Shark Team Bios

McGuireHSDavid McGuire, MPH, Director and Founder of Shark Stewards

David McGuire is the founder of the non-profit Shark Stewards with the mission of restoring ocean health by saving sharks and protecting critical marine habitat.

Educated in Marine Biology, David holds a masters degree in Environmental Health and has worked in education and public health at the University of California at Berkeley for over a decade. David is the writer, producer and underwater cinematographer of several award-winning documentaries, including Sharks of San Francisco Bay.

A sailor and diver, he has participated in several ocean expeditions around the world for National Geographic, the California Academy of Sciences where he is a research associate and with Patagonia.  He has also published numerous articles on the state of the ocean and sharks and writes a blog on sharks and ocean health called Ocean Voices. David co-authored the book Surviving the Shark with a shark attack victim turned advocate

David catalyzed and built a coalition leading to the introduction and passage of the California Shark Conservation Act, AB 376. David sits on several boards of non-profits including The San Francisco Green Film Festival and the Cordell Bank Marine Sanctuary Association.He has received numerous awards for his work including the Hero of Marin Environmental Stewardship Award in 2011, and Hero of the Ocean by the Pacifica Beach Coalition in 2013, He has won an Emmy for Field Production and Camera on the documentary Reefs to Rainforests. He is a popular public speaker on sharks and the ocean and lectures at the University of San Francisco.

Science Content and Media Coordinator  Isabella Gonzales Potter


Isabella Gonzalez Potter is the science content and media coordinator for Shark Stewards, researching content and developing media messages for shark and ocean health. She is a junior at the University of San Francisco with a double major in Environmental Science and Latin American Studies, and has experience in media production. She is a Resident Advisor Specialist  at USF and is the Treasurer of Latinas Unidas, a culturally focused organization. Isabella was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and spent her weekends in Mexico (Sonora and Chihuahua), allowing me to stay connected to my culture. Growing up in the Sonoran Desert, along the US- Mexican border, gave her a unique appreciation for the environment and also for the people who call it their home. Isabella is passionate about the overlap between nature and community, believing they are two of the most critical aspects of our own existence.  She hopes to pursue a career focusing on Environmental Health and Marine Biology, and is proud to call the Bay Area my current home.

Melis Okter Shark Researcher, Program Coordinator


Melis Okter is a research intern for Shark Stewards and is developing a demographic study of local sharks, mainly soupfin sharks, in the San Francisco Bay Area. She also participates and helps organize events held by Shark Stewards to educate the general public on ocean and shark conservation

As a research intern, Melis works with the Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Academy of Sciences. She is also involved with field work outside of the office. She hopes that her research will help to develop a Shark Sanctuary in the San Francisco Bay. Currently, she is applying for marine biology masters programs.

Melis is a 2013 graduate of University of California, San Diego, receiving her B.S. in Environmental Systems- Ecology Behavior and Evolution as well as a minors in Marine Science (through Scripps Institute of Oceanography). While at UCSD, Melis researched leopard shark behavior and swell shark circadian rhythm patterns. .Melis will continue to work hard to protect the health of oceans and its inhabitants as an academic professional and strives to educate others of its utmost importance.

Alycia Cox, Shark Education

Alycia is an appointed intern/shark steward ambassador/shark manager.  She earned her B.A. in environmental studies at the University of San Francisco always carrying an extreme passion for the ocean and its magnificent sharks ever since she was a little girl.

Responsibilities for Shark Stewards include, program and research organization, representing Sea Stewards at important meetings and various events, public education on ocean and shark conservation, volunteer coordination, in charge of communication with fellow organizations, and detailed event planning for the various activities throughout Sharktober.

She joined David in an expedition off of Guadalupe Island diving with White Sharks.  As a certified Great White Shark Naturalist with the National Marine Sanctaury she strives to educate the world about the importance of marine conservation, saving the oceans one shark at a time.

