Stories, Success & Stuff Episode 31: A Seat at the Table

Stories, Success & Stuff
Episode 31: A Seat at the Table

Stories, Success & Stuff Episode 31: A Seat at the Table

By: siarza_admin
Date: 24 Feb 2024

Dive deeper into the vital intersection of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with hosts Kristelle and Jace in this compelling follow-up podcast episode. Brace yourself for a riveting conversation featuring Grace Garner, the trailblazing first Latina council member and mayor of Palm Springs, alongside Lauren Bruggemans, the visionary Director of Sustainability & Community Engagement at Visit Greater Palm Springs. Together, they explore the profound impact of DEI on various facets of society, from business and tourism to the overall success of a city.

Gain invaluable insights as the conversation delves into the tangible benefits of prioritizing DEI in both organizational and civic contexts. Learn firsthand from Grace Garner’s experiences and leadership how embracing diversity can shape policies, foster inclusivity, and drive progress in local governance. Discover from Lauren Bruggemans the transformative potential of DEI initiatives in elevating tourism experiences and nurturing vibrant, inclusive communities.

Prepare to be inspired as these luminaries share their firsthand experiences, unveiling the art of policy shaping, community empowerment, and effective allyship. From breaking barriers to building bridges, this episode promises a whirlwind of insights and actionable strategies for fostering inclusivity and driving progress in today’s fast-paced world. Tune in and ignite your passion for creating a brighter, more equitable future—one vibrant conversation at a time!

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About Our Guests

Grace Garner, First Latina Mayor of Palm Springs & Council Member

Councilmember Grace Elena Garner is a second-generation Palm Springs resident who was first elected in November 2019 to represent District 1. In 2022, she was re-elected and became the first Latina Mayor of Palm Springs. A former member of the Palm Springs Planning Commission and the City Council appointed California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) Working Group, Garner is also the first Latina woman elected to serve on the City Council and is passionate about promoting more inclusion and diversity in the City of Palm Springs. Garner serves on the boards of Desert Regional Medical Center and the California State University of California San Bernardino Philanthropy Board. 

During her tenure on the City Council Garner has championed increasing affordable housing; improving community facilities; creating more youth focused programming; and addressing neighborhood needs. Garner manages a paid internship program to provide local college aged youth an opportunity to work in city government. 

As Mayor, Garner ensured that meetings were focused and timely while still centering the meetings with joy and community involvement. In a nod to her childhood in Palm Springs, Garner invited local students to lead the City Council in the pledge of allegiance at each meeting. When Tropical Storm Hilary struck, Garner made over 20 media appearances on local, national, and international news outlets within 36 hours, ensuring that residents, visitors, and more were aware of the impact in the Coachella Valley. During the relief efforts, Garner met with the Governor and other officials to insist that the necessary funds be granted to the City to complete clean up and infrastructure improvements. These meetings led to over $50 million dollars of funding for the City.   

Garner attended Palm Springs public schools and grew up playing in city parks and using local services like the Palm Springs Public Library. She has a B.A. from Pitzer College in Political Studies and Gender/Feminist Studies and a J.D. from California Western School of Law. She spends her time volunteering and participating in a host of community activities. 

Social: @wewinwithgrace

Lauren Bruggemans, Director of Sustainability & Community Engagement at Visit Greater Palm Springs

Lauren Bruggemans is the Director of Sustainability & Community Engagement at Visit Greater Palm Springs, where she leads their sustainability, diversity, equity & inclusion, and workforce development strategy and projects. Lauren has 16+ years of hospitality and management experience, starting her career in hospitality operations managing teams across multiple divisions. In 2015, she become the Executive Director of the Sumba Hospitality Foundation, a social enterprise and workforce development program in Eastern Indonesia that won an award for Innovation from the UN World Tourism Organization in 2018. Lauren and her team built a school for underprivileged young people providing a comprehensive hospitality & sustainability focused educational program, while also managing an on-site eco-resort that allowed students to practically apply their knowledge. 

After her time in Indonesia, Lauren returned to her hometown of Palm Springs, CA as the Campaign Manager for City Councilmember Grace Garner. Through their grassroots efforts and community engagement strategy, Grace became the first Latina elected to the Palm Springs City Council. After that pivotal experience, Lauren continued working in the hospitality education and social impact sectors as the founding CEO of We are One United, a community development organization, and as an adjunct faculty member at California State University, San Bernardino. Lauren has a master’s degree in Social Business & Entrepreneurship from the London School of Economics (LSE) and earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Politics at the University of California, San Diego. She is passionate about initiatives that promote responsible, sustainable tourism and hospitality through the lens of workforce development and training; and fostering the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations.

Social: @laurenbruggemans

A Siarza Production
Hosted by Kristelle Siarza Moon and Jace Downey
Executive Producer: Kristelle Siarza Moon
Producer: Jace Downey
Videographer/Editor: Justin Otsuka
Thumbnail Designs: Quinn Hills

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Follow Kristelle @kristellesiarza
Follow Jace @jacedowneyofficial

About Stories, Success & Stuff:

Are you feeling stuck in your career, relationships, or life in general? Join Siarza CEO Kristelle Siarza Moon and adversity alchemist Jace Downey as they explore the bullshit of success and excitement of failure. They’ll dive into stories from their own lives to provide a glimmer of hope and a reminder that whatever you’re experiencing, you are not alone. Through funny anecdotes and compelling conversations, they’ll show you that you have the power to create your own destiny. Tune in and learn how you can explore and shift the paths of life that lead to true fulfillment. This is an inspiring podcast about shifting paths, stumbling to success and creating a life you can fall in love with. So grab a cup of your favorite brew, put on your comfiest clothes, and prepare for untamed stories of success and stuff!

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