Executive Board

Meet PACC911's Executive Board


Bari Mears

President and Founder

After 26 years in the broadcast industry, Bari followed her passion and went to the dogs (and all the animals). Envisioning a united pet rescue community where animal organizations could work together harmoniously with a spirit of cooperation, she created PACC911. She knew this vision  would give a louder and more credible voice to the animals who could not speak for themselves. Starting with a few groups PACC911 slowly grew to be a major coalition in the valley and a role model for other cities to emulate.

With 100 plus partnering groups, PACC911’s now well known Adoptathons have placed thousands of animals into new loving homes. The Medical Fund has saved countless lives, and in its inaugural year the new Lulu’s Angel Fund has taken twelve hard cases of cruelty and abandonment and brought these animals back to life and love. Mears has authored 7 books with all proceeds going to PACC911 for the animals (most are available in the PACC store online). Named as Hero of the Year by Friends of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control in 2006, and chosen by Arizona Foothills Magazine’s “Women Who Move the Valley” in 2012, Mears lives with her husband Jerry, their horses and 3 very old dogs.

Cathy Davila

Partner Relations Manager

Cathy Davila brought her lifelong love for all animals with her from Southern California. With over twenty years in a career in the human healthcare field, she decided to also share her passion for the human animal bond and founded the Phoenix Dog Magazine in 2016. Animal non-profits now have a showcase to reach the pet-loving community and the magazine inspires readers to see animals in a different light. She shares her home with Boxer-Rottie dog, Roxie, Quarter Horse Jackie and Burro Norman.

Penny McGinn


Penny McGinn has loved all animals all her life, and comes from a family in a small town, Bluffton, Ohio. “The more the merrier” was the families motto and dogs, cats, horses, chickens, guinea pigs, parrots, turtles, frogs, and fish were all a part of Penny’s happy life! All creatures big and small were loved and cherished. Penny smiles here with her current roomies, Gunner and Ramsay, both rescued from abusive situations and all enjoy the love and care they each deserve!

Advisory Board

Donna Barker

President & Founder of Chuck Waggin’ Pet Food Pantry

Donna has been with PACC911 since 2012 in the capacity of President/Founder of Chuck Waggin’ Pet Food Pantry, which is PACC’s Pet Food Division.  Donna is retired after 30 years in the mortgage lending industry.  She initially became involved in the animal rescue world in 2000 through Blessing of the Animals/Pet Adopt-a-thon at the Franciscan Renewal Center.  From there she co founded Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry and transitioned over to PACC after Bari Mears welcomed the opportunity to add a pet food bank to the many functions of the organization. Chuck Waggin’ provides free pet food, low cost spay and neuter services as well as medical help to the under privileged population of Maricopa County.  Donna’s humanitarian efforts makes it possible for families to keep their beloved pets in their home. She lives with her partner, Marilyn, and 4 rescue fur kids – Darby, Samantha, Chance and Tazz.

Maria Brunner

Maria Brunner, President and Founder of Insight Management, has spent over 40 years in the entertainment industry. Her company provides strategic marketing, tour promotion and artist management services to legendary celebrities the likes of Eric Clapton, The Moody Blues, George Thorogood, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Clint Black, Donna Summer… the impressive list goes on.

Maria helped found the entertainment business program at the University of Montana and previously held an advisory role at California State University’s Entertainment Business Program, where she was a past visiting instructor. She’s served on numerous charitable boards that provide aid to both people and animals; her commitment to improving the lives of others extends to helping homeless pets in need of rescue. With many years of expertise in the entertainment industry, she brings us precious invaluable counsel.

Gina Crouch

Passionate and dedicated to animal welfare, it’s a part of daily life for Gina. Over the last 10 years, Gina and her family have opened their home and hearts as a foster family, taking care of dogs and puppies from every imaginable scenario.

Her current pet companions comprise five amazing dogs and one incredible cat. Gina spends her time on volunteering with shelter dogs, walking them, networking them and working with the project cases. She loves being a foster mom and an ambassador for the voiceless.

