Barbara Lacker-Ware, Director of Development

773-728-8400 ext. 40

Barbara joins us from Rochester, New York, where she has decades of experience in nonprofit administrative and fundraising experience. Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Michigan and a Master of Divinity degree at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Barbara started her career as an ordained minister in the American Baptist tradition. She soon gravitated to social justice issues, and after working as an advocate for homeless people, she became the executive director of Cameron Community Ministries. Over the past 20 years, Barbara has served as a development director or in some capacity of fundraising for several nonprofits, including grant writing, major gifts, annual fund management, online giving, special events, and planned giving. In her spare time, working with the grassroots group Enough Is Enough, Barbara co-authored a study of, and organized a movement for, police accountability in Rochester. The movement garnered the support of 75 organizations, became a local election issue, and an ordinance she co-wrote is expected to be voted into law by the city council.

Julian Medrano, Director of Public Policy


Julian manages IWJ's public policy. Originally from Argentina, Julian grew up in Toronto, Canada, and has spent the last five years in Chicago. After graduating from the Chicago-Kent College of Law and passing the Illinois Bar exam, Julian has spent time working for law firms and legal aid organizations in Chicago practicing civil rights and employment law. He has also spent time working in South East Asia as a legal consultant for the International Labour Organization. Julian also has degrees in Finance and International Business from Iowa State University. When not working, he is an avid traveler and music lover.

Martha Ojeda, Senior National Field Organizer

Martha Ojeda worked for 20 years in the maquiladora industry (sweatshops), in the industrialization program of Mexico that became NAFTA. In April of 1994, Martha led the Sony Workers’ movement to improve their working conditions. The workers were beaten and brutally repressed by police forces. The Sony workers’ case was the first case brought against the government of Mexico under the Side Agreements for Labor Cooperation of NAFTA. Martha has a Law degree from The University of Saltillo, Coahuila and the Centre for University Studies in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico and joins IWJ from Fe y Justicia, a worker center based in Houston.

Ian Pajer-Rogers, Communications and Political Director

Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 24

Ian manages Interfaith Worker Justice's communication and political departments. Before joining the IWJ team, Ian was most recently the digital director for the campaign to elect Jesus "Chuy" Garcia for Mayor of Chicago and the digital communications strategist for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Ian was inspired to work on social justice from a young age after attending the progressive and inclusive First United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh, PA.

Mayumi Swanson, Database Manager

Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 17

Mayumi is an accidental techie.  She has over 13 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Currently, she oversees IWJ’s gift processing and CRM systems, including the complete overhaul of both systems. As a key member of the organization’s development and communications teams, Mayumi is responsible for creating processes to ensure data quality and for preparing reports to support IWJ’s strategies. She holds a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from the Federal University of Goiás in her native Brazil.  When she is not working, she likes to spend time with her family and enjoys learning new things.

Jana Winch, Graphic Designer

Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 10

Jana has been with IWJ since 1999. She is the creative force responsible for the design of most of IWJ's publications. Prior to IWJ, Jana worked for two design/advertising studios in downtown Chicago. She received her B.A. in Art from Luther College. When she is not working, or caring for her two young girls, Jana sleeps.

Allison Zidek, Accounting and HR Manager

Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 22

Allison had a 16-year career as Accounting Manager and IT Director for a retail organization in Chicago before coming to IWJ. She has a BA in accounting and an MBA from DePaul University. Allison has responsibility for a variety of financial and human relations functions at IWJ including accounting, payroll and personnel benefits. Allison was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago and continues to live in Skokie with her daughter. Outside of IWJ, she spends time volunteering on the school PTA and with the Girl Scouts.

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