Welcoming Co-Deputy Directors

Jobs With Justice welcomed two powerhouses onto our national team in early 2023, Denise Diaz as Deputy Director for Institutional Advancement and Candace Johnson as Deputy Director for Organizational Strength. Together, Denise and Candace bring decades of organizing and leadership experience to Jobs With Justice.

Denise has led strategic organizing and policy interventions for the organization over the last 2 decades. Prior to accepting her new role with JWJ, Denise served as board chair in her position as the longtime Executive Director of Central Florida Jobs With Justice, leading statewide organizing, collective bargaining and political campaigns that centered around workers. She has been recognized and submitted to the Library of Congress twice.

Candace is a tireless champion for deep systemic change and shifting structural power to communities who face structural barriers. She was previously the Executive Director of Colorado Jobs With Justice and currently serves on their board. Previously, Candace contributed her high aptitude for building alliances around long-term agendas and directing large-scale change management within organizations, particularly in innovation, equity and operations as the principal of Up and Ahead Consulting.

Erica Smiley, JWJ Executive Director, comments on the promising future of Jobs With Justice with our new Deputy Directors:

“Jobs With Justice has always prioritized tapping organizers and strategists from our own network to lead in national positions. This helps maintain accountability and alignment between the affiliates and the national team. Being able to work with both Candace and Denise, two powerful women of color with their own experiences leading local JWJ coalitions, as well as major statewide and national projects, goes far beyond simply maintaining that tradition. The combination of them and Mackenzie Baris, also a former coalition Director, in Deputy Co-Director roles gives us the leadership, skill and discipline to prepare ourselves for growth. Their diversity of styles and expertise make the executive staff more accessible and adaptable.  

There’s no doubt about it. Our deputy directors make us “future-ready”, able to broaden and deepen our contributions to the movement for democracy via efforts to expand organizing and collective bargaining for all people.”