Anna Clark, Education & Media Relations, Shark Captain

Anna Clark is an author, sustainability advocate and mother of two.  She regards oceanic pollution and species loss among the most critical environmental issues we face today.  She also has a soft spot for sharks, which she considers the underdogs of the sea.

Anna is the president of EarthPeople and the author of Green, American Style (Baker Books 2010).  She began her career in management consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM. Her passion for conservation ultimately led into sustainability consulting and communications. Since founding EarthPeople in 2005, Anna has designed and implemented profitable sustainability strategies for start-ups, school districts, municipalities and Fortune 500 corporations.  Anna writes the Eco-Leadership blog for and her ideas have been featured in media outlets including USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Dallas Morning News, and Entrepreneur Radio.

Anna holds a B.A. with honors from the University of Texas at Austin and completed a post-graduate internship at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Buenos Aires. She is presently doing graduate work through Johns Hopkins University, researching the effects of new media on public opinion.  She lives with her family in Dallas in one of Texas‘ first residences to earn a Platinum LEED-certified rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.  For details on her writing and speaking, visit

Danielle Patton, Marketing Expert, Shark Advocate

Danielle Patton is an experienced SaaS marketing and business development expert responsible for growth of software technology in new markets.  She earned her Bachelors degree in Biology from Wichita State University in 2010 and began her career as a marketing assistant at Pulse Systems, Inc.  In the ensuing years, Danielle helped position and grow Pulse Systems, Inc., through directing and producing strategies and campaigns directed to the health care market.  She created tactical campaigns to increase adoption of SaaS technology solutions and generated adoption in target markets throughout the US.  In addition, she was responsible for launching the VAR program and contracting with a number of sate entities, growing sales and marketing efforts across the nation.

Danielle is an advanced PADI scuba diver and has worked as a South African Penguin keeper at Tanganyika Wildlife Park, a lab assistant at Wichita State University, and a biology assistant at Southwestern College. She is presently pursuing her MBA with a concentration in health care and international business.

Kayla Ellis, Student Campaign Organizer, Shark Advocate

Kayla Ellis is the student campaign organizer for Shark Stewards Texas, a non-profit dedicated to conserving our oceans through the protection of sharks.  A senior at Greenhill School, Kayla is an aspiring marine biologist. Since becoming a master diver, Kayla has channeled her enthusiasm for sharks into pursuits ranging from advocacy to poetry.

In September 2010, Kayla co-founded the Anti-Bullying Campaign.  Since launching the ABC Club, she has gained extensive experience in campaign management, volunteer recruitment and training, and cause marketing.  An avid volunteer, Kayla has also donated her time and resources to Children’s Medical Center, Salvation Army, Operation Kindness, and Amnesty International.

Alayne Chappell, Communications Specialist, Shark Advocate

Alayne_Shark Stewards PhotoAlayne Chappell is an experienced communications specialist with a degree in journalism from San Francisco State University, a background in shark conservation, and a passion for all things ocean.  Postgraduate course work has included studies in marine biology, advanced math, and various science courses.  Alayne is an avid SCUBA diver, and currently volunteers for the Aquarium of the Bay in animal care.

In 2012, Alayne spearheaded the campaign to end the sale of shark fins in Massachusetts.  She directed the efforts of Fin Free Massachusetts, supported by the Shark Angels and United Conservationists.  Alayne brought together a coalition of over 20 NGOs including Shark Stewards, the New England Aquarium, Oceana, The Humane Society, and more.  Working closely with a group of professionals spanning conservation, legal, advocacy, and biology expertise, she helped pass the shark fin ban in 2014.  Alayne continues to consult on enforcement efforts from the Bay Area.

For the past two years, she has worked for the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center as Online Communications Specialist.  Prior to that she was Content Editor for a legal advice website, and co-founder and editor for a 501(c)(3) non-profit publication to advance media coverage of women in action sports.  She has volunteered for a number of environmental, social justice, and animal advocacy campaigns, and is currently assisting Shark Stewards on various shark advocacy projects.