California Economic Summit

The 2023 California Economic Summit happened Indian Wells on October 11-13. We’d like to thank all of the leaders from across the state who came together to experience and learn about the distinct assets and aspects of the Coachella and Imperial Valleys.

The Summit’s bipartisan network of business, equity, environmental and civic organizations is unique in championing solutions that meet the triple bottom line — balancing equity, environmental sustainability and economic growth.

Click Learn More to visit the 2023 Summit event website to view the agenda, the list of speakers, regional activities that were available to attendees and more.


Produced by California Forward in partnership with the California Stewardship Network, the Summit influences CA FWD’s ongoing movement to make the government and economy work for everyone. The three-day Summit is designed to create a shared economic agenda known as the Roadmap to Shared Prosperity and strengthen the Summit network, setting the stage for collective action in the coming year.

Pre-Summit Activities

Exciting regional tours and welcome reception

Summit Day One

Interactive in-person plenary and work group sessions to advance Summit goals — along with the first-day reception and artistic performances

Summit Day Two

Dynamic plenary sessions featuring keynote speakers, state policy leaders, regional business and civic leaders on critical issues facing California

WATCH: Welcome Message from Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis

To kick off the opening of registration for the 2023 Summit, we’re excited to share a video message from California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, a featured speaker at this year’s event. Hear more about the Summit and what it’s all about, then get registered today!


There is no more critical moment to recommit to collaboration and to find different ways to address our most pressing challenges. Shaping California’s future to ensure families, communities and future generations have the opportunity to achieve the California Dream is what we’re all about.

Watch our recap video from the 2022 California Economic Summit:


The California Economic Summit, produced by California Forward (CA FWD) and members of its California Stewardship Network, is built upon the principle that regional approaches to economic problem solving are critical to ensuring all Californians, regardless of zip code, have the opportunity to claim their California Dream.

The Summit’s priorities are directly responsive to and scaled to meet the challenges of today. Focusing on a set of specific proposals and positions where collaboratively we can make the biggest impact, the Summit develops triple-bottom-line solutions that balance racial and geographic equity, environmental sustainability and economic growth. From expanding homeownership and empowering resilient and productive landscapes, to bridging the digital divide and providing meaningful career pathways, the Summit is the only event of its kind where leaders across all sectors, industries and regions can come together to propel solution-oriented bipartisan collaboration to move the state forward.

The Summit influences CA FWD’s ongoing movement to improve government and create inclusive, sustainable growth. The event has been held in cities across the state with the goal of representing the diversity and assets of California’s regions.

You can read stories from the 2022 Summit here.

Sponsorship Opportunities 

We’d love to partner, learn here how your organization can contribute to this vital effort.

2023 Regional Co-Hosts

Silvia Paz, Executive Director, Alianza Coachella Valley
Heather Vaikona, President & CEO, Lift to Rise
Tim Kelley, President & CEO, Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp
Luis Olmedo, Executive Director, Comite Civico del Valle

2023 Regional Host Committee

Jan Harnik, City Council Member, Palm Desert City Council; President, SCAG
Leticia de Lara, CEO, Regional Access Project Foundation
Joe Wallace, CEO, Coachella Valley Economic Partnership
Laura James, Vice President of Innovation, Coachella Valley Economic Partnerships
Scott White, President & CEO, Visit Greater Palm Springs
Lauren Bruggemans, Director, Sustainability & Community Engagement, Visit Greater Palm Springs
Pat Cooper, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Riverside 4 Supervisor V. Manuel Perez
Ian Fregosi, District Director, Office of State Senator Steve Padilla
Larissa de la Torre, District Representative, Office of State Senator Steve Padilla
Michelle Decker, President & CEO, Inland Empire Community Foundation
Julian Cuevas, Director of Policy and Governmental Affairs, Inland Empire Community Foundation
Paul Granillo, President & CEO, Inland Empire Economic Partnership
Gretchen Gutierrez, CEO, Desert Valley Builders Association
Shayra Hernandez, Director for Stakeholder Engagement, Office of US Rep. Raul Ruiz, CA-25
Stella Jimenez, District Director, Office of US Rep. Raul Ruiz, CA-25
Kimberly Miranda, District Representative, Office of Asm. Eduardo Garcia
Shiela Thornton, President & CEO, OneFuture CV
Ernie Rios, Vice President of College Success, OneFuture Coachella Valley
Katie Stice, CEO, Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce
Nadia Villagrán, Board Chair, Lift to Rise
Rodrigo Garcia, VP for Administrative Services, College of the Desert
Michele Finney, CEO, Desert Care Network
David Salgado, Sr. Government Affairs Officer, SCAG
Christy Porter, Founder, Hidden Harvest
Tanaya Hall, Director, Building Resilience in African American Families
Antonio Ortega, Government Affairs, Imperial Irrigation District
Kate Anderson, Director of Communications, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
Emmanuel Martinez, Program Director, Coachella Valley Association of Governments
Pastor Kephyan Sheppard, Sr. Pastor, World of Life Fellowship Center
Miguel Figueroa, CEO, Imperial County
Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter, Deputy CEO, Imperial County
Patrick O’Dowd, Executive Director, Salton Sea Authority
Roque Barros, Executive Director, Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation
Ellen Way, Executive Director, CA Women in Agriculture
Joseph Mirelez, Vice Chairman, Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians
Elizabeth Romero, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Government & Community Relations, UC Riverside
Kathy Eiler, Director of Federal Relations, UC Riverside
Robert Moran, Deputy Director, Office of Economic Development, County of Riverside
Chris Freeland, City Manager, City of Indian Wells
Marisa Yeager, Associate Vice President, Office of Government & Community Relations, Cal State University, San Bernardino
David Powell, Director, Desert Business Association
Luz Gallegos, Executive Director, TODEC

2023 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity

The 2023 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity is based on the input of hundreds of participants at the 2022 Summit, our partners in the California Stewardship Network, and members of the CA FWD Young Leaders Advisory Council.

The Roadmap outlines the ways we are convening and collaborating to advance policies, programs and practices that help create a more equitable future for California in the following action areas: Housing For All, Ecosystems & Climate Resiliency, Thriving Economies, Education Cradle to Career and Connecting California.

Sign up for the CA FWD newsletter today to get the latest news on the Roadmap, CA FWD, the Summit, the California Stewardship Network and more!