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"Women Who Rule!" honors set for January

By Rich Tarpening, Assignment Manager, Rich.Tarpening@kesq.com
Published On: Dec 13 2012 04:06:20 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 13 2012 04:17:00 PM CST
Women who Rule

Helene Galen, Lisa Houston and Kim Waltrip will receive 2013 "Women Who Rule!" awards in January 2013

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -

Three extraordinary Coachella Valley women will be honored for their outstanding community leadership, public service and visionary entrepreneurship on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, at Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley's inaugural "Women Who Rule!" Awards Luncheon and Scholarship Fundraiser, the first ever valley-wide luncheon honoring local women making a difference in our community.  

The 11 a.m. event at the Agua Caliente Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, will be emceed by KESQ-TV's Karen Devine and CBS Local 2's Brooke Beare -- and will kick off with a spectacular champagne reception and silent auction followed by a noon awards program and luncheon.

The Title Sponsor of this year's inaugural event is the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. All proceeds raised will go directly towards college scholarships for local members of WLF's Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program, with a match of up to $25,000 from Pathways to Success, a division of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership.

This year's outstanding women who rule include: Helene Galen, Philanthropist, inaugural "Mary T. Roche Community Leadership Award." Helene Galen is known throughout the Coachella Valley and beyond for her big heart and tremendous philanthropy, donating millions of dollars over the years to local nonprofit organizations in need, including the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center at Eisenhower Medical Center, the McCallum Theatre, the Palm Springs Art Museum and the newly established Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, dubbed "The Galen." Galen also donated funds to bring the wildly successful "Forever Marilyn" sculpture to downtown Palm Springs and was the 2012 "Guardian Angel" of the 21st annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade.   

Lisa Houston, CEO of FIND Food Bank of the Coachella Valley, inaugural "Jackie Lee Houston Heart of Gold Award."  This award is named after Lisa Houston's late mother-in-law, one of WLF's long-time supporters -- and one of the Coachella Valley's most prolific community leaders when it comes to raising funds for those in need. As CEO of FIND (Food in Need of Distribution) Food Bank, Lisa Houston has followed in Jackie Lee's footsteps by making it her mission to help feed the hungry in the Coachella Valley while at the same time educating the public about the growing problem of food insecurity in our desert. Under Houston's leadership, FIND has grown to become the leader of a network of more than 90 nonprofit agencies throughout the Coachella Valley that help provide food for the hungry. In addition, Houston and FIND Food Bank partnered this year with WLF's "Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program" for a special community service day at the food bank devoted to educating more than 100 of WLF's Young Women Leaders about the importance of giving back to their community.   

Kim Waltrip, Film Producer, inaugural "Desert Visionary Award."  Waltrip is Vice Chair of  Palm Springs-based "Kim and Jim Productions," -- and with producing partner Jim Casey, recently rolled out the red carpet for the premiere of their latest Hollywood endeavor, "Hit and Run" right here in Palm Springs. In addition, Waltrip has produced several other widely released films including, "Adopt a Sailor," "A Very Mary Christmas," "A Thousand Cuts," "I Didn't Come Here to Die" and "Old Days."  A leader in the Coachella Valley when it comes to growing the local film industry, Waltrip is a creative visionary dedicated to assisting local leaders develop film friendly incentive programs that will spur production here in the Coachella Valley.

In addition, WLF Founder Mary T. Roche will present a special "Award of Accomplishment" to Lynn Moriarty, the recently retired executive director of Shelter from Storm in Palm Desert.  "Helene Galen, Lisa Houston, Kim Waltrip and Lynn Moriarty serve as tremendous role models and inspirations to the accomplished members of Women Leaders Forum and the young women we mentor," said WLF President Paula Tapia.   "We are incredibly honored to pay tribute to these remarkable women while raising much needed funds for our young women leaders seeking higher education. In addition, I want to thank the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians for their Title Sponsorship of this inaugural event -- and I encourage every woman leader in the Coachella Valley to join WLF on Jan. 29 as we honor these extraordinary women who rule!" 

Founded in 2001 by Indian Wells Mayor Mary T. Roche, over the last 10 years, WLF has raised more than $150,000 for college scholarships for members of its Young Women Leaders Program.   Ticket prices are $65 for members and $85 for non-members. 

This year WLF has partnered with FIND Food Bank of the Coachella Valley to help feed the hungry.  Please bring one canned food item or more to help those in need.  For more information about WLF, visit the website at www.wlfdesert.org