Kim Bobo, Executive Director
773-728-8400, ext. 13
Named one of Utne Reader's "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" in 2009, Kim helped coin the phrase “wage theft.” Her book Wage Theft in America helped get the issue on the national radar. Prior to founding IWJ, Kim was a trainer for the Midwest Academy and Director of Organizing for Bread for the World. She is co-author of Organizing for Social Change, the best-selling organizing manual in the country. A music lover, Kim directs the choir at her church. She also enjoys visiting with her twin sons, Eric and Benjamin, who are away at college (see extended bio).
Sung Yeon Choi-Morrow, Organizing Director
Sung Yeon helps new Interfaith Groups form across the country by connecting local religious, academia and labor communities. She also recruits students to work on labor campaigns and coordinates IWJ’s summer internship program. Sung Yeon studied Political Science and Urban Studies at Wheaton College and earned an M.Div from McCormick Theological Seminary. She is a deacon at Edgewater Presbyterian Church in Chicago. Before working at IWJ, Sung Yeon was a Community Organizer at Asian American Institute on immigration reform, the state budget, redistricting and voting. Sung Yeon and her husband, Joseph Morrow, enjoy traveling, cooking and entertaining friends and family.
Adam DeRose, Online Organizer
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 24
A graduate of Loyola University Chicago with degrees in Journalism and History, Adam is responsible for IWJ’s website, blog, online advocacy campaigns and social media presence. Previously, he worked as the Web Content Editor for Loyola's Ministry Department and as the department's Peace and Justice Coordinator. Adam lives in the Logan Square neighborhood, and is active in his local community. He plans to hike the Appalachian Trail one day.
Stephanie Gharakhanian, Legal Director
Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Northeastern University School of Law. As the legal director, Stephanie is working with the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to launch a pilot wage theft clinic in Chicago. In addition, she collaborates with IWJ’s worker center affiliates to provide legal support to their organizing campaigns and legal services to their members. Before joining IWJ, Stephanie served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and lived at a house of hospitality for migrants and refugees on the U.S.-Mexico border. While in law school, she worked with and learned from worker centers in El Paso, Texas, Boston and New Orleans. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys bluegrass music and brunch.
Aina Gutierrez, Deputy Director of Operations
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 11
Aina has more than 10 years experience in fundraising, financial management and office administration. Aina has assisted dozens of IWJ affiliates in building their organizational capacity and helped grow at least five new organizations. She believes that a strong back office is vital for non-profits and that we should “practice what we preach” in operations, policies (especially personnel), and leadership. Aina has a bachelor's degree in International Business from Augustana College and a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. When Aina is not at IWJ, she is playing with and caring for her three kids.
Maria E. Gutierrez, National Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 48
Originally from Colombia, South America, Maria has worked in Chicago serving a primarily Latino community, including day laborers, low-wage and immigrant workers. She has a master’s degree on Occupational and Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene from the University of Oklahoma and is a PhD candidate at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has studied the use of personal protective equipment among day laborers, led OSHA 10-hour health and safety trainings for residential construction workers, and acted as consultant for health and safety training for the private sector.
Cathy Junia, Communications Director
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 40
Born and raised in the Philippines, Cathy moved to the U.S. in 2003 and credits her interest in worker and immigrant issues to her own immigration experience. A journalist by training and education, Cathy is responsible for developing IWJ's communication strategy and managing the communications department. Previously, Cathy served as the Individual Outreach Coordinator in IWJ's development department and a member of the cross-departmental communications team. Before coming to IWJ, she worked as editor of the Northeast Phoenix Independent in Arizona. Outside of work, she enjoys "discovering" hole-in-a-wall eateries and new music.
The Rev. Michael Livingston, National Policy Director and Director of D.C. Office
The Rev. Michael Livingston joined IWJ's Policy Department with a strong interfaith voice on national worker justice issues. Livingston is the former Director of the Poverty Initiative of the National Council of Churches and former Executive Director of the International Council of Community Churches. In Nov. 2010, the Rev. Livingston met with President Obama as a member of a delegation of heads of member denominations of the NCC for the 100th anniversary of the ecumenical movement to discuss a variety of issues. The Rev. Livingston is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and received his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Ruth Orme-Johnson, Grants Manager
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 18
Ruth comes to IWJ (and returns to Chicago) from Boston where she earned her Masters in Social Work from Boston University. While in Boston, Ruth worked with United for a Fair Economy as a Development Associate, managing small donor appeals. Previously, Ruth worked at Action Now, a community organization in Chicago, both as an organizer and a grant writer. When she’s not helping raise money at IWJ, Ruth likes to play music, do crossword puzzles and volunteer with youth development organizations.
Mistead Sai, Worker Center Network Assistant
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 38
Originally from Accra, Ghana, Mistead moved to the U.S. when he was seven, and lived in Maryland for 17 years. As the IWJ Worker Center Network Assistant, Mistead works on national campaigns and organizational development. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. During his senior year at the University of Maryland, he interned at the Equal Rights Center in Washington, D.C. Mistead joins IWJ through the US-2 missionary program of the United Methodist Church. During his free time, Mistead loves to listen to music, watch documentaries and hang out with his friends.
Thom Shellabarger, Public Policy Associate
Formerly a Policy Advisor at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Thom spent more than 40 years advocating on diverse issues from housing and community development, to minimum wage, employment and civil rights with Congress and the Administration. Thom was a founding board member of IWJ. An organizer and advocate who can move an agenda, his colleagues describe Thom as someone who can get an economist to laugh, a politician to vote right, a bureaucrat to act, and a Bishop to issue a statement —tall tasks for anyone. Thom works in IWJ’s Washington, D.C. office.
Mayumi Swanson, Database Manager
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 17
Mayumi has overseen the development of IWJ’s check processing systems and the complete overhaul of its database system. She holds a B.A. in Public Relations from the Federal University of Goiás in her native Brazil. She and her husband, Christopher Swanson, are the parents of a son named Koichi.
Jacob Swenson, Assistant to the Executive Director
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 13
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Jacob moved to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago, where he earned his master’s degree in philosophy. During his studies, he became a leader with Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation. He feels privileged to work with IWJ and cares deeply for economic justice. When he’s not at the office, he enjoys throwing pottery (yup) and spending time in the great outdoors.
David Valenta, Office Manager and Public Policy Associate
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 10
David works as IWJ’s Office Manager and go-to guy for computer and technology issues. With a degree in Political Science, David also serves as a Public Policy Advocate and is part of the team that staffs the Faith Advocates for Jobs Campaign, which was launched by IWJ in 2010. Before coming to IWJ David worked as an immigration paralegal in the Chicago area.
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.