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2018 Women Who Rule Awards Luncheon and Scholarship Fundraiser

Denise Wilson, Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, Patty Newman and Reesa Manning to be Recognized at 6th Annual Fundraiser

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA – (December 27, 2017) – The Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley (WLF) is proud to announce the honorees for its 6th Annual “Women Who Rule” Awards Luncheon and Scholarship Fundraiser presented by Desert Regional Medical Center. Denise Wilson, Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, Patty Newman and Reesa Manning will be honored for their extraordinary community leadership, public service, commitment to education and visionary entrepreneurship on Friday, January 26, 2018 at Agua Caliente Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA.

This spectacular valley-wide celebration pays tribute to women achieving the highest level of success and making a difference in our community. The event begins at 11 a.m. with an elegant reception and silent auction, followed by a 12 p.m. awards program and luncheon.

All proceeds from the luncheon, and a matching donation from OneFuture Coachella Valley, a division of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, will go directly towards college scholarships for the best and brightest members enrolled in WLF’s Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program.

Each of the honorees chosen has exemplified a dedication to our community by educating, inspiring, and empowering others. We are honored to recognize them as women who rule.

Early-bird ticket prices are $70 for WLF members, $80 for non-members and $800 for tables of ten until January 5, 2018 and then regular prices until the day of the event. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, please visit www.wlfdesert.org.

This year’s remarkable “Women Who Rule” includes the following recipients:

“WLF Desert Visionary Award” – Denise Wilson
Denise Wilson is the founder, President and CEO of Desert Jet, a group of aircraft management, charter, maintenance and ground handling companies based in the greater Palm Springs area. Structured as the private car service of the sky, private flyers can use Desert Jet’s services on-demand, with no requirements such as buying a fractional share, jet card or membership. Denise was a professional oboist-turned-commercial pilot who founded Desert Jet with no investors or start-up capital and led the company to rank on the Inc. 500|5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing, privately-owned companies five consecutive years and named one of the “50 Fastest Growing” women-owned/led companies worldwide.


This year’s remarkable “Women Who Rule” includes the following recipients:

Denise Wilson_thumb_1“WLF Desert Visionary Award” – Denise Wilson

Denise Wilson is the founder, President and CEO of Desert Jet, a group of aircraft management, charter, maintenance and ground handling companies based in the greater Palm Springs area. Structured as the private car service of the sky, private flyers can use Desert Jet’s services on-demand, with no requirements such as buying a fractional share, jet card or membership. Denise was a professional oboist-turned-commercial pilot who founded Desert Jet with no investors or start-up capital and led the company to rank on the Inc. 500|5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing, privately-owned companies five consecutive years and named one of the “50 Fastest Growing” women-owned/led companies worldwide.

Kajsa_Thuresson_Frary_thumb“Mary T. Roche Community Leadership Award” – Kajsa Thuresson-Frary
As Director of McCallum Theatre Education (formerly McCallum Theatre Institute), Kajsa leads a team of education coordinators, teaching artists and other artistic staff in designing, developing and implementing dynamic programs serving close to 40,000 students, teachers and other community members each year. She joined the McCallum Theater in 1993, the same year she moved to Palm Desert. In 1997, she was promoted to Director of Education and charged with the responsibility to launch the education division, a realization of an ambition to increase the Theatre’s focus on arts-centered education for children and adults and more deeply serve the local community. The joy and passion that drives her work is constantly fueled by collaboration with McCallum Theatre Education’s brilliant teaching artists, staff, artists, local educators, volunteers and involved students of all ages.


Patty_Newman_thumb“Helene Galen Excellence in Education Award” – Patricia 'Patty' Newman
Patty Newman, a former fashion industry executive and part time Community College educator is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and a 36-year desert resident along with her husband, Arthur. Their interests have included charitable, cultural and civic causes.
Locally, Patty’s leadership has benefited numerous non-profit organizations and she has served on many boards and currently chairs the Coachella Valley Wellness Foundation.  Civically, she has chaired two Rancho Mirage Commissions; the Cultural Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission. She has always been interested in women’s issues and chaired the American Heart Association’s ‘Go-Red for Women’ for two years bringing together the largest ever support for the cause in the Valley. Patty was the cofounder of the WLF’s Scholarship program and has served in several other roles supporting education and women.  In over 30 years in the Valley, Patty has raised funds, provided leadership, has lent her name and served as ‘spokeswoman’, and chaired events for many local causes.  She works hard toward improving life in her communities.


Reesa_Manning_thumb“WLF Trail Blazer Award” – Reesa Manning
The proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” for some, may point to a cautious path of meeting immediate needs. For others, the proverb challenges imagination, motivation and vision. Reesa Manning is woman who sees that horizon and charts a course to conquer the obstacles. Reesa was the founder of Penguins Frozen Yogurt, a Financial Advisor for 20 years with UBS and Integrated Wealth Management, and served as the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of National Council of Jewish Women. Reesa’s leadership has also led to many board appointments. Over the years she has served on the boards of The National Association of Women Business Owners, Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley, President of Women of Sinai, Temple Sinai, and her HOA at Springs Country Club. She continues to advocate for women, helping other’s embrace and understand finances to ensure success. Reesa never stops believing that they can make tomorrow better than today.

About Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley:
Founded in 2001 by Indian Wells City Council member Mary T. Roche, the mission of Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley is to empower and develop women leaders of all ages and backgrounds in our community. Women Leaders Forum has raised more than $400,000 in college scholarship funds for the best and brightest enrolled in the Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program seeking higher education. This year WLF is mentoring over 60 Young Women Leaders as they prepare for college and life. We thank our members, sponsors and those that attend events to support raising college scholarship funds for these deserving young women.
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