Los Angeles (April 9, 2016) – SAG-AFTRA today announced that Gabrielle Carteris was elected president by acclamation in a historic national board vote.
The late Ken Howard, who passed away March 23, was the first elected president of the merged SAG-AFTRA, and the first president of either SAG or AFTRA to die in office. Under the union’s constitution, Executive Vice President Carteris assumed his duties until the regularly scheduled national board meeting April 9, during which she was elected to serve the balance of Howard’s unexpired term. Howard was reelected to a two-year term Aug. 20, 2015.
“I am deeply honored to be chosen by the SAG-AFTRA National Board to serve the union and its members as president,” said Carteris. “Ken was a great union leader, friend and mentor. He left big shoes to fill, but with the support of the national board of directors and the membership, I am committed to improving the lives of all SAG-AFTRA members.”
The national board also elected Rebecca Damon to serve as Executive Vice President in a historic decision that means for the first time the top three SAG-AFTRA officers are women.
“It’s an honor to serve our members and I’m grateful for Gabrielle’s trust and the support of my colleagues,” said Damon. “As executive vice president, I will continue working to expand SAG-AFTRA’s reach and to increase opportunities for members across the country. Following the peerless example of our beloved late president, Ken Howard, we will focus on member outreach to maximize the solidarity and bargaining strength of our remarkable union.”
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White said, “I congratulate Gabrielle Carteris on her election as president of SAG-AFTRA. Gabrielle and I have worked closely together for many years, including most recently on the successful commercials contracts negotiations. I know she understands the needs and aspirations of our members and I am excited to work with her to continue advancing the goals of this union. I also congratulate Rebecca Damon on her election as Executive Vice President. She is a deeply experienced and effective leader who will work with President Carteris and the national board to engage and empower members throughout the country.”
Carteris was elected to her first term as executive vice president at the inaugural SAG-AFTRA Convention in 2013 and reelected at the Convention in 2015. A working actor, Carteris recently recurred on the primetime series Code Black and previously hosted her own talk show, Gabrielle. She became a household name playing Andrea Zuckerman on the Aaron Spelling program Beverly Hills, 90210, which ended up being one of the longest-running one-hour series in television history and has been viewed in more than 100 countries.
Carteris previously served Screen Actors Guild from 2008 to 2009 as an alternate national board member and in 2010 she began a three-year term as a national board member. Her previous American Federation of Television and Radio Artists service includes two consecutive terms on the AFTRA Los Angeles Local Board and the AFTRA National Board, three terms as AFTRA convention delegate/actor category and, in 2011, she was elected Los Angeles Local president and national 2nd vice president. She was a part of the G1 (Group for One Union) and helped with developing the plan to merge SAG and AFTRA. Prior to her first term as executive vice president at SAG-AFTRA, Carteris also served SAG-AFTRA during the transition year as national vice president, Los Angeles.
Hailing from New York, Damon is a working actor and voiceover performer and a SAG-AFTRA National Board member. She is the chair of the national Government Review Committee and MOVE NY Committee and also serves on the Executive, Finance and Government Affairs and Public Policy Committees. Currently serving on the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement and as the chair of the MORE (Member Outreach Relations & Education) Committee, she is a fierce advocate for education and empowerment for performers nationwide.
Damon is a SAG-AFTRA Foundation Board Member, an educational, humanitarian and philanthropic non-profit organization, and is the primary elected liaison for Foundation programming in NY including creation of the Actors Center at 1900 Broadway and the upcoming screening room and program space at West 54th St.
A founding member of the President’s Forum for One Union and G1, the effort to unite SAG & AFTRA, she co-led the Operations Workgroup as a key architect of the merger while serving as the Screen Actors Guild New York Division Vice President.