The Workers Lab

Carmen Rojas is the CEO of The Workers Lab, an accelerator that invests in entrepreneurs, community organizers, technologists, economic justice organizations,issue campaigns, and businesses to create scalable and self-­sustaining solutions that improve conditions for low-­wage workers. The Workers Lab is focused on ideas, services, and products that will achieve sufficient scale to impact workers across sectors, industries, and geographies, and result in self-­sufficient revenue models.

Prior to assuming this position, she was the Acting Director of Collective Impact at Living Cities. In this capacity, she played a pivotal role supporting the work of Living Cities’ member institutions, which represented 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions in the world. Her work focused on improving economic opportunity for low ­income people by supporting projects in the fields of economic and workforce development, energy efficiency, and asset building.

From 2008 to 2011, Carmen was the Director of Strategic Programs at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, where she oversaw the Foundation’s Green Access and Civic Engagement programs. Her charge involved participating in efforts to build power in low­ income communities and communities of color.

Prior to joining the Kapor Foundation, Carmen was the Coordinator of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Taskforce on African American Out­Migration. As Coordinator, she developed qualitative and quantitative reports for a taskforce established by San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom to address African American displacement from the city.

In 2004, Carmen served as the Coordinator of the Social Equity Caucus, a program of Urban Habitat, a regional nonprofit organization in the Bay Area. She was primarily responsible for coordinating the work of a regional network of over 75 public, private, and nonprofit organizations to build a regional social and environmental justice movement that represents the needs of low­ income communities and communities of color.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007. She taught in the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley from 2009­-2011. Her teaching focused on the history of cities in the US, a practicum on local economic development, planning pedagogy, and race in the practice of city planning.


Operations Manager

Elizabeth Velez, our Director of Operations and Finance, joined The Workers Lab in August 2016.  Since then she has helped to build and implement systems to increase the capacity of the back office including accounting, grants management, compliance and human resources, ensuring they support the mission-driven work of The Workers Lab. 

She comes to The Workers Lab with 20 years experience, where she focused on building the internal capacities of small businesses.  During this time Elizabeth helped restructure financially stagnant small businesses helping them turn a profit and be more diligently engaged in the strategic and tactical facets of their business. Her greatest accomplishment has been to move small businesses from a “cigar box back office” to systems for effective management that play on the strengths of the entrepreneur.

Elizabeth graduated from American University in Washington  DC with a BA in Communications, Law, Economics and Government (CLEG).  While attending the University of Connecticut for Graduate school, she met her husband and now lives in Brooklyn with their 9 year old son.


Strategy and Partnerships Consultant

Max Rose is a consultant to The Workers Lab on strategy and partnerships. In that capacity, Max helps the team to define programmatic focus and builds bridges between workers and other social justice movements.

At MDC, which increases equity and opportunity throughout the Southern United States, Max began as the Autry Fellow and eventually managed strategic partnerships and development. Max and colleagues staffed the launch of Made in Durham, a partnership of business and education built to ensure all of Durham's young people receives a postsecondary credentials and living wage work by the age of 25. 

Max graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where his senior honors thesis examined the framing of poverty policy in the United States. His writing since, on policy, demographics and community, tries to show the complexity and necessity of better paths to economy mobility. He serves on the Board of Directors of Walltown Children’s Theatre in Durham.


Communications and Strategy Manager

Tomás supports The Workers Lab by in a number of capacities including storytelling, strategy and relationship management.  He works directly with the CEO to execute programmatic priorities.

While at The Business Innovation Factory, Tomás spearheaded the growth of a new business in civic innovation consulting.  By developing an understanding of key partnerships, he led the efforts to develop relationships with key influencers while building community online for the firm.

Tomás received his B.A. in Development Studies from Brown University where he completed a thesis on workforce inclusion for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the US and abroad.


