Run for Council? Why I’m Glad I Finally Said YES!

Hi ACTRA Toronto members. I’ll get right to the point. We would love you to run for ACTRA Toronto council. All of you. Any of you. Many of you!

I know what you are thinking as you recoil. Let me explain. When I was approached to run, I said no. Then I said no again, and then I still said no, but I ran.

The truth is, I had a very good reason for saying no. Terror. What could I possibly offer? I didn’t know the inner workings of the inner sanctum. And I am acronym challenged. The only one I know is LOL.

So here’s the thing… I ran. I got in. And on my first day, the room was filled with passionate and engaged people. (Oh how I longed for the days when I said no.) But here’s what I did: I listened at the first meeting and said nothing. I listened at the second meeting, happily realizing that I did have some opinions. At the third meeting, I spoke up. I contributed. And I came to realize that the passionate, engaged people all felt like I did when they first joined council. Phew!

And if you’re still worried, new councillors get trained and mentored. It’s like having your own personal genius bar but with coffee and bagels.

Was I versed in every topic? No. In fact, in any council meeting where finances and budgets are discussed, I go to a special place in my brain where I think about shoes.

But what I discovered, much to my shock, was that I had something to say. And why wouldn’t I? After many years in ACTRA Toronto (I’m not saying how many and you can’t make me) I understood that what I bring to the table is simply my own experience in the business. Agents, auditions, casting rooms, script descriptions, breakdowns and opportunities for work are all the things that drive our careers and sometimes need tweaking, fixing and even changing. This I know about.

As a result of discussing these issues and more at council, my passion grew and so did my participation. I found I was proud to be there and regretted having not joined earlier. I was so impressed by the efforts council made on behalf of our members. Previously, I honestly had no idea of the scope of work that was being done.

I have since learned that other veteran actors and I on council can contribute not just for ourselves, but for the future generations of ACTRA Toronto members. And the younger, newer members can speak with a fresh point of view, from a different career vantage point and infuse new thoughts into our council. That’s how things get changed for the better.

We do have some younger voices right now on council that wow me at every meeting. We need more! I am also proud of the fact that council is growing in diversity and inclusion. But council needs more diversity of every kind. So please consider running or nominating someone you think would be great.

When it comes to emotional things, fighting-the-good-fight things, and contributing to ACTRA Toronto’s forward movement, I have found that I do indeed have something to contribute. No matter your age, you will too. You might even understand the budget talk. If you do, could you fill me in?

Deb McGrath is an actor, writer and creator with an extensive career in television, film and voice. Recent credits include Private Eyes and Carter. Deb has a best actress award from the Toronto Short Film Festival and a Star on the Scarborough Walk of Fame of which she is particularly proud.