Ilyanne Morden Kichaven, executive director of SAG-AFTRA’s Los Angeles local, is retiring after more than 20 years of service to the union. Kichaven, whose last day on the job will be March 19, got a heartfelt sendoff at the local’s membership meeting on Saturday. She’ll be succeeded on an interim basis by Serena Kung, the L.A. local’s associate executive director.
“For more than 20 years, Ilyanne has contributed to the well-being of SAG-AFTRA members, working in a variety of positions including as the executive director of the Los Angeles Local,” said David White, the union’s national executive director. “She has accomplished a great deal during that time and has used her talents to serve the membership while deepening our relationships with allies and partners throughout the industry. We wish her well on her continued journey. She will be missed.”
Kichaven served under eight national executive directors, starting with Ken Orsatti in 2000. “Ken took me under his wing and mentored me,” she said. With a background in public relations, she came to the Screen Actors Guild as a consultant for a diversity event in what was supposed to be a two-week job, but it turned into a career. A few days after she started, SAG launched what would become a six-month strike against the commercial industry. “They went on strike and they asked me to stay,” she said. “The head of communications left, and before I knew it, I was the national spokesperson for SAG just three or four weeks after being there.”
“After a year, they put me on staff as the national director of communications,” she told Deadline. “I did that for five years.” During that time, she played a pivotal role in formulating SAG’s media strategies and was responsible for managing the internal and external communications for SAG’s 20 national branches, overseeing the guild’s website, and serving as consulting editor for Screen Actor, the guild’s quarterly magazine.
SAG’s Hollywood branch, which accounted for half of the union’s entire membership, had been without a Hollywood executive director during those five years, and when the board assembled a search committee to fill the post, she was its choice. “I didn’t know that that was going to change my life for the better for the next 15 years,” she said. “It gave me great purpose, and felt so comfortable because I came from a home that believed in social justice and workers’ rights, and I already had a long career in marketing and strategic partnerships. It was my universe coming together to give me the perfect position where I could put together my two worlds.”
After the merger of SAG and AFTRA in 2012, she transitioned to Los Angeles Local executive director, responsible for supporting local contractual, organizing, governance and member matters, as well as committee programs and union activities and inter-labor, industry, public and government relations and outreach.
Active in both entertainment and labor, Kichaven sat on the boards of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She was also an advisor to the SAG Foundation, and served on the governing body of the Motion Picture & Television Fund; on the Southern California board of the International Women’s Forum, and on The Actors Fund’s Western Council and its Looking Ahead young performers program.
She also served on the board and as chair of FilmLA, the city and county film office, and was the union’s primary delegate to the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the California Federation of Labor, the Los Angeles Citywide Film Taskforce, and the Los Angeles Public Affairs & Arts Coalition. She was also the liaison to many of the union’s many partners; is a member of the Television Academy, an executive member of Women In Film, and supported numerous industry and charitable organizations.
“I am proud of everything accomplished during my time at the union,” Kichaven said.
“Ilyanne has been a great leader and friend of our local, and has gone beyond her call of duty to connect us with the greater entertainment and political community,” said Frances Fisher, first vice president of the SAG-AFTRA’s Los Angeles local.
Before joining the union, Kichaven headed IMK, Inc., a public relations and marketing firm whose clients included First Look Pictures, Columbia TriStar, Cowboy Booking, Merchant Ivory Films, Strand Releasing, and the non-profit organizations Children Now and Colors United dance troupe. She has also served in executive marketing and public relations roles at Overseas Filmgroup, 21st Century Films, Hemdale Films, and Stephen J. Cannell Productions.