Summer Speaker Series: Economic Drivers in the Coachella Valley Announced

May 03, 2024

With great excitement the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce announces our Summer Speaker Series: Economic Drivers in the Coachella Valley.  We will host 4 parts bringing you new speakers every time. The Series will be held at Mission Hills Country Club: 34600 Mission Hills Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. This is a members only event and tickets are $50 per person which includes the presentation, networking, lunch, and self-introductions.

Bring your team, stay informed and connect this summer with the center of valley business!

Register Here

May 15th: Summer Speaker Series1: Economic Update & The Galleri Classic

Join Austin Beneteau with Modern Woodmen and Gary Cox with AssetMark, where they will be discussing the state of the economy. Topics will include inflation, interest rates, markets during election years and the potential of a soft landing or recession.

Gary Cox has 25+ years of experience in the financial services industry, including 15+ years at AssetMark where he currently serves as VP of Investment Solutions. Previously he worked at Lehman Brothers (Tokyo / Chicago) as Fixed Income Portfolio Manager. Gary was born and raised in Canada where he earned his Chartered Accountants designation along with his love for ice hockey.

Austin Beneteau serves as an Investment Adviser Representative with an office in Rancho Mirage. His expertise lies in crafting and overseeing retirement solutions tailored for business owners and nonprofits, specializing in 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Additionally, he provides personalized retirement planning services for individuals and families, offering ongoing support to help them achieve their long-term financial objectives.

The Galleri Classic PGA tournament director, Michelle Delancy, will report on the economic impact the tournament has brought to the valley.

About The Galleri Classic: As an annual stop on the PGA TOUR and a host for PGA TOUR Champions events for 12 years, Coachella Valley has an incredibly rich golf history. Several current PGA TOUR Champions members have won here including David Duval, who made history with his final-round 59 to win the 1999 American Express, class of 2022 rookies Justin Leonard (2005 American Express) and Brian Gay (2013), two-time winner Corey Pavin (1987 & 1991), Mike Weir (2003), Joe Durant (2001), Fred Couples (1998) and Jay Haas (1988). Additionally, many World Golf Hall of Fame members have won in Palm Springs including Hale Irwin (1998 Senior Match Play Challenge), Raymond Floyd (1993 Gulfstream Aerospace Invitational), Chi Chi Rodriguez (1991 Vintage Arco Invitational), Lee Trevino (1983 Vintage Invitational). (1990 Vintage Chrysler Invitational), Bob Charles (1987 Vintage Chrysler Invitational), Peter Thomson (1985 Vintage Invitational) and Gene Littler.


June 21: Summer Speaker Series 2: Acrisure Arena + CV Firebirds +Iceplex and PS International Film Society

Acrisure Arena + CV Firebirds + Iceplex Senior Vice President, John Page will report on the economic impact the arena has brought to the valley.

At OVG, John Page is responsible for the management and oversight of the company’s owned-and-operated venue Acrisure Arena, AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds, and regional responsibility for OVG360, OVG’s full-service venue management company. With more than 30 years of live event and sports industry experience, before joining OVG, Page served as president of Spectra, which was acquired by OVG in November of 2021.

A presentation on the economic impact of the Palm Springs International Film Society will be delivered by Kelly Rogers, Development and Corporate Sponsorship Manager for the PSIFS.

Kelly Rogers, Ph.D., currently serving as the Development and Corporate Sponsorship Manager for the Palm Springs International Film Society, Kelly Rogers continues to expand the organization’s influence in the non-profit sector while demonstrating a passion for fostering connections and promoting growth throughout the Coachella Valley. With expertise in strategic planning, program development, fundraising, and grant writing, Kelly contributes to the organization’s success and mission.


July 17: Summer Speaker Series 3: Empire Polo + Goldenvoice and Desert Champions + Indian Wells Tennis Garden

Goldenvoice + Empire Polo Club VP/GM, Mark Girton, will discuss the economic impact the polo grounds and their unique venue brings to the valley.

Mark Griton is a career Special Event Professional. Special Events consist of Concerts, Award Shows, Mixers, After Parties, Product Launches, Festivals, you name it, he can do it. Mark’s current position is to grow and develop events at all AEG Presents venues across the country. AEG has fantastic venues and wants to host events of all kinds at all of them.

Desert Champions Director of Business Development and Partnerships, Rolf Hoehn will speak about the economic impact the Tennis Gardens brings to the valley.

Rolf Hoehn is the Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Desert Champions, LLC (Indian Wells Tennis Garden). Rolf has 26 years of international airline experience including senior executive level positions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Arabian Gulf States.


August 21: Summer Speaker Series 4: Cotino, a Storyliving by Disney Community and The Living Desert

Come and enjoy an update on two major economic drivers for the area:
Cotino™, a Storyliving by Disney community and Allen Monroe from The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens
Allen Monroe has devoted his life and career to the conservation of animals and educating the public about the natural world. He has worked for zoos and public aquariums around the country including the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Oklahoma City Zoo, the Indianapolis Zoo and as Director for the North Carolina Aquarium. In 2014, he became the President/CEO of the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, CA. In addition, he has worked as a research scientist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where he studied the effects of climate change on endangered species.

Series Sponsored by StateFarm – Melanie Villeneuve Agency

Media Sponsor by Digital Party Sound

Thank you to our host Mission Hills Country Club    (760) 568-9351


Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce is a champion for business, a catalyst for growth and a convener of leaders and influencers. We are the center of valley business and the chamber of choice!