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The GFWC Woman's Club of Indio is delighted to welcome every new member.  We appreciate every member's desire to join a club, make friends and give back to the community. 


Check out our spectacular new members!

 

 
 
 

 

 Nadia Villagran-Walsh - Joined August, 2021

Nadia works as a Program Director for Fund Development and Strategic Partnerships at Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Rural LISC), the largest nonprofit community development financial institution in the country. She joined Rural LISC in January 2017 as a Program Director and provides broad oversight and input for Rural LISC’s nationwide administrative, financial and programmatic strategies.

Wearing her strategic partnerships “hat,” Nadia works closely with the Rural LISC leadership team to expand, grow and fortify the Rural LISC network of Partners, allies and collaborators – a network of more than 140 nonprofit community development and business development organizations based across rural America. In her fund development role, Nadia researches and develops proposal strategies for foundation, corporate and public funders, and helps manage the stewardship of Rural LISC’s funding relationships, including coordinating data and research for proposal and reporting purposes. She also tracks grant and report deadlines and requirements, manages the donor acknowledgement process, and works closely with the National LISC Development team on development related activities and reports. Nadia has more than 20 years of experience in communications, development and community development. Before joining LISC, she worked at Indio-based Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC) for 13 years, lastly serving as the Director of Operations and Communications where she oversaw all administration, human resources and community service activities. Nadia previously served as the Single Family Development Director and the Community Services Director at CVHC. She started her career as a reporter for The Arizona Daily Star and The Tucson Citizen, in Tucson, Arizona, and The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, California, where she worked for nearly five years.

Nadia is wife to Mike Walsh, mother to three challenging and amazing daughters - Tatiana, 21, Lily, 5 and Viviana, 3 and best friends with Rosalva Campos. She loves traveling, hiking, laughing with her friends, playing tennis, and reading.
 

 

 Brian Montgomery - Joined Ausust, 2021

Bryan Montgomery became Indio’s new City Manager in May of this year. He and his wife Monica have moved to Indio after living nearly 16 years in the Bay Area.

Bryan has a Bachelor’s of Art in International Government Relations and a Master’s degree in Public Administration both from Brigham Young University. He is a life-long public servant with over 28 years of experience in local government. He comes to Indio from the City of Oakley and previous to that position, he was the City Manager in Mesquite, Nevada and Rupert, Idaho, and an Assistant City Manager in Alamogordo, NM.  In addition, Bryan has been an Adjunct Professor at San Francisco State University, speaks Spanish and periodically lectures in Latin America for the International City/County Management Association, the leading organization of local government professionals. In 2015 he was honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award by VEGA (Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance) for his more than 15 years of pro-bono assistance to ICMA’s Mexico office where he conducted field visits to provide technical assistance to multiple cities and participated in workshops and other events to promote professional local government management.
 
 

 

 Lorelei Ceja - Joined August, 2021

Lorelei was born and raised in Michigan, attended high school in Portland, OR. She has been calling the Coachella Valley her home for almost 30 years now. She earned her Bachelors in Telecommunications Management from DeVry University (where she met the love of her life, Frank, her hubby of 27 years who is a native of the Coachella Valley) and her Masters degree in Education at Cal State University San Bernardino. She worked at JFK Memorial Hospital and Sunline Transit Agency before utilizing her computer skills in a new way by becoming an educator with Coachella Valley Unified School District. She was a computer teacher at Sea View ES/West Shores HS and Coachella Valley HS before moving to Toro Canyon MS/Desert Mirage HS as a Project Teacher. She has been with Coachella Valley Unified School District for 25 years and is currently the Director of State & Federal Projects.

Lorelei and Frank have four children, aged 17 to 25. Although she enjoys reading, digital scrapbooking, watching movies, and spending time with family, Lorelei has never been one to sit still. She has been volunteering with multiple youth programs that her kids have been involved in over the past 20 years including PTO, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, and National Charity League. She is also a member of Coachella Valley Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. But now that her children are all grown up, she’s eager to expand her community support in other ways. Lorelei’s youngest child just earned a scholarship from the Women's Club of Indio and she was so intrigued by what she learned during the meeting about the amazing work of the Club that she decided to join and continue serving the community.
 
 

 

 Arlene Handler-Smith (Arlene Smith)Joined August, 2021

Brigette is a Coachella Valley native, she was born in Palm Springs and resides in Indio. She graduated from Indio High School and attended UCR and CSUSB. She is a 4th grade teacher at CVUSD. This is her 20th year with the district. In addition to teaching, she has been her site’s FNL Kids Club Advisor for 7 years.
She is married and has 4 children, ages 17, 20, 23, and 27. Her youngest just graduated from high school. As a family, they enjoy having games nights, going to the beach, and traveling to new places. In her free time, Brigette loves to read, journal, and spend time with her poodles.

