Founder & CEO
Joan is a Certified Public Accountant with her own accounting firm in Palm Desert, California specializing in working with women. She is the author of Surviving Beyond Happily Ever After, a guide for women who are not prepared to handle life on their own, and a public speaker on the relationship between women, finances and power. In 2009 Joan received the Riverside County Commission for Women’s Woman of the Year Award as a woman who has made notable contributions that improve the lives of women and families in the county, and the City of Palm Desert Athena Award for her unmatched commitment and contribution to the community.
“Ever since I returned to school years ago, faced with raising two little boys and very few financial resources, I have been fascinated with the common threads that run through all women’s lives. We have so much to offer each other and we have so much potential to tap into. It’s simply time to give back and assist other women in reaching their dreams.”
Gayle has led an amazing 28 year career in law enforcement starting as a university police officer while attending Washington State University, transitioning to positions as a state trooper, undercover drug investigator, crime scene technician and ultimately a United States Secret Service Agent working in the Presidential Protection Division. After retiring from the USSS she was Vice President of Corporate Security for MGM Studios. Since relocating to Palm Desert in 2005 Gayle has directed two proprietary security departments at private residential golf club properties. She is a licensed private investigator, a private patrol operator and provides investigative and security survey services through her own company, Gemis Investigative Services.
The GFF Board feels very safe having Gayle among us.
Jamie Steinberg is the Digital Marketing Manager at Leap Online Marketing in Palm Desert. With more than 10 years experience in online marketing and website development she has worked with a variety of clients both here in the desert and out of the area to help grow their businesses online.
A Palm Desert resident for more than 25 years, Jamie graduated from California State University San Bernardino with a degree in Communications with an emphasis in human communications and PR studies.
Jamie is part of the Digital Arts Technology Academy (DATA) Mentoring Program at Cathedral City High School as well as on the board for Desert AdFed.
Judy retired to the desert after working 20 years in the nonprofit sector. Prior to retirement, Judy spent the last five years of her nonprofit career as the Executive Director for 2-1-1 Orange County, a nonprofit that provides referrals to local social services for families or persons in need.
Judy spent 22 years living in Mesa, AZ where she ran her own retail ice cream and cookie stores. After eight years in the retail industry, she sold her business and accepted the position as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Mesa United Way. From then on, she knew her career path would remain in the nonprofit sector.
“Girlfriend Factor is the perfect fit for me as I experienced the difficulty of obtaining an education while family and lack of finances seemed insurmountable barriers. Hopefully, my time and dedication will lessen those obstacles for other women striving for self-sufficiency.”
Erica Espinola has more than 12 years experience in the financial services industry. She joined Merrill Lynch in 2006 after working in the accounting field at Ernst & Young, LLP as an auditor and Hilton Hotels Corporation as an accountant.
Erica graduated from the University Of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Business Administration- Accountancy degree.
Jan has been a desert resident since 1977. She believes that education is the foundation for the growth and prosperity of our community and has worked with several organizations to support that principle. A Palm Desert High School Foundation board member since 2003, she is currently the President, has served on the Board and the Scholarship Committee for National Charity League, worked for the American Heart Association and with Desert Cancer Foundation.
Raising four daughters has provided a clear illustration of the importance of lending a hand, developing self-reliance and always “remembering who you are”.
A graduate of College of the Desert and California State University San Bernardino Palm Desert campus, Paulina’s mission is to support and empower women of all ages to follow their dreams.
Paulina sits on the steering committee for our Girlfriend 2 Girlfriend Circle (G2Gs), a sub-group of the GirlFriend Factor which focuses on supporting young women in the Coachella Valley; and the Ophelia Project Alumni, which mentors young women entering college.