She bring us over 15 years of event planning, alongside a strong background in multi-tasking and organizational skills with project management and public speaking.

Nancy Drake

Always a proponent of the underdog, while living in Illinois, Nancy worked for a nationally recognized equine humane society. Also a state licensed investigator through the Illinois department of agriculture for several years, she had the rewarding experience of rescuing and rehabilitating many animals. Drawn to the mission of PACC911, Nancy brings her heart and insights to the advisory board.

Mary & John Garbaciak

We get double the talent with this dynamic couple. Mary, a former dental hygienist and John, a semi-retired physician, have brought their help to many charity boards and organizations, both here and across the country. Appreciative of all creatures great and small, they bring all their gala fundraising expertise to us.

Cindy Gordon

Cindy devotes her spare time to animals in need. Other community service includes assisting with adoptions at the Foothills Animal Rescue and socializing animals at the Animals Benefit Club Sanctuary.

Debbie Grand

Executive Assistant

Debbie Grand comes to PACC911 with a diverse background from the financial security industry to work at Cablevision, Silverstone Luxury Senior Community and finally to the PV School District as the College and Career Coordinator. A native New Yorker, Debbie has enjoyed the warmer climates of the valley for the last 12 years and had been very aware of the workings of PACC911. Her love of her two cats, and the many ways PACC911 engaged in the community was the draw that inspired Debbie to join PACC911.  Her role as an Executive Assistant has grown to oversee such key programs as the PACC911 Critical Care Program and various other projects that Debbie has taken on allowing PACC911 to expand in reach into the community as well as in public awareness.  Debbie’s organizational skills are put to good use as our many programs continue to grow.  She is a perfect fit and a much needed addition to the PACC911 family.

Vikki Heddens

Vikki Heddens lives in Prescott, Arizona with her husband Mike and their tuxedo cat, Oreo. Oreo was adopted 17 years ago from the Yavapai Humane Society. Since childhood, Vikki has been an avid animal lover with pets that range from dogs, bunnies, rats, frogs, parrots, turtles, ducks, cats to lizards. She has worked in the telecommunications industry for over 20 years and holds a degree in Telecommunications Management and Broadband. In her spare time, Vikki has helped organize work volunteer events with various organizations in the community such as Stepping Stones and Habitat for Humanity.

Diane Kirkpatrick

Diane spent 25 years in the corporate world owning businesses in Illinois and Arizona.  She retired in 2016 and turned the businesses over to her children.  Diane has been rescuing animals on a small scale for as long as she can remember.  It was in the back of her mind that once she retired, she would pursue her passion on a larger scale and joining PACC911 helps her achieve that goal.  She currently serves on the Glimmer of Hope Fundraiser Committee. Diane and her husband Jim live with their three rescue dogs. All are different breeds, colors, and sizes, but they do have one thing in common.  They are all equally loved.

Tina Lopez

Tina has been involved in animal welfare as a volunteer for many of our local organizations since 2003. Alongside serving our PACC911 Advisory Board, She is also the Board Vice President for Chuck Waggin’ Pet Food Pantry, a division of PACC911. 

Tina has built a career as a nonprofit fundraiser and holds her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation. She’s worked for the Arizona Humane Society, Arizona Animal Welfare League and was Executive Director of The Arizona Pet Project (formerly Friends of Animal Care & Control). A founding board member of Lost Our Home Pet Foundation, she has served as their Board Vice President. Tina was also a Chief Development Officer for Save the Family Foundation, an organization serving homeless, veteran and working poor families in Maricopa County. 

Extremely passionate about the cause of animal welfare and those without a voice, Tina typically fosters senior and special needs chihuahuas. Her home includes eight  chihuahuas, three cats and one boyfriend.

Cheri Moreno

Media Specialist 

Married with dog-children, Cheri has over 35 years in marketing, with an extensive background in media planning and buying. Having many long-term relationships in the industry opens up opportunities to support PACC911 events and fund raising efforts through low cost or no cost media exposure. Volunteering at the events provides a chance to see first-hand, and appreciate the 24/7 efforts of those involved in the animal rescue community. Involvement with PACC911 is an opportunity to give back to all the dogs I’ve loved and love all the dogs who have so much to give.

