ALWAYS ASKING FOR MORE
When I was still a student at the University of Minnesota, the late, great Thomas Proehl—then the managing director of the Guthrie Theater—sat down with my 4th-year BFA class and he gave me the most important lesson in negotiation that I've ever received:
ALWAYS ASK FOR MORE.
Tom made us promise that we would always ask for more, because as he said: "You're never going to get more unless you ask for it, and the worst thing they can do is say no, and even if they say no they will respect you more because you demonstrated that you know what you're worth." It's a promise I made, and a promise I've kept, both as an actor, and as a member of the National Council.
As a Vice Chair of Equity's Eastern Developing Theater Committee, I'm constantly pushing for increases in salary and contracts on LOAs, even when that means sending our staff back to the negotiating table.
As a member of the Production, LORT and Off-Broadway Committees, I've been unwilling to accept needless concession requests, believing that the content of our agreements needs to be rigorously upheld, since we fought hard for it at the negotiating table.
As a member of the 2017 LORT Proposal Selection team, I advocated for major improvements in salary and ratios on the agreement, and fought like hell in the Council room to maintain them in advance of negotiations.
In advance of the 2019 Production Contract Negotiations, I urged the Council to focus aggressively on asking for more in wage increases, knowing that salaries earned on Broadway and tours significantly contribute to the working dues that benefit every single one of our members nationwide.
And I have never been willing to approve the terms of an agreement simply because they're "good enough." If I truly believe we could have done better, or that we should have asked for more, I'm willing to vote no. I see that as my duty as a Councilor.
For as long as I have been and will be on the Council, I have and I will always ask for more for the stage managers and actors of Equity. You should expect nothing less.