Listen as women leaders talk about their roles in the response, readiness and survival of mass shooting events. Learn about the tough decisions that had to be addressed when faced with the unthinkable.
Join us to build relationships with other women in our field, enjoy the tasty offerings of gourmet chefs, and prepare for an all-star line up of women speakers.
Panelist and Moderator Biographies
Special Agent Meredith K. Davis
U.S. Department of Justice
Special Agent Meredith K. Davis currently serves as the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Dallas Field Division. Agent Davis works in concert with the Special Agent in Charge, speaking on their behalf and representing Division interests. She is responsible for organizing and publishing all forms of media, to include television, radio, print, photography and social media avenues for the Division. Accomplished in applying the laws and regulations related to firearms, explosives, violent crime, arson and alcohol and tobacco trafficking, Agent Davis serves as a liaison to local, state and other federal agencies, Federal Firearms and Explosives Licensees and members of the United States Congress. Before relocating to Dallas, Agent Davis served as the PIO of the ATF Los Angeles Field Division. She worked with entertainment industry agents to affect the more frequent and authentic portrayal of ATF in major productions. She continues that effort from Texas. Special Agent Davis was a member of the on-scene unified command staff after the December 2, 2015, terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA, that left 14 people dead and 22 others injured. Agent Davis is often requested to contribute to the discussion of civic and public safety planning and response to “active shooter” scenarios or to respond to shootings that garner national-attention.
Special Agent Davis began her law enforcement career with the Great State of Texas in 1996. Her federal service began as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent in 1999, in Laredo, Texas. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Agent Davis served as a U.S. Air Marshal based on the east coast. In 2005, Agent Davis entered on to duty with ATF. Agent Davis established herself as a skillful field agent before moving to ATF Headquarters, Special Operation Division in 2012. The diversity of her investigative experience combined with her personal and professional style made her a standout for selection as the Public Information Officer.
Agent Davis has been an EMT and EMT-Instructor since 1993. She is a member of the ATF Tactical Medic Program attached to ATF’s Special Response Team and National Response Team. She is a recipient of the ATF Hostile Action Award for valiant action in the course of duty.
Jill Barnes, Ed.D, CEM
Executive Emergency Strategist
Los Angeles Unified School District
Dr. Barnes is the Executive Emergency Strategist for the Los Angeles Unified School District, providing emergency management for the district. She advises schools on emergency procedures, writes guidance documents, oversees emergency-related training, manages the Emergency Operations Center, and acts as a liaison to government and community agencies during emergencies. She is also a consultant to federal agencies, including the US Department of Education, FEMA, and the Unites States Geological Survey. Dr. Barnes is a former Police Officer with the Los Angeles Police Department and a former Public Information Officer for the Santa Monica Fire Department. She has also worked as a middle school teacher, Coordinator, and Dean of Student Discipline in LAUSD – along with various other roles and responsibilities. She is currently working on her fifth university degree.
Sandra Stark Shields, LMFT, LPCC, ATR-BC
Sr. Disaster Services Analyst
Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health
Sandra Stark Shields, LMFT, LPCC, ATR-BC is a Senior Disaster Services Analystfor the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Emergency Outreach Bureau- Disaster Services Unit. In her current position, Sandra is responsible for the disaster mental health response planning for the department. Sandra has worked for Los Angeles County since 2001 and has held two previous senior staff positions in the Emergency Medical Services Agency from 2004 -2016 and Office of Emergency Management from 2001-04. Sandra currently serves as the Disaster Behavioral Health Subject Matter Expert to the California Public Health and Medical Emergency Operations Manual (EOM) workgroup.
Sandra was formerly the Associate Director of Planning and Preparedness and Supervisor of Disaster Mental Health for the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles where she is still a leadership volunteer. Sandra is a member of the California Disaster Mental Health Coalition, and is the current Chair of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) Crisis Response Education and Resource Committee. Sandra has extensive disaster response experience acquired during her 27 years as an Emergency Manager and Disaster Mental Health responder.
Sandra has a B.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine and an M.A. in Clinical Art Therapy/Marriage and Family Counseling from Loyola Marymount University. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and Board Certified Art Therapist.
Margarita “Maggie” Gonzalez, MPA
Senior Intake Coordinator
San Bernardino Inland Regional Center
Maggie Gonzalez is a Senior Intake Coordinator at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center and a survivor of the mass shooting incident that took place on December 2, 2015. Maggie has worked for 11 years as an advocate and case manager for individuals with special needs. Her experience includes serving as an advocate and case manager for the non-profit organization Community Access Center which provides for all of Riverside County. She has worked for 9 years as a Consumer Services Coordinator and currently serves as a Senior Intake Counselor at Inland Regional Center, serving both Riverside County and San Bernardino County. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human services, and a master’s in management and public administration.
Helen Chavez, MSW
Assistant Director, Preparedness Division
Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office/Office of Emergency Management
Helen Chavez is an Assistant Director at Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). In this role, she leads teams responsible for developing and coordinating the development of Operational Area plans, community outreach and public information strategies that are designed to increase residents’ awareness and preparation for disasters and emergencies. Prior to joining OEM, Helen served as a lead planner, project manager and director of community investment and improvement projects for both the private and public sector. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Helen earned a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California with a specialization in community organizing, planning and administration. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, an avid tennis player and fan, and currently resides in South Pasadena, CA.