Six remarkable women. Six leaders in the business world and role models in the community whose mission is to make a difference in the Coachella Valley.
Palm Springs Life will honor each of them on May 14 at the Women Who Lead Awards Luncheon at The Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage. The keynote speaker will be Trina Turk.
The six honorees are celebrated in three categories: Rising Star, Business Leader, and Community Non-Profit. They include:
• Michelle Castillo, founder of Wyld Womxn
• Candice Held, owner, Candice Held
• Tracy Conrad, CEO, Smoke Tree Ranch
• Kelly McLean Lewin, vice president, McLean Company
• Cynthia Breunig, CEO/President, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council
• Victory Grund, president & founder, Old Town Artisan Studios in La Quinta
The luncheon is presented by SBEMP Attorneys and sponsored by El Paseo Jewelers, Shottenkirk Desert Lexus, and The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, and benefits the GirlFriend Factor.
Turk, who opened her first contemporary clothing retail store in 2002 in Palm Springs and has since expanded to 12 boutiques, responded by email to questions about the Women Who Lead Awards Luncheon and what has shaped her successful lifestyle brand.
The Women Who Lead Awards Luncheon recognizes six women for their accomplishments both in business and life. Why is it important to honor their contributions to the valley?
Women need recognition too! In a time when women are speaking out, running for office and feeling empowered, it’s more important than ever to recognize those who support other women and who are making positive changes in our community.
You founded your clothing line in 1995. What were some of the challenges you faced and how did they help shape you going forward?
We’ve faced big economic challenges such as September 11, 2001, and the 2008 recession. Both events really curtailed the general public’s appetite to shop — not just for clothing, but also for everything. We emerged from both of those challenges with a renewed belief in the value of a strong brand identity. These events also reinforced the idea that in order to be an entrepreneur, you have to be an optimist and willing to take risks.
What is the best piece of advice someone ever gave you?
Trust your instincts.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by women who create things with their hands — sculptors, painters, weavers and other artists. I’m also inspired by single mothers —some who work at Trina Turk — who manage to get it all done, raise great kids, and get to work on time.
You and your husband share a passion for architectural preservation. Where did this appreciation for architecture come from and why is it important to you?
Architecture and its preservation has been a hobby of ours for years. We always loved old buildings, and as creative people have appreciated the workmanship and detail that goes into architectural gems, as well as the way you feel when you’re in a well-designed space. We’ve learned so much on architectural tours in Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and beyond. We view architecture as a part of the culture and the larger design world. In Palm Springs, the architectural heritage is so important to its sense of place — the city would not be itself without its midcentury architecture.
What do you like best about living in the Coachella Valley?
The fresh air, clear light, and the combination of beautiful midcentury architecture with dramatic natural landscape can’t be beat. I actually live in Los Feliz in Los Angeles. We have a home in Palm Springs. I find myself exhaling as soon as I take the Highway 111 exit off Interstate 10.
Women Who Lead Awards Luncheon, 11 a.m. reception, 12:15 p.m. lunch on May 14, The Ritz-Carlton, 68900 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage; palmspringslife.com/women-who-lead/.