Rebecca Damon has been named executive director of SAG-AFTRA’s New York local – a paying staff job that will require her to give up her membership in the union. Damon, an actor and voice-over performer, had previously served as the union’s executive vice president and president of the New York local – both of which are non-paying positions.
Damon replaces Jeffrey Bennett, who had been the New York local’s executive director and deputy general counsel. He moved up to general counsel when Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who had been the general counsel, succeeded David White as national executive director.
Two other local executive directors have also been appointed: Serena Kung in Los Angeles, and Jessica Maher in New England. They had previously served as interim local executive directors. Kung succeeds Ilyanne Morden Kichaven, who retired earlier this year after 20 years of service.
“I am thrilled to appoint Serena, Rebecca and Jessica to these new roles,” Crabtree-Ireland said. “Each of them has the unqualified support of their local member leadership, and has proven to be an invaluable advocate for the membership. I know that they will continue their record of distinguished service, and that they will make essential contributions to furthering the interests and cause of all SAG-AFTRA members.”
“The New York local is extraordinarily fortunate to have Rebecca Damon as our local executive director,” said the local’s president, Ezra Knight. “She has dedicated her life to serving SAG-AFTRA members and brings an unparalleled breadth of knowledge from her years of volunteer service as executive vice president, New York local president, and as one of the key architects of merger. Her deep relationships with lawmakers and labor leaders across the country are a boon to our members. I am joined by the entire New York local board in giving a resounding unanimous vote of confidence to Rebecca. We are eager to have the benefit of her staff leadership for years to come.”
“I am thrilled that the Los Angeles local board voted unanimously to approve Serena Kung’s appointment to executive director of the Los Angeles Local,” said L.A. local president Jodi Long. “Serena worked as associate executive director for the last five years and as interim executive director for eight months and understands not only the inner workings of our union, but what our members need. She has been invaluable in helping me assume the mantle of your Los Angeles local president.”
“We are thrilled with Jessica Maher’s promotion to New England local executive director,” said the local’s president, Andrea Lyman. “Jessica has gone above and beyond for our members at every turn. She helped us through the Covid shutdowns, steering members through much-needed resources, advocated for film tax incentives, and welcomed and guided new members into our union. She’s amazing and a role model to us all. We are lucky and grateful to have her as our executive director.”