Fundraising and Communications Consultant

Eddy Morales supports The Workers Lab fundraising and communication strategy.  He is the founder and principal of Morales Public Relations (MPR), a firm dedicated to elevating progressive ideals through relationship cultivation, strategy, and communications. He is a seasoned activist, donor advisor, and strategist in the political and non-profit worlds with more than 10 years of experience at organizations such as the United States Student Association, Center for Community Change, VotoLatino, Crossroad Campaigns, and most recently as the Director of the Latino Engagement Fund at the Democracy Alliance.

Eddy carefully cultivates long­-term and trusted relationships with political leaders, elected officials, media sources, and influential decision makers. He has established effective and efficient processes for prospecting, engaging, and cultivating these relationships with major donors and labor unions to support federal, state, and local political campaigns, organizations, and PACs that empower the most vulnerable communities.

In addition to his work at MPR, Eddy has also played a pivotal role as a board member of the Community Catalyst, Midwest Academy, PowerPac, National LGBTQ Task Force, Code for Progress, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and Justice Matters Press. He attended the University of Oregon and currently resides in Gresham, Oregon with his partner Hugh and their beloved dog, Besitos. In Oregon he serves as the Fundraising Chair and State Central Committee Delegate for the Democratic Party of Oregon.


Program Lead (Leadership & Entrepreneurship)
Founder, The 8 Factors

As a prolific entrepreneur, turnaround consultant, business advisor and educator, Michael C. Bush has more than 30 years of experience and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs learn how to increase business. Michael’s paradigm-shifting approach to business, distills the best content from business books, MBA theory, and personal insight into a powerfully simple and practical business framework for people who are currently running or just starting a small business: The 8 Factors.

A champion of small businesses and job creation, Michael offers refreshingly honest straight-talk with the compassionate tone of someone who has been there. A charismatic speaker, Michael draws on lessons from his childhood, to offer personal accounts that are revealing, humorous, and insightful. Through his entertaining, honest, and inspiring style, Michael forges immediate and lasting connections with audiences.

Michael received his M.S. in Management from The Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. In addition to his management consulting work, he sits on the board of Inner City Advisors and teaches entrepreneurship courses at a number of institutions including: Stanford University and Mills College. Michael is also a member of President Obama’s White House Business Council, a group of business advisors that meets at the White House to help shape policy on issues that impact small businesses and promote economic prosperity and job creation in urban areas.


David Rolf
SEIU 775

Luz Vega-Marquis
President & CEO
Marguerite Casey Foundation

Ben Geyerhahn
Chief Executive Officer

Eric Halperin
Senior Advisor
Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs

Guillermo Quinteros
Program Director
SeeForward Fund

Gara LaMarche
Democracy Alliance

Dorian T. Warren
Columbia University Program on
Labor Law & Policy

Jose Garcia
Program Officer
Surdna Foundation

Keith Mestrich
President & Chief Executive Officer
Amalgamated Bank

Sean Daniel Murphy
President & Managing Director
Fund Good Jobs

Bill Dempsey
Chief Financial Officer

Freada Klein
Kapor Center for Social Impact

Margot Brandenburg
Senior Social Innovations Advisor
National DomesticWorkers Alliance

Felicia Wong
President & CEO
Roosevelt Institute

Anna Fink
Vice President
Amalgamated Bank

Paul Booth
Executive Assistant to the President

Matthew Klein
Executive Director
New York City Center for
Economic Opportunity

Ian Fuller
Managing Director
Westfuller Advisors LLC

Sarita Gupta
Executive Director
Jobs with Justice

Leah Hunt Hendrix
Steering Committee Member

Laine Romero-Alston
Program Officer
Ford Foundation

Haeyoung Yoon
Deputy Program Director
National Employment Law Project

Michael Bush
The 8 Factors

Eric Liu
Founder & CEO
Citizen University


Aaron Tanaka
Founding Managing Director
Boston Impact Initiative

Eric Woods
Paladin Ventures

Nwamaka Agbo
Innovation Fellow
Movement Strategy Center

Zakiya Harris
Impact Hub Oakland
Hack the Hood

Anthony Heckman
Investor at Kapor Capital

Jesus Ramirez
Vice President

Pei Chen

David Ward
Member Benefits Coordinator

Julie Menter
New Media Ventures

Racheal Meiers