WLF Board Members
Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley's 2012 - 2013 Board of Directors
Paula Tapia, Assistant Vice President with Pacific Western Bank, began her career in banking 8 years ago, following her graduation from California State University, San Bernardino where she earned a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Finance.
Paula is passionate about the importance of community service and is actively involved with many local organizations including the Center of Education Training and the Community Associations Institute-Coachella Valley Chapter. She is also a member of various professional groups including the National Notary Association and is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Coachella Valley.
Paula became a member of WLF's Board in May 2010 and served as Treasurer since her installment. Paula is excited to assume leadership of WLF and continue its wonderful work with the young women of Coachella Valley.
Sheila Stillman, a transplanted New Yorker, has made Coachella Valley her home for the past eighteen years. She spent 30 years in the world of banking and finance for a variety of entities as a commercial, mortgage and retail lender as well as run Desert Financial Services for Riverside Superior Cout for 10 years.
Always active in her communities, Sheila has served on the Board of Soroptimists International, as Treasurer and President for Toastmasters, been a Rotary speech contest judge, served twice in an elected council seat for AVMAC in an unincorporated area of Riverside County, spoke countywide on behalf of State Ballot Propositions and developed and taught seminars for the courts and other government agencies on subjects such as "Handling Change" and "Time Management."
Sheila has been a member of WLF since 2006. She headed the TIAW speaker liaison committee in 2007 and was on all subsequent LEAD committees. Sheila became a member of WLF's Board of Directors in May of 2010 and has Chaired the Young Women Ambassadors Education Committee since then. She believes one of WLF's most important goals is to find, include, encourage and support our valley's young women to develop their leadership potential.
Nona began her business career as an entrepreneur, starting and building a successful delicatessen business in Palm Springs. After selling that operation to spend more time with her family, she returned to school to supplement her degree and sit for her CPA license. She subsequently worked for the area's largest CPA firm (Maryanov, Madsen, Gordon & Campbell), starting as a staff accountant and working her way up to senior accountant during her 3-year tenure.
Nona's subsequent positions included a 5-year tenure as Director of Finance and Administration for the Palm Springs International Film Festival and 6 years as Executive Director of the largest Jewish Synagogue in the Coachella Valley. Lured by the entrepreneurial spirit, Nona started her own CPA firm specializing in tax planning and preparation, business management and consulting, small business and non-profit accounting and general business planning.
Nona was appointed to WLF's Board of Directors to fill a vacancy in September 2011 following her key involvement with WLF's "GIRLZ & Our Leaders" Scholarship Fundraiser Luncheon earlier that year. Her term will end in May 2013.
Connie Golds is the President and Co-Founder of Desert Best Friend’s Closet, a non-profit organization that provides clothing for low-income residents of the Coachella Valley. Desert Best Friend’s Closet focuses on work-appropriate clothing for men and women and prom attire for high school girls. Her organization’s motto—“a new outfit creates a new outlook”—supports the belief that reusing, recycling and repurposing can help others and reduce our carbon footprint.
Connie has a strong commitment to and record of community service in the Coachella Valley, particularly with charities that benefit youth or education. She dedicated 13 years to volunteering as a Girl Scout leader, earning honors like Outstanding Leader, Outstanding Volunteer and the GSUSA Appreciation Award. Today she is an active member of numerous volunteer organizations, serving on the Scholarship Committee of the Desert Community Foundation, as Board Secretary for Sheltering Sisters, the Auxiliary of Shelter From the Storm, and as co-chair of the UCLA Alumni Scholarships Committee. She was recently elected by her fellow directors to Chair the Marywood-Palm Valley School Board of Trustees.
Her enthusiasm for education comes from her work as a teacher; she taught American Sign Language at College of the Desert for ten years and prior to that, she was an interpreter and tutor for Deaf students around the Coachella Valley.
Dr. Nicole Ortiz
Young Women Leaders Chair
Dr. Nicole Ortiz is the co-founder of Live Well Clinic in La Quinta, where she is a primary care doctor with a focus on holistic family medicine. She received her doctorate in naturopathic medicine from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland,OR, a four-year, post-graduate medical program. Her passion is helping individuals achieve a better quality of life through a holistic preventative and proactive approach to health. She was recently featured in Suzanne Sommer’s book, “Knockout,” for a contribution in treating patients with cancer through supportive integrative approaches. She believes that any dream can be realized with a bit of common sense and intelligent persistence.
