Westerfield most recently served as Equity's National Director, Policy, and for the last six months was the interim Western Regional Director (WRD). She will be based in the Los Angeles office. The announcement was made Sept. 30.
In the position, Westerfield will oversee all operations, collective bargaining and contracts in the western third of the United States.
"We are delighted to have Mary Lou Westerfield as our Western Regional Director. She has shown steady and empathetic leadership in her role as interim WRD," said John P. Connolly, Equity's Executive Director, in a statement. "Throughout her tenure with Equity she has demonstrated skill, dedication and an understanding of the issues that actors and this Union face."
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 throughout the Western Region, particularly in the nine western liaison cities. Westerfield will also initiate the Union's greater involvement in public policy advocacy that directly affect Equity members theaters throughout the region.
"I am very pleased to be the new Western Regional Director," said Westerfield. "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." An Equity member since 1973, Westerfield 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 and review waivers. 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.
In addition to her work, Westerfield managed the 25-person Volunteer Income Tax Preparation Office for Performing Artists and lobbied for Tax Reform in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Equity on the staff side, Westerfield 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 years. She is a founding member of Career Transition for Dancers, and is a member of its Board and Executive Committee. As 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. She is also the Executive Secretary of the Four A's.
Originally from Chicago, she began her career as a dancer, appearing in theatrical productions. She also appeared in films, commercials and daytime dramas. She is a graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis. In addition to Equity, she is a member of SAG and AFTRA. Westerfield is married to Ernie Green, a former advertising executive and an active member of Equity, SAG and AFTRA.