Gail Jones attended Sac State from 1973 through 1977. She completed both the B.A. and M.A. in Psychology. As a Psychology student intern, Ms. Jones worked as a crisis counselor for Suicide Prevention Service. As she took calls from battered women who were suicidal, she found no local or statewide services to which to refer them. Thus, she began research into the psychological dynamics of family violence and initiated a needs assessment concerning battered women in Sacramento County. This work was conducted during her senior year and throughout her graduate studies. It formed the basis of her master's thesis.
Relying on the research and needs assessment data she had collected, Ms. Jones successfully pursued grants that supported the first battered women's shelter in Sacramento, one of the first five in the state. She became known nationally for her role in the design, implementation, and management of WEAVE Inc. (Women Escaping a Violent Environment), for which she served as Executive Director for 21 years. WEAVE became one of the premier agencies of its kind in the United States, visited in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. President Clinton "was impressed by the programs that you've put together…. The vexing problem of violence against women and children will not be solved without dedication, sacrifice, and compassion - assets you have revealed in abundance."
Under Ms. Jones's leadership, WEAVE's staff grew to over a hundred employees, with an operating budget of $4.5 million. Its programs developed to the point of touching annually the lives of 7,000 women and children in the Sacramento area. Its professional training and public outreach programs attracted more than 23,000 participants statewide. The California State Assembly honored Gail Jones as one who "enriched her community by helping to protect individuals and families from abusive environments; her direct and consequential acts have made a difference in countless lives…."
Over the years, Ms. Jones advised two U.S. presidents and four California governors on family violence and sexual assault issues and policies. After 21 years as its director, Ms. Jones left WEAVE in 2000 to consult more broadly with organizations and agencies regionally and statewide.
Reflecting on her experience at Sac State, Gail Jones notes that she very much appreciates the faculty of the Department of Psychology, especially Professors Marrow, Jensen, Winans, Bond, and Sharma.
"They supported my dream. They challenged me. They contributed to my life's work in their own ways and from their areas of specialty: women's studies, humanistic and interpersonal psychology, and research and evaluation design."