellness. With world-class medical centers and specialty centers for treatments for cancer, plastic surgery, and substance abuse, the region is prepared to offer comprehensive primary and specialty care for the young and old. But how has the novel coronavirus impacted the local healthcare infrastructure, and how will the system rebound with robust, reliable, and sustainable services?

Wednesday, September 30, 2:00 p.m.
Moderator: Joe Wallace
Speakers: Ken Wheat, Eisenhower Health; Jenna LeComte-Hinely, HARC: Kim Saruwatari, Riverside University Health System- Public Health

View Webisode

Webisode 3: Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

Great destinations are distinguished by their culture — their art, music, theater, dance, and architecture and design. Part 3 in our nine-part series focuses on arts and culture, the common ground for all of the region’s communities.  Our museums and performing arts centers, as well as events like Modernism Week, Desert X, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival, are vital to tourism and, therefore, the region’s economy. Our experts take a hard look at how the pandemic has impacted arts and culture in Greater Palm Springs — and how they are innovating for a smart, cutting-edge, and sustainable future.

Wednesday, October 7, 2:00 p.m.
Moderator: Valerie Powers Smith
Speakers: Louis Grachos, Palm Springs Art Museum; Chris Mobley, Modernism Week, Ron Celona, CVRep

View Webisode

Webisode 4: Education

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the entire economy into chaos, but no sector hits home quite like education. The Coachella Valley has three unified K–12 public school districts, private schools, and higher education institutions including College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Indio, Palm Springs, and Mecca/Thermal, as well as Palm Desert campuses of CSU San Bernardino and UC Riverside. Part 4 of our nine-part series explores the pandemic’s temporary and long-term effects on education as well as how our local institutions are adapting to provide students with the knowledge they need to carry our region into a sustainable future. Sponsored by Think Together.

Wednesday, October 14, 2:00 p.m.
Moderator: Valerie Powers Smith
Speakers: Joel Kinnamon, College of the Desert; Jake Zhu, CSUSB Palm Desert; Sandra Lyon, Palm Springs Unified School District

View Webisode

Webisode 5: Real Estate

Real estate has shown almost no signs of weakness as the pandemic runs its course in the Coachella Valley. Prices and values are at an all-time high, while inventory is at an all-time low. Families are leaving densely populated and urban areas in search of space, distance, and quality of life. In Part 5 in our nine-part series, local real estate experts explain why this trend will continue and how it will eventually impact the desert economy. Sponsored by Franklin Loan Center

Wednesday, October 21, 2:00 p.m.
Moderator: Joe Wallace
Speakers: Michael Meade, Wilson Meade Commercial Real Estate; Peggy Sue Lane, First American Title; Brady Sandahl, Brady Sandahl Real Estate Group at Keller Williams Luxury Homes

View Webisode

Webisode 6: Retail and Restaurants

From downtown Palm Springs to El Paseo in Palm Desert to the historic Pueblo Viejo district in downtown Coachella, the shopping and dining in the Coachella Valley range from down home to world class. Part 6 in our nine-part series explores the state of retail and restaurants in the Coachella Valley — from the impacts on sales and employees to the new world of risk reduction protocols, training, and enforcement. Will customers come back? How will their experience change? And how are we innovating to take shopping and dining to a safe new level of satisfaction?

Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 2:00 p.m.
Moderator: Valerie Powers Smith
Speakers: Michael Braun, Grit Development, Tara Lazar, f10creative, Patrick Klein, The Gardens on El Paseo

View Webisode

Webisode 7: Nonprofits and Philanthropy

The Coachella Valley has one of the most robust and generous philanthropic communities of any region its size, and even much bigger. But how does charitable giving look amid the pandemic? How are local nonprofit organizations adjusting their fundraising and programming to serve their missions to find cures, ease suffering, improve quality of life, and educate and enlighten those who live in our desert community? In Part 7 in our nine-part series, experts in our local nonprofit sector discuss how they’re adapting to economy new reality.

Wednesday, November 4, 2:00 p.m.
Moderator: Valerie Powers Smith
Speakers: Laura Fritz, Eisenhower Health Foundation; Debbie Espinosa, FIND Foodbank, Jan Hawkins, The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

View Webisode

Webisode 8: Governance

One valley, nine cities, five tribal governments, and one pandemic: How can local governments work together to lift the entire region? Will the impacts of the coronavirus encourage a regional strategy that some (including CVEP and CVB) have been advocating for years? City and tribal leaders discuss the issues in Part 8 of our series, The Economic Future of the Coachella Valley.

Wednesday, November 11, 2:00 p.m.
Valerie Powers Smith
Speakers: Reid D. Milanovich, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, David Ready, City of Palm Springs, Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, County of Riverside

View Webisode

Webisode 9: The Future is Economic Diversity

When the pandemic hit Greater Palm Springs, the tourism industry saw its greatest drop in visitation on record, as hotels, restaurants, attractions, and major events shuttered with no indication when business might return to “normal.” Is the region too dependent on tourism? The final installment in our nine-part series focuses on how to diversify the economy of the Coachella Valley. Joining Joe is colleague Laura James, vice president of Innovation for the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership.

Wednesday, November 18, 2:00 p.m.
Joe Wallace
Joe Wallace, Coachella Valley Economic Partnership

View Webisode

About our moderators

Joe Wallace is CEO and chief innovation officer of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership. He joined the nonprofit organization in 2012 as founding managing director of the Coachella Valley Innovation Hub (iHub), which assists entrepreneurs working in the renewable energy and enabling technologies spaces bring products to the market and create high-skill jobs in the region. A Stanford University graduate with an MS in mechanical engineering, Joe is a veteran of the electro-optics industry, was a founder or principal in more than 10 start-up businesses, and founder and president of three companies in the data storage segment of the technology industry.
Joe Wallace
Valerie A. Powers Smith is a partner in the law firm Slovak Baron Empey Murphy & Pinkney LLP with offices in Palm Springs and Indian Wells, as well as in New Jersey and New York City. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of special needs and elder law, including health care insurance, short-term and long-term disability insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, special needs trusts, trust administration, estate planning & administration, guardianships and conservatorships. Valerie also practices in the area of estates, trusts, and probate.
Valerie A. Powers Smith

Thank you to our Sponsors

SBEMP Attorneys
Timo's Air Conditioning & Heating
CVEP Summit and Salons