Desert Town Hall has named Becky Kurtz as Executive Director, announced Brian Harnik, president of the Board of Directors of Desert Forum, Inc., the nonprofit educational corporation that produces the nationally known speaker series.

Ms. Kurtz served as interim executive director for the past year, and has been part of this cultural event since its inception in 1993, first as a volunteer, and then as marking director in 2008.
“We’re pleased and honored to have such a fine leader,” Harnik said. “She adds enthusiasm and vision to this dynamic organization that is supported by sponsors, patrons and volunteers. We remain focused on bringing the finest speakers from the world’s stage to our stage in Indian Wells. We also are proud to host Youth Town Hall which connects high school students from throughout the desert cities with world leaders, inspirational speakers and provocative lecturers.”
The event is held at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells with four speakers planned each year from January through March.

Serving as officers for 2013-14, the 22nd season of the celebrated series, are:  Brian S. Harnik (Roemer & Harnik LLP), President; Andy Clark (111 Wealth Management), Vice President; Keith Goff (Rabobank), Treasurer; Phillip K. Smith, Jr. (Sunrise Company), Secretary.

Members of the Board of Directors are: Jerry Fogelson (Fogelson Properties), Lois Horvitz (Founding President), Bill Powers (immediate past president), Tim Sullivan (Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa), Judy Vossler (Palm Springs Desert Resorts CVA); and Mark Winkler (The Desert Sun).

Desert Town Hall is sponsored by a number of local companies, organizations and philanthropic individuals.

Desert Town Hall recently concluded its 2013 series, which presented CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, magazine editor Tina Brown, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal. In its history, the speaker series has included world leaders and other notables such as President George W. Bush; Vice President Dick Cheney; Time Editor Fareed Zakaria; author and New York Times columnist David Brooks; author Jeannette Walls; former US Senator and basketball great Bill Bradley; former US Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates; former Pakistan President Musharraf; slain Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto; Britain’s Tony Blair; retired Army General and former US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; peace activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Nobel laureate in economics Paul Krugman; former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak; former CIA Director George Tenet; retired Army General Tommy Franks; Republican leader Rudy Giuliani; Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; UK leader Margaret Thatcher, diplomat Henry Kissinger; former President George H. W. Bush; Israeli leader and former PM Shimon Peres; retired Army General Norman Schwarzkopf; columnist and author William F. Buckley; former Kansas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole; former UK Prime Minister John Major; former US Secretary of Defense William Cohen; PBS’s The McLaughlin Group; columnist and author George Will; filmmaker Ken Burns; longtime AP correspondent Helen Thomas; ocean explorers Bob Ballard and Jean-Michel Cousteau; political power couple David & Julie Eisenhower; and a host of others.

As part of its philanthropic mission, Desert Town Hall through its Youth Town Hall invites 150 local high school students to attend each lecture.  The students participate in a hosted evening where the featured speaker visits with the youth.

In addition to Executive Director Becky Kurtz, staff for the series includes Mimi Monahan, administrative director; Cindy Buckner, program assistant; and Maria Cross, program assistant.  Nearly 40 dedicated volunteers, many of whom have been with the series since its inception in 1993, help to make the series a success and a solid sellout every year.

Sponsors of Desert Town Hall include the title sponsor, The H. N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, along with The City of Indian Wells, Anderson Travel, Buzz Factory/Lucker Anderson, Phil & Geda Condit Family, The Desert Sun, Lois U. Horvitz, Rabobank, Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, Roemer & Harnik LLP, Sunrise Company, Valentine-Dougherty-Clark/111 Wealth Management Group.

Several levels of sponsorship are available for the 2014 season.

Information: (760) 610-2852  www.DesertTownHall.org.
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