SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard officially opened the second biennial SAG-AFTRA National Convention this morning, encouraging delegates to learn about the challenges confronting fellow members in every category and in other locals – and to talk, think, and collaborate on ideas and propose solutions.

Educate, engage and empower isn’t simply the theme for this convention – it’s the mantra for our future,” said President Howard. “Everything we have achieved throughout our history as SAG-AFTRA – or as SAG or AFTRA before it – has been because of collective action. That is our culture. Progress is made through collective action, collaboration and hard work.”

The president’s speech was followed by a keynote conversation featuring producer and bestselling author Lynda Obst, facilitated by Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Fritz. Obst reflected on dramatic changes in the entertainment industry she has seen over the course of her career, especially related to opportunities for women and minorities. Obst advised the audience to know their worth and not to compromise on receiving fair compensation.

During the convention session, delegates nominated and elected the union’s eight national vice presidents, including the executive vice president.

Gabrielle Carteris was re-elected as Executive Vice President.

The following are the results of the election of vice presidents. Candidates who ran unopposed are indicated by an asterisk. Each position is for two years.

  • Clyde Kusatsu, National Vice President, Los Angeles
  • Mike Hodge, National Vice President, New York*
  • Ilyssa Fradin, National Vice President, Mid-Sized Locals
  • David Hartley-Margolin, National Vice President, Small Locals*
  • Samantha Mathis, National Vice President, Actors/Performers
  • Catherine Brown, National Vice President, Broadcasters*
  • Dan Navarro, National Vice President, Recording Artists* 

The first day included the opening of the convention expo, featuring partner organizations providing important and useful information to delegates and members.

This evening, delegates will attend the Gala Under the Stars convention celebration on the Warner Bros. Studio lot, which includes the presentation of the American Scene Awards and George Heller Memorial Gold Card honors.

Tomorrow, the convention continues with a report from National Executive Director David White, business sessions, as well afternoon panels and workshops.

The SAG-AFTRA National Convention runs Oct. 1-4 at the Sheraton Universal in Universal City. For more information about the SAG-AFTRA inaugural convention, please visit


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