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    Posted September 30, 2008

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Mary Lou Westerfield Named Western Regional Director

Mary Lou Westerfield

Mary Lou Westerfield has been named to the position of Western Regional Director (WRD), a position she has served in as interim WRD over the last six months in addition to her duties as National Director, Policy.

"We are delighted to have Mary Lou as our Western Regional Director. She has shown steady and empathetic leadership in the role as interim," said John P. Connolly, Equity's Executive Director. "Throughout her tenure with Equity she has demonstrated skill, dedication and an understanding of the issues that actors and this Union face."

Mary Lou will oversee all operations, collective bargaining and contracts in the western third of the United States. She will continue her role as a core member of the Executive Team and will lead the staff of 25 in a greater outreach effort to Equity members in the nine (9) Western Region liaison cities. Mary Lou will also initiate the Union's greater involvement in public policy advocacy that directly affect Equity members and theaters throughout the region.

"I am very pleased to be the new Western Regional Director," said Mary Lou. "It is an exciting and challenging position and I look forward to working more closely with our members, staff and theaters in the Western Region. On a personal note, my husband Ernie and I are also very excited about moving to Los Angeles and being part of this wonderful city."

An Equity member since 1973, Mary Lou joined the staff in 1990 as a Business Rep in the Los Angeles office. In that position she negotiated contracts between the Union and theatrical producers, monitored contract compliance and worked with various committees to develop specialized contracts. In 1991 she became the Associate Director of The Actors' Work Program where she was responsible for outreach to the entertainment community for funding, and program promotion as well as acted as a peer advisor and intake officer. In 1995 she returned to Equity as the National Director, Policy in which she facilitated all aspects of the Council, including the meetings and work of the 84 member elected governing board. She assured that internal policies and procedures as outlined in the Union's Constitution and By-laws and Council resolutions were followed. She is currently the International Secretary of the Four A's.

In addition to her work, Mary Lou managed the 25-person Volunteer Income Tax Preparation Office for Performing Artists and lobbied for Tax Reform in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Equity on the staff side, Mary Lou served as the Second Vice President of both Equity, and its sister performing arts union, Screen Actors Guild. In addition, she served on the Equity Council for 18 years and the SAG Board for ten (10) years. She is a founding member of Career Transition for Dancers, and is a member of its Board and Executive Committee. As the Equity liaison and Second Vice President to Theater Authority, she oversees the requests from members of the Union who wish to perform at benefits and other fundraising events. Mary Lou is also the Executive Secretary to the Four A's.

Originally from Chicago, Mary Lou's parents were professional singers. At the age of 5, she began ballet classes and later received a scholarship to study at Stone Camryn, a prestigious dance studio at the time. She attended Butler University in Indianapolis on an academic scholarship majoring in dance. Ten days after graduation, she moved to New York to pursue a career in musical theater. She got her Equity card with a tour of FOLLIES. Among her many stage credits, Mary Lou appeared in BALLROOM, MOST HAPPY FELLA and ZORBA. While she was doing temp work at an office in the Empire State Building, Mary Lou met her husband, Ernie Green, an advertising executive. It was thanks to Mary Lou's love of theater and acting, Ernie became an actor himself and the duo have worked together in daytime dramas and films.

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