By Heidi Simmons

Coachella Valley women are unique and the Desert Woman’s Show is an event designed and produced by CV women for CV women. It is a celebration of women and all the good things that make living and working in our valley great.

This Sunday and Monday, November 17 and 18, at the Rancho Mirage Agua Caliente Casino Resort and Spa, valley vendors and vivacious venues will fill the Conference Center.

“Sunday is the fun day,” said Diana Marlo, event coordinator and President of Marlo Productions. “There’s food and wine sampling, a fashion show, wall-to-wall vendors, raffles, interesting guests and seminars. And Sunday night is the benefit concert featuring Desperado, Eagles tribute band at Agua Caliente’s THE SHOW Theater.”

With nearly 80 vendors and exhibitors, there is something for every woman. On Sunday, Taste of the Valley will offer tasty sampling from 15 local premium restaurants. Raffle prizes include dinners for two, spa days and two 8-day, 7-nights, stay at Hacienda del Mar Vacation Resort in Cabo San Lucas.

But the fun doesn’t have to end Sunday night. Monday is the Women ‘s Business Conference, which includes an 8 am networking breakfast, vendors, celebrity guests and over 16 breakout sessions. “It’s all about sharing ideas, looking for knowledge and leaving your imprint on the valley,” said Marlo.

This year’s luncheon keynote speaker is Suzanne Somers, who undoubtedly will share her secrets to looking and feeling vibrant. “She is a great example of health and vitality. Suzanne is someone who lives what she preaches,” said Marlo.

Somers is a long time CV resident and has a new book, I’m too Young for This! Somers is a partner and spokesperson for Clark’s Nutrition Center, a sponsor of the event.

This is the sixth annual Desert Woman’s Show & Conference and the first one to be held at Agua Caliente casino resort in Rancho Mirage.

The purpose of the Desert Woman’s Show is two fold: One, it enables local women to explore personal and professional growth, health and fitness issues, while also having fun, shopping, food tasting, sampling drinks, making new friends and learning new things.

And two, it’s all for a good cause. The money raised from the Desperado Concert and Luncheon goes to local charity. Over the last five years the Desert Woman’s Show has contributed over $300,000 to valley nonprofits! This year’s beneficiaries are: Loving All Animals and The Women Leaders Forum.

“Every year I’m asked if men are welcome to attend. And the answer is YES! While the ladies are enjoying a fashion show or a little shopping, the fellas can hang out in Taste of the Valley with great food and some interesting brew from Coachella Valley Brewery Co.” Marlo said.

Besides beer, there are business exhibitors that will certainly appeal to men as well as women: The PGA Superstore, Red Dragon Karate, Hot Purple Energy, Diamond Resorts International, Lumpy’s Golf, Crater Lake Vodka, to name only a few.

The event has drawn up to 3000 people over the two days. Last year, parking was an issue but this year the Agua Caliente offers 24-hour valet service and free self-parking is abundant.

“Unlike other venues in larger cities, The Woman’s Show is intimate. The main room holds 350 people and the breakout seminars seat 30. So it’s very personal. People get to hang out and get to know one another,” said Marlo.

Attendees range between 35 and 65 years old, and the majority are women with a high disposable income.

Sunday’s events begin at 10:00am and run until 5:00. An all day pass is $25 and can be purchased at the door or online. The pass includes vender exhibits, Taste of the Valley, Center Stage events, speakers and the fashion show.

Center Stage on Sunday includes two authors: Doctor Steven Gundry, author of Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution will talk at 10:30 and JJ Virgin will speak about her best selling book The Virgin Diet at 1:30. Virgin is also Monday’s breakfast speaker.
The fashion show will take Center Stage at 12:30 and will feature clothing from Kenneth Cole, Jones New York and V&G HipWear.

Gabe Codding, tournament Director of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, will discuss 43 years of women’s golf with a surprise guest at 3:00.

Sunday has eight seminars throughout the day — all given by local community and business leaders. They will deliver information on dating, finding a purpose, how to live happy, interior design, solar energy, coping with auto-immune disease, the affordable care act, and personal finance.

Sunday events conclude with the Desperado Concert, which begins at 7:00. Tickets start at $35 for loge seating and go up to $65. “The Show Theater is a great concert venue with stadium seating and excellent sound. I’ll be a fun way to end the night,” said Marlo.

Monday, the Women’s Business Conference kicks off. It includes breakfast, guest speakers, vendors and 16 breakout sessions. Monday’s events begin at 8:00am and runs until 5:00. The Women’s Business Conference costs $45 a person. The luncheon with Suzanne Somers is sold separately. Tickets are $50 and the event is held in the Agua Caliente’s THE SHOW Theater.

One of the breakout seminars is a two hour certified “Sexual Harassment in the Workforce” training session that satisfies the California State requirements for businesses managers.

Completion of the “Sexual Harassment in the Workforce” two-hour course, results in certification. “If you were to pay for this service to come to your office, it would cost considerably more than the ticket price,” said Marlo.

Monday offers plenty of other equally important and interesting seminars to choose from. Each can help CV women achieve their business goals here in the CV.

Coachella Valley SCORE, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help small businesses become more successful, is presenting four workshops.

Other Monday sessions include “Business Plan Writing,” “The ABC’s of Starting a Business,” “How to Obtain a Business Loan,” “PR vs. Advertising,” “Crafting Your Brand,” and “Social Media.”

Marlo had been producing events similar to the Desert Woman’s Show in Canada since 1984. When she moved to the Coachella Valley, Marlo got involved with local women’s organizations, mainly to network and meet women of the valley.

“They asked me what I did in Canada, and they suggested we do something similar here,” said Marlo. “I have met more wonderful women doing this event. This valley is full of interesting and fascinating women.”

Marlo has not done it alone. Dozens of women have come together to ensure a terrific event. Marlo said, “It’s a group effort. Everyone comes with ideas to make the Desert Woman’s Show meaningful as well as fun and different every year.”

Every year the Desert Woman’s Show gets bigger and better. As more CV women discover the event, the more women benefit. This makes the Coachella Valley a better place to work and live. For more information go to