Board of Directors


Sandy Maurin

Waldorf Astoria, La Quinta Resort & Club

Sandy Maurin is no stranger to the Hospitality Industry with 20+ years in her career.

She has recently received The Circle of Excellence Award from the Waldorf Astoria, Hilton Corporation, and has previously received the Platinum Sellers Circle from Wyndham Hotels. During her career, she has been a NACE Member for 20+ years, experienced in Hospitality Chair, Director of Programs, Historian, Vice President, and currently your local NACE President. She has been in the Coachella Valley for five years, and her native hometown is San Diego.

To contact Sandy Maurin, please email her at [email protected]com.


Cathy O'Connell

COJ Events

As co-founder and CEO of COJ Events and Gay Wedding Planning, Cathy has created  businesses that help people curate events of meaning and purpose.  Based in Southern California, her companies are leaders in design innovation and creative planning.  As a speaker, educator, and writer Cathy brings a fresh voice that inspires individuals and couples to create with foucs and positivity.


Francis Tupas

Francis Ralph Potograpiya

Hello! I’m Frank Tupas with Francis Ralph Potograpiya (pronounced "Poe-Toe-grah-pee-ya" which in Tagalog/Filipino means Photography). I'm a photographer based in San Diego, CA but looking to also find a place in the Palm Desert area). My company has been in operation servicing the wedding industry full-time since 2008. SoCal is my home but I am a destination wedding photographer as I do quite a few out of state weddings every year to include Hawaii & Mexico. My passion is photography, in particular all things weddings. Just love the details and raw emotion of the day. Very few things make me happier than telling the story of the bride and groom through my lens

I'm excited to hold the position of Membership Chair for NACE Palms Springs as this has been the best organization and chapter that I've ever been associated with. We all share the same vision within this group which is to elevate the events industry to new heights by networking, learning, and partnering with other like minded professionals. If I can be of any service to you or you have some ideas that would be good for the group, please let me know as I'd love to hear them. I look forward to seeing you at an event.

Director of Programs

Katerina Brown

PGA West

Katie Brown our new Catering Sales Director, who joined us on October 20th.  Katie comes to us with 12 years of experience in the hospitality industry with most of those years spent with Marriott in Group Sales and Revenue Management. She has a passion for making memorable events.  She is so excited to create those memories for members with the phenomenal PGA West team.   

Katie is originally from Agoura Hills California but has been a year-round desert local since 2008.   She LOVES being active in her free time.  When she is not working you may find her hiking, snowboarding, playing pickleball, riding horses or attempting golf.  All of these activities she enjoys with her five year old son, JT (Joseph Timothy). 

Katie will be the point person for catering events for all 5 club houses.  Please reach out anytime for inquiries or questions for weddings, celebrations, events or even just a hello.

Immediate Past President

Michelle Stansfield

Chic Productions

Michelle began in the catering industry in 1997. Since then she has managed weddings and corporate events in Vail, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Oregon and Palm Springs. While at the La Quinta Resort, where her skill working with destination wedding couples was perfected, she was one of their top catering managers. After several years, she moved over to the Miramonte Resort as the Director of Catering where she oversaw all of the corporate and social events.

Joining Team Chic in 2014 was an easy transition as she already had a strong background in planning weddings and events in Palm Springs. She is meticulous with details and knows what can be found locally and what needs to be “imported” into the desert based on each couples style and taste.

She has a breadth of knowledge on the best locations for weddings across the desert. This encompasses all of the clubs, resorts, and estates that make weddings in Palm Springs ideal for couples wanting amazing weather nearly year round. She also knows all of the little details about weddings in the desert that are different than anywhere else, like what types of cakes melt when placed outside, what times of year high winds impact outdoor weddings, and even where to shop locally for welcome bag items.

She has been a Member of the National Association of Catering & Events since 2000 and has served on the boards of the Phoenix, Los Angeles and Palm Springs Chapter, as well as the Chair for the National Education Committee and the Pathways to Leadership Task Force. In 2011, Michelle earned her Certified Professional in Catering & Events (CPCE) designation. Her weddings have recently been published on South Asian Bride, Bright Bird, Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty, The Wedding Chicks and the Ruffled Blog. In her spare time she enjoys serving on her children’s school PTO, volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House and staying active with her sorority Alpha Delta Pi.