Sarah Avery, Assistant to the Executive Director
773-728-8400, ext. 13
Sarah Avery is excited to be a part of the IWJ staff and to grow her knowledge about worker justice. She assists IWJ’s Executive Director and serves as a intermediary to the Board of Directors. Sarah was born and raised in Chicago and loves the city. She spent the last five years working at a faith-based non-profit focused on racial reconciliation and poverty alleviation on the South Side where she served in many capacities. She and her husband live in the Woodlawn community and enjoy spending time with the neighborhood teens. Sarah reads everything she can get her hands on, loves dancing, painting and other art forms, and she probably cares about her dog way too much.
Janel Bailey, National Organizer
773-728-8400, ext. 37
Janel works with IWJ’s network of local interfaith groups and serves as our liaison to our sibilings in the labor movement. Born and raised in Chicago, Janel is a graduate of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Before joining the team at IWJ, she worked as a labor organizer, working with public sector and healthcare workers in "right-to-work" (for less) states. Janel is an enthusiastic supporter of Jobs with Justice, and is active on their national training team. Outside the office, Janel enjoys playing Scrabble and listening to Prince.
Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Director of Strategic Partnerships
773-728-8400, ext. 11
Sung Yeon leads the organizing team at IWJ and helps start new Interfaith Groups and Worker Centers 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. Sung Yeon is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church. Before working at IWJ, Sung Yeon was a Community Organizer at Asian American Institute working on immigration reform, the state budget, redistricting and voting. Sung Yeon and her husband, Joseph Morrow, enjoy traveling, cooking and entertaining friends and family.
Cathy Junia, Director of Communications and Development
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.
Rudy López, Executive Director
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 13
Rudy developed his organizing skills in the neighborhoods of Pilsen and Little Village in Chicago working as a community organizer with the Metropolitan Alliance of Congregations. In 2013 and 2014, he focused solely on the passage of comprehensive immigration reform as a senior organizer for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) based in Washington DC. He we one of the core fasters for Fast4Families and toured the country lifting up the urgency to pass comprehensive immigration reform. He also served as the Political Director for the Center for Community Change until 2013, he worked with groups all around the country to register, educate and turn-out hundreds of thousands of voters in low-income communities and communities of color. He is a choir member at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and enjoys attending spiritual retreats and pilgrimages (see extended bio).
Laura McCann, Individual Outreach Coordinator and Interim Assistant to the Executive Director
773-728-8400, ext. 13
Laura is the Individual Outreach Coordinator and Interim Assistant to the Executive Director. A recent graduate from the University of Florida’s Environmental Science and Russian programs, she hopes to further explore the social side of sustainability by focusing her efforts within the worker justice field. Previously, she served as a program coordinator with nonprofit Lake County Cares working with students in underserved schools to improve their service portfolios for college applications. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, sewing, running, volunteering, and anything that pertains to sustainability. Her best friend has four legs and purrs incessantly. She also has a cat.
Julian Medrano, Legal Director
773-728-8400, ext. 34
Julian runs Interfaith Worker Justice’s new wage theft clinic and is committed to providing all individuals access to the justice system. 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.
Marién Casillas Pabellón, Director of Organizing
Marién works with IWJ’s National Worker Center network. She is the former Executive Director of New Labor, a New Jersey worker center and community-based organization. Before leading New Labor, she's worked as a union representative both in Puerto Rico and in the United States before completing a Master’s in Labor Relations at Rutgers’ University. Marién grew up in Puerto Rico, the daughter of a Baptist pastor and a progressive librarian. She credits her church as the first place she learned about politics.
Ian Pajer-Rogers, Digital Advocacy and Fundraising Strategist
Phone: 773-728-8400, ext. 24
Ian manages Interfaith Worker Justice's digital communications and online fundraising. 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. Ian also enjoys writing, making music, and spending time with his dog Omar.
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.
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.
Kim Bobo, Founding Director
773-728-8400, ext. 13
Kim was named one of 14 faith leaders to watch in 2014 by the Center for American Progress, and 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).