Lisa Takeuchi Cullen To Be Next President Of WGA East As Michael Winship Departs

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen will be the next president of the WGA East, succeeding Michael Winship, who is not seeking re-election.

Cullen, who is running unopposed in the guild’s upcoming elections, will be its third female president and the first person of color to hold the post, starting next month. She currently serves as VP of the guild’s Film/TV/Streaming sector.

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Winship said in a statement today that his decision not to run again “was made right from the start two years ago when I was asked to return to the presidency. Despite having already served five terms as president, from 2007-2017, I agreed to run again in 2021 to help work out issues the guild was facing in terms of constitutional revisions and other membership concerns, but I did say then that it only would be for two years.”

Takeuchi Cullen’s bio on the guild’s website notes that prior to the ongoing writers strike, she was developing several drama series as part of an overall deal with Universal TV. She’s developed drama pilots for Apple, Netflix, ABC, NBC, CBS, A&E and Warner Bros., and her pilot The Ordained was produced by CBS. A graduate of the WGAW Showrunner Training Program, she has served as co-executive producer on NBC’s The Endgame and was a writer and consulting producer on Law & Order: SVU.

An Asian-American, her guild bio notes that she “works to represent marginalized writers as co-chair of the Committee for Inclusion and Equity and founder of the Salon network of affinity groups. She also started and runs Diverse Writers of the East, databases of underrepresented WGA East and pre-WGA writers.”

In 2020, she received the Richard B. Jablow Award for her service to the guild. She previously worked as a foreign correspondent and staff writer for Time magazine and has published two books.

Taking to Twitter this morning, she wrote in part:

“I will lead @WGAEast in our epic battle for fair pay. As vp, I stand with our brilliant Negotiating Committee and officers from @WGAWest and East as we face down the AMPTP. I march alongside our heroic captains and members. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP. WE WILL NOT GIVE IN.

Two other candidates are also running unopposed. Chris Kyle will be reelected secretary-treasurer, and Erica Saleh, a member of the guild’s Council, will be the next VP of Film/TV/Streaming – the post now held by Cullen.

Winship added in his statement “That the last weeks of this current term would come in the midst of our strike is unfortunate, but I am not disappearing – for one thing, I remain in office until late September – and will continue to be involved to the best of my ability even after my term ends. What’s more, we have an extraordinary team of elected leadership plus dedicated staff and members in place who have been working for all of us 24/7, doing their best to make this strike a resounding success that will protect writers, their work and careers for years to come. Having also led this guild through our last strike, in 2007-08, I know how difficult all of this is but am fully confident that we will win again.

“This is not a choice that was made lightly, but I have been a member of this union for more than four decades and active in our work for nearly all of them. Now the time has come for me to pass responsibility to the new generation of Guild members and the elected council.”

The upcoming election will see 12 candidates vying for six Council seats representing the Film/TV/Streaming sector. They are: David Angelo, Ian Olympio, Sara Montana, Sofia Alvarez, Zhubin Parang, Hallie Haglund, Nick Bernardone and incumbents Sasha Stewart, Liz Hynes, Benjamin Rosenblum, Greg Iwinski and Josh Gondelman.

There are also five candidates running for three Council seats representing the Online Media sector, including Sie Morley, Samantha Smylie, Levi Winslow, David Lumb and incumbent Caitlin Cruz.

Voting begins September 6 and ends on September 21.

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