Since moving to the Coachella Valley, Nicole's community service has included working with Pathways to Success mentoring local high school women, co-chairing the first annual Desert’s Biggest Loser Challenge and Charity, and seminars focused on empowering women to achieve better health.
Nicole became a member of WLF's Board of Directors in May 2010. She started the successful Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program, where YWL's are matched with a WLF member in their career field of interest for one-to-one mentoring. Nicole's passion is to help women of any age believe in their full potential and envision a clear path toward reaching their dreams.
Sue has been an active member of WLF through her work on the Membership, L.E.A.D. and GIRLZ committees. She is currently Head of Sales & Marketing for Universal Protection Service's Palm Desert branch. Universal Protection Service is the 6th largest provider of security services in the United States and has grown to this position through its strong client relationships and unmatched customer service.
Before joining Universal Protection Service, Sue held several management positions within a large privately-held event marketing agency working with Fortune 100 Brands. As General Manager for the Palm Springs branch, she was a dynamic leader recognized for her ability to motivate sales teams as well as successfully manage cross-departmental teams. In her role as Director of Business Development, she an innovator who consistently developed new methods to improve the client experience.
Sue earned her BA from DePauw University in Indiana. She has lived in the Palm Springs area for over 12 years and is currently raising her four children in this beautiful community. Sue was appointed to WLF's Board in January 2012 to fill a vacancy. Her term will expire in 2014.
Communications and Marketing Chair
Amy Blaisdell is a Coachella Valley native who moved back to the desert five years ago from the Bay Area. Amy serves as Communications Director for the City of Palm Springs and brings a deep understanding of community and public relations, communications and marketing strategies. She is the City of Palm Springs liaison to both the public and the media, keeping them informed on upcoming events and the operations and policies of Palm Springs local government.
A former journalist, Amy has served on many committees in various organizations, including Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Awards; Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade; and Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet's Healthy Planet, Healthy You Campaign to Fight Childhood Obesity. Amy is also the marketing lead and staff liaison to the upcoming City of Palm Springs 75th annivesary celebration, slated for April 20, 2013. Amy serves as WLF's Communications and Marketing Chair and is also the Co-Chair of this year's inaugural Women Who Rule! Awards Luncheon and Scholarship Fundrsaiser, honoring philanthropist Helene Galen, FIND Food Bank CEO Lisa Houston, and film producer Kim Waltrip.
Amy has been a member of WLF since 2009 and became of member of the Board of Directors in May 2012. She also serves on the Board of Directors of FIND Food Bank.
Robin Costello is co-owner of Eventertainment, a full-service entertainment booking agency. Prior to owning her own business, Robin worked at the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority where she was responsible for supporting sales and marketing efforts with convention services and event management. She has 20 years of hotel sales and event experience for companies such as Wyndham, Hilton, Hyatt and Red Lion hotels. Robin is still involved in Desert Resort's tourism sales by volunteering her time planning various events for the hospitality community in an effort to promote the valley's tourism and convention industry.
Robin became a member of WLF's Board of Directors in May 2010. She has used her expertise to handle logistics for all WLF events. She served as Co-Chair of WLF's 2011 Annual Leadership Conference, L.E.A.D.
Jenell has been a Coachella Valley resident for the past sixteen years. She has founded several companies in the valley and has always felt a strong need to be involved in the local community. Currently Jenell is on the board of Olive Crest, an organization dedicated to strong families and safe children. Her passion for the community has led to her involvement with WLF and several other organizations.
Jenell's considerable business experience, negotiating skills and attention to detail have resulted in her being a top agent at Windemere, Rancho Mirage. Currently she is focused on providing impeccable service to her Short Sale sellers and delivers her buyers with hard-found deals that maximize profit.
Dr. Sonja Fung
Sonja is the Co-Founder and Medical Director of LiveWell Clinic in La Quinta which focuses on Integrative Cancer care, Bio-identical Hormone Balancing, sports injury and pain management, HCG weight loss and IV nutrient therapy. Prior to coming to the desert, she received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, Oregon and her BS in Psychological Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Sonja has always been actively involved in her community - from student government in medical school to tutoring elementary school students in East LA. Most recently, she was integrally involved in the 2010 Desert's Biggest Loser Challenge.
Sonja joined WLF in 2009 and has been actively involved in WLF's Young Women Leaders Mentoring Program. She has recruited mentors, matched mentors with mentees, and been instrumental in organizing and managing the program. Sonja became a member of WLF's Board of Directors in May 2012; her term will go through May 2015.