Guild’s Installation Dinner Salutes Diane Adler, Jeff Burman, and New Board Members

by A.J. Catoline

This month’s Installation Dinner for the Editors Guild was a bittersweet affair, with members not only greeting new Board members but also saying goodbye to two longtime Board denizens, outgoing Secretary Diane Adler, ACE, and veteran Guild presence Jeff Burman.

A tribute video at the January 11 event, held at the union-staffed Loews Hotel in Santa Monica, included testimonials from members and staffers who praised Adler’s years of union activism and leadership. She has been a member of the Editors Guild since 1961 and was first elected Secretary in 1992.

In one of the video interviews, National Executive Director Cathy Repola said she felt “sadness that Diane won’t be on the Board anymore.

Alan Heim, left, with Jeff Burman at the 2020 MPEG Installation Dinner. Photo by Martin Cohen.
“You were there from day one when I started with the Guild,” said Repola, addressing Adler directly. “You always went above and beyond the call of duty. You came to picket lines and attended rallies and IA conventions. Anytime we needed you, you were always there. And you did so with the utmost grace and elegance.”

Former National Executive Director Ron Kutak said, “Diane demonstrated how a woman can be both a professional in the craft and be a true union supporter. ”

When lights came up, Adler received resounding a standing ovation for several minutes as she came to the podium to accept her commemorative plaque.Repola addressed the solidarity in the room as the Guild gathered as a union family.

“Diane was sitting next to me, so I watched her watch the video,” said Repola. “The immense surprise, humbleness and joy was so apparent in her face and her eyes. She moved me and many of us to tears.”

Board members at the 2020 MPEG Installation Dinner in Santa Monica. Photo by Martin Cohen.
Burman also received a standing ovation, honoring his 27 years of service on the Board. He has been a longtime presence on Guild issues and is currently co-Chair of the Publications Committee.

“Being a union member and an activist, my desire has been to make our members’ work experience better and better,” Burman told the crowd. “I know that many members are quick to say our benefits and working conditions aren’t good enough. I am absolutely convinced that we are far better off with a union than without one.”

Earlier in the day, the Guild held the inaugural Board of Directors meeting of the new decade  at the Los Angeles office, with Board members from New York attending via video conference.

Sharon Smith Holley was installed as the new Secretary of the Guild, replacing Adler. Also installed were new Board members Picture Editor Erik C. Andersen, Assistant Editor Craig Eustis, Sound Editor John Morris, and Andrew Timm representing the Eastern Region.

Board members surround the Guild’s Cathy Repola at the 2020 Installation Dinner in Santa Monica. Photo by Martin Cohen.

The Board discussed new plans to engage members on union activism for the new year. The Membership Outreach Committee and Diversity Committee have planned an extensive slate of education panels, screenings and Town Hall Meetings. The goal is to bring Local 700 members together to be aware of the issues on the job, and how to be ever vigilant about protecting union contracts and benefits.

As is tradition, members toasted departing Board members and honored their service with a plaque of commemoration. In addition to Burman, exiting Board members are Dave Barnaby, Chad Birmingham, and Alexa Zimmerman.



About A.J. Catoline 35 Articles
A.J. Catoline, ACE is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and USC's Master of Professional Writing Program, and a Board Member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE, Chair of the MPEG Publications Committee. He is a picture editor working in Los Angeles, recently on "Ted Lasso" for Apple TV+. He can be reached at