By Amy Blaisdell

The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce and the City of Palm Springs will celebrate five outstanding women leaders for their business and community leadership at this year’s 31st Annual Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce Athena Awards Holiday Gala on Friday, Dec. 1.

The 11 a.m. soiree at the Renaissance Palm Springs, 888 Tahquitz Canyon Way, will kick off with a champagne reception and fashion show followed by the noon luncheon and awards ceremony.

This year’s outstanding 2017 Athena honorees are:

Former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Lifetime Achievement Award – a Coachella Valley resident, Boxer is widely respected in the Palm Springs community for her commitment to supporting equality for women and the LGBTQ community. She was also instrumental in securing federal funds for the City’s state-of-the-art Control Tower at Palm Springs International Airport and has supported numerous local non-profits in need, including Desert AIDS Project, Mizell Senior Center and the Palm Springs Animal Shelter.

Donna MacMillan, Athena Community Icon Award – MacMillan is much admired in Palm Springs for her leadership on the Board of Trustees of the Palm Springs Art Museum, Desert X, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and her commitment to numerous philanthropic causes throughout the Coachella Valley.

Karen Devine, Athena Career Excellence Award – The KESQ-TV news anchor, who this year celebrates 25 years as a journalist in the Coachella Valley, is widely respected for her integrity and commitment to fair and balanced reporting. When it comes to professionalism and getting the story right, no other news personality is as trusted as Karen Devine. 

Betty Wolf, Athena Business Visionary Award – Wolf, who serves as Senior Vice President of Development for the McCallum Theatre and formerly led the Foundation for Eisenhower Medical Center, is well known throughout the desert for developing community partnerships and million-dollar annual giving and philanthropic initiatives that have led to the survival of important arts, education and healthcare programs in the Coachella Valley.

Dr. Suzanne Quardt, Athena Community Leadership Award – “Dr. Q” as she is affectionately known, has helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of the Desert AIDS Project through her past work as the Co-Chair of the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala. She is also well known in the Coachella Valley as a leading plastic surgeon and business leader, who gives back to the community through her time and volunteer efforts.

The Athena Awards is a distinguished honor presented by Chambers of Commerce nationwide, which pays tribute to women who demonstrate excellence in business and in the community.

“This group of extraordinary women exemplify the highest level of professional achievement when it comes to serving as role models, breaking the glass ceiling and leading the way for current and future generations of women leaders in the Coachella Valley,” said Nona Watson, CEO of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce. “We are thrilled to celebrate these five fabulous ladies who are truly making a difference in our community.”

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