Brigette is excited to start a new chapter, now that her children are almost all adults and on their own. Volunteering and helping others has always been a big part of her life; she was a peer tutor in high school, in her 20s she mentored young girls with the group “Hermanas Intimas”, she is an FNL advisor- which promotes community service, and is now excited to be a part of IWC- where she can “meet new friends and give back to the community”!
 

 

Shelley Diemer - Joined July, 2021

Shelley was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada. After finishing her undergrad in Nutritional Science, she moved to Toronto, Canada where she met her husband. He was offered a job in Michigan where they moved and spend 18 years, and where Shelley became a dental hygienist. They have one son who is now 24 years old. They moved to Orange County, California where they lived for 10 years, but would travel many weekends to the desert.

Once they knew their son was not coming back to Orange County they jumped at a chance to move to the desert and settled into their home in Indian Palms County Club. Shelley has been working as a dental hygienist for the last 30 years and is also employed as a professional educator for Waterpik for the Coachella Valley.
Shelley is always up for a new adventure and volunteers when she sees a need. She has volunteered for the Girl Scouts, run school book fairs and was awarded Michigan’s PTA Parent of the Year in 2007. She is thrilled she was introduced to WCI and is looking forward offering her service to Indio.
 

 

Irazema Adkins - Joined  July, 2021

Irazema Adkins is a native of the Coachella Valley, having been born and raised in Indio. Her life journey has brought her back to Indio where she and her husband have raised their three children, the youngest of which is now 16 years old.

Irazema works in the Literacy Department of the Riverside County Library System and will soon hit the road in the new Mobile Resource Van bringing literacy to underserved communities within Coachella Valley.

For Irazema, it has always been important to give back to the community and make a positive impact on its future. She began volunteering at her children’s schools and has continued looking for opportunities to make a difference. She shares that she “is excited to be a part of an organization that shares in my desire to highlight what our community offers. I hope to make lifelong friends in the process.”  
 

 

MARY MARTIN-AKHIGBE - Joined May, 2021

Our newest member is Mary Martin-Akhigbe and Mary is known as "Love" by her family and close friends.  She is a wife and mother of 3 children and 7 grandchildren, with #8 on the way. She is the sister of 9 siblings. 

Her hobbies are baking, cooking, and crafting. She has a tremendous love for people and a spirit of giving. Mary holds a real estate license and is a certified nursing assistant, but due to injury she is unable to perform the duties of a nursing assistant.  She works for Loma Linda Medical Center as a Radiation Support Administrator.

She describes herself as the person that likes to stay behind the scene but will do what's in her power and ability to do. Mary states that she is looking forward to being a part of Indio's finest and thanks us for including her.   Welcome Mary!  You are an exciting and welcome addition to our club!

 
 

 

 Richard Canela - Joined December, 2020

(seen here with his daughter Raeanna)
Born and raised in the eastern Coachella Valley, he attended CVHS from 1989-1993. He is 45 years old and divorced with three children, Robert 24, Renee, 23 and Raeanna 13. He is excited to report that his son Robert and his wife are expecting their first child soon, making him a very proud grandpa to a baby girl.

In the late 90’s, he began a 15-year career as a Public Safety Officer with the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians and Spotlight 29 Casino. He is currently working as a Campus Supervisor for the Riverside County Office of Education at a Community School in Indio. A Community School is for junior high and high school students who have been expelled or have been placed on probation.  He has been involved with the community’s youth since his early 20’s. He began as a youth football coach in Indio and in 2010, he began coaching at the high school level. He has coached at La Quinta HS, Indio HS and my alma mater Coachella Valley HS. He wants to not only teach the game of football, but to mentor and help develop young men into productive adults. He says, “I still can’t get used to seeing my former players as adults with a family now, but that is my goal as a coach.”  In his free time, he enjoys traveling, cooking and watching his youngest daughter Raeanna play soccer. Although there is not much free time lately as he has made the decision to finish what he started 27 years ago and complete his degree in Liberal Arts.  He is looking forward to meeting all the WCI members and making 2021 a great year.
 

 

 Angela Zepeda - Joined December, 2020

A Coachella Valley native, and a proud graduate of Indio High School (Go Rajahs!), Angela received her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, with a minor in Finance from Cal. State San Bernardino. She went on to receive her Master's in Public Administration.  Angela resides in Coachella and is serving her third term as the elected City Clerk of the City of Coachella. Angela found her niche as a water conservation professional and public information officer, focusing on communication and outreach.
 
Angela has two children, a son Kevis who is 13 and a daughter Audreana who is 9. They enjoy sports and outdoor activities and are avid football/Kansas City Chiefs fans. They have fun with their 7 pets (2 dogs, 3 guinea pigs and 1 chameleon). Angela also likes to scapbook and memorialize her personal history.
 
Angela was the impetus for the joinder of the City of Indio Water Authority with our Yard of the Month Program and Angela jumped right in as Co-Chair of the Yard of the Month Program. Angela says, "I love being a part of a group of professional women that gives back to our community to ensure its prosperity and success."

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