Eddie Nichols

Social Media Liaison 

Growing up in New York City, Eddie never had the privilege of owning a pet he could call his own. It wasn’t until adulthood that he experienced the joys that owning a pet could bring.  When he was working at a local animal shelter, he adopted Elvis, a stray Cattle Dog mix that was brought to his attention from a local animal clinic. That’s all it took for this late bloomer to start a new chapter in life of not just owning a pet, but understanding the homeless pet situation here in the Valley and wanting to make a difference.

Eddie’s background is in non-profit management, specializing in health-related causes. This led him to work at a local shelter managing volunteers, creating an adoption program and naturally, placing homeless pets. He was fortunate to learn many things from shelters and trainers and continues to support the placement of rescue pets through his involvement with PACC911 and as a volunteer for local rescue groups. When the opportunity arises, Eddie heads north to play in the snow with Elvis and Daisy, his Australian Shepherd mix  who was rescued from a local reservation.

Laura Petersen

An active animal rescuer for over ten years, Laura’s passions include educating and advocating about the perils of breeder dogs in puppy mills and those involved in dog fighting. She is certified for Disaster Services (D.A.R.T.) for HSUS and Red Rover, a nonprofit organization that helps animals in need during times of chaos and disaster. Laura does PACC911’s tabling events introducing us to the community and volunteers at our adoptathons and fundraisers. She shares her home with husband Mike and their six rescue dogs, which includes two puppy mill survivors.  

Kim Sasso

Kim has been involved with helping homeless pets for as long as she can remember. Over the years she’s volunteered at Southwest Wildlife, the Phoenix Rescue Mission and other local rescues. Kim also serves on the board of the FETCH Foundation, where she assists with Fido bags and other needs. During Houston’s deadly Hurricane Harvey, Kim traveled there to aid and bring comfort to the overwhelming number of tragically displaced dogs. A HomeSmart Realtor, she donates a portion of her commissions back to the community. Kim shares her life with her husband of 36 years, two children and one very happy Labrador Retriever.

Marcia Schafer

Cyber Manager

An active board member since 2005, over the years Schafer designed many of PACC911’s special program graphics to develop a branded image and spearheaded a website overhaul that marked a new phase of growth for the organization. She is now our managing web guru.

When she’s not working with PACC911, Marcia is an award-winning author and MBA business consultant mentoring humanitarian entrepreneurs around the world with an unusual approach. By blending her professional expertise and intuitive skills she helps people understand the hidden world around us, including what goes on within an animal’s consciousness. Her psychic animal communication ability has aided rescues in times of need and she has a striking record resolving difficult issues, helping challenged pets get adopted.

An animal advocacy division within her company Beyond Zebra® enlightens about pet awareness as she works to change society’s perception to bring about the international life rights and legal protection these beings deserve. Inventive and trendsetting, she is a devoted animal lover providing a home for rescued Persian cats. Her current companions are two catnip snorting girls named Sakkara and Truffles. Devoted to getting people to better understand the not-so-silent world animals live in, she brings all her creativity, passion and savvy to our advisory board.

Stephanie Stead

Volunteer Coordinator

An ardent animal lover, Stephanie brings all that devotion to our Advisory Board as Volunteer Coordinator, guiding our volunteers where they are needed to help us make each event a great success.

Dee Umpleby

Rescued Treasures Store Manager

Deanne was one of the original board members for PACC911 and is store manager for PACC911’s Rescued Treasures Charity Boutique. Dee’s creativity has been the perfect ingredient to make our boutique one of the best thrift stores in the valley. Her touch and sense of design make it a unique and fun place to stop and shop, all while supporting PACC911. Dee also creates decorative baskets for our many silent auctions affiliated with our fundraisers. A past member of Fast Dogs, Fast Friends, Dee was a foster for Many A Greyhound and now helps to foster Basset Hounds with AZ Basset Hound Rescue. She and her hubby Joe enjoy their 5 dog family.