Charity: FIND Food Bank
By Heidi Simmons
“Children, adults, seniors and pets are in daily need of food in our valley,” said Linda Evans, Mayor of La Quinta. “It’s the foundation for a healthy life and we all deserve that.” Evans is a board member at FIND. The organization feeds 90,000 residents every month! It is the main distribution center for 80 plus valley charities.
When she is not serving as Mayor, Evans is the Chief Development Officer at JFK Memorial Hospital, in Indio. “In my healthcare position and as Mayor, I see what happens to people who are food insecure. I have a passion for understanding the need for good nutrition and easy access to food in order to be healthy and focused.”
Evans makes the most of everyday. She wakes at 4:00 am and is in bed by 10 o’clock every night. At JFK she is responsible for strategic planning, position recruitment, marketing and media outreach, to name a few. Her boss allows her time and supports her as Mayor. “My motto is: I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” said Evans. “I don’t idle well.”
For Evans, the best part of being Mayor is the people and the La Quinta brand. “Besides our history as a quaint getaway, we are surrounded by our beautiful mountains and have the vibrancy for a healthy lifestyle, thrive on active living and community relationships,” said Evans.
Sometimes Evans likes to lead and sometimes she just likes to belong. “I love team work. Whether it is a community project, a team sport, a yoga class or garnering people together to accomplish something that will make a difference, I thrive on the positive energy,” said Evans. “The sense of shared camaraderie drives me to do more.”
Evans is a native Californian who was raised in Orange County. She attended Cal State Fullerton and completed two master degrees at the University of La Verne. She and her husband moved to the Coachella Valley in 2003 when she took the job at JFK. Evans has worked for Tenet Healthcare for 21 years.
When it comes to someone Evans most admires, it’s her parents. “They’re celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary in November and they have taught me love, kindness, giving and commitment,” said Evans. “They encouraged me to do my best and achieve what I wanted.” Evans and her husband will celebrate 21 years together in October. The couple currently has no pets after losing their beloved twin Yorkie dogs.
To unwind Evans loves to hike. “Our desert trails are amazing,” said Evans. “I’m also a dirt-diva and sand-chick. Glamis is my local getaway and therapy. I ride a quad and love off-roading in the sand dunes.”
Besides being a workaholic, Evans loves to shop. When Evans can catch a movie, her favorites include Sleepless in Seattle, Sweet Home Alabama and The Devil Wears Prada. Her favorite bands include Chicago, Foreigner, The Cars and Van Halen. Her favorite vacation spot is any of the Hawaiian Islands. “I made one trip to Italy and would love to visit again and explore more of that beautiful country,” said Evans.
Growing up, Evans’ family didn’t have money. She always worked, and paid her way through college. “My favorite thing is to listen and interact with the youth,” said Evans. “I remember what it was like, so I enjoy mentoring kids. I want young people to know that if you work hard enough, you can do anything.”
As Mayor, Evans is proud that she has been able to bring a sense of direction and help motivate residents. “I have a willingness and am eager to say ‘come and do this with me,’ no matter what our differences might be. It’s about bringing about a contagious optimism.”
Evans is running for re-election. “There’s a lot of business at hand. It’s a priority to get the Silver Rock destination underway. Mainly, I want to keep the momentum. We are the ‘Gem of the Desert.’ Having a sense of belonging really helps our community prosper,” said Evans.
When it comes to awards, Evans is most proud of being able to serve her community. “Keeping La Quinta vibrant today and in the future is paramount to me. The reason to serve and to give comes from the heart,” said Evans. “Being elected Mayor in 2014 was a humbling experience. Being part of a dynamic community is extremely rewarding. I’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s an amazing position to have. For me, it’s feeling good about the work and serving a purpose that most matters. It’s nice to know that at the end of the day we are making a difference.”
“I look forward to what’s ahead and hope the residents of La Quinta will allow me the opportunity to continue as Mayor. I love our city!”