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 Directors

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

Lizeth Chacón

Co-Executive Director

Lizeth Chacón began her career as an organizer in Colorado, for 16 years she has worked to build power with those most impacted through community and electoral organizing. Lizeth has 8 years of experience as Executive Director, she led a racial justice, member-led and multi-issue organization where she successfully led different campaigns that delivered victories for communities of color, immigrants and workers. As an immigrant from Chihuahua, Mexico who came to the United States at the age of 12, she experienced the injustices and difficulties many immigrants face. Due to that she has been committed to building power with communities of color, workers and immigrants. Lizeth has been at the helm of creating and leading projects that focus on building and winning with those most impacted; she started Colorado People’s Alliance a member-led and racial justice organization, co-founded the Transformative Leadership for Change Fellowship that serves leaders of color and she currently serves on their Governing Council, and she has led many coalitions that have delivered major victories on racial, climate, economic and immigrant justice. Lizeth currently serves as the Board President of People’s Action.

Board of Directors

Parisa Fatehi-WeeksPresident
Isaac FazPresident-Elect
Claudia GolinelliVice-President
Adrian RizoTreasurer
José CabadaSecretary
Phillip Schmandt
Rebecca Ruth Webber
Laura Olvera
Maria Huerta
Mario Ontiveros
Myrna Mendez
Sharon Medina
Mirna Rodriguez

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