Workers Defense Project is a community organization for low-wage, immigrant workers in the Texas construction industry. We bring together and stand alongside these workers as they fight for their right to be paid a living wage and be protected in their work. 

Meet Our Co-Executive Director

Emily Timm

Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director

For nearly 20 years, Emily Timm has fought tirelessly for workplace justice and immigrants rights in Texas and across the country. She is a Co-Executive Director at Workers Defense, an organization she co-founded in 2005, and has since been instrumental in building the organization into a statewide powerhouse that empowers low-wage construction workers to achieve fair, safe employment. Today, Workers Defense is one of the leading advocacy organizations in Texas, with a membership of thousands and offices in Houston, Dallas and Austin

Board of Directors

Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, Board President, Google Fiber
Claudia Golinelli, Board Vice President, Electrician
Isaac Faz, Secretary, Dallas County Community College
Adrian Rizo, Treasurer, Charles Schwab
Charon Medina, Construction Worker
Gerardo Tovar, Air-Conditioning repair technician
José Cabada, Attorney
Laura Olvera, Food Service Industry
Maria Huerta, Member
Mario Ontiveros, Independent Contractor
Myrna Mendez, Member
Phillip Schmandt, Attorney
Rebecca Webber, Attorney

Leadership Council

Anna Fink, First Vice President for Philanthropy; Amalgamated Bank
Carol Barger, Attorney
Christine Owens, Former Executive Director; NELP
David Rolf, President; Service Employees International Union 775
Erica Smiley, Executive Director; Jobs with Justice
Henry Allen, Executive Director; Retired; Discount Foundation
Kirk Adams, Service Employees International Union
Leonard Aguilar, Political Director, Southwest Pipetrades Association
Marybeth Maxwell, Consultant, Movement Building
Rick Levy, President; Texas AFL-CIO
Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President; AFL-CIO
Tory Gavito, President & Co-Founder, Way To Win

Our Staff


Emily Timm, Co-Executive Director

Amparo Herrera Hughes, Director of HR & Operations
Ana Gonzalez, Director of Better Builder and Policy
Juan Benitez, Director of Communications
Candelario Vasquez, Health and Safety Organizer
Faith Donovan, Operations Manager
Hannah Alexander, Austin Staff Attorney
Jessica Wolff, Deputy Director of Better Builder and Policy
Karen Escobedo, Workplace Justice Organizer
Mayra Huerta, Austin Campaign Manager
Miriam Dorantes, Development and Volunteer Coordinator
Jennifer Toth Clary, Grants Manager 
Andrea NichollsBetter Builder Oversight Coordinator
Abraham Ruiz, Project Assistant
Fabiola Barreto, Austin Policy Coordinator
Jose Caceres, Austin Legal Manager / Organizer
Valeria Serna, Executive Assistant
Ellie Rommelfanger, Jesuit Volunteer


Bricia Garcia, Dallas Campaign Manager
Cheli Cruz, Workplace Justice Organizer
Christopher Enriquez, Digital Strategist
Cristal Benitez-Lopez, Dallas Legal Manager/ Organizer
Maria “DJ” Garza, Dallas Campaign Organizer
Sean Goldhammer, Director of Employment and Legal Services
Hosanna Yemiru, Director of Development
Diana Ramirez, WDAF Director of Civic Engagement
Chris Robles,
Civic Data Coordinator


Laura Perez-Boston, Director of Organizing
Camila Trujillo, Campaign Organizer
Nio Garcia, Houston Office Coordinator
Sandra Cisneros-Peeters, Always Essential Campaign Organizer
Tevin English, Community and Political Organizer
Yabsira Adera, Always Essential Campaign Coordinator