When Local 600 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Coordinator Carina Tăutu describes her new position to inquirers, the reactions she gets are…well…diverse.
“Half of the people say, ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’ The rest are like, ‘Ugh! Good luck,’” Says Tăutu, laughing. “The work is cutting edge and I’ve always been on the edge. It’s kind of been my life’s work, my life’s struggle. So, this job is literally what my life is about.”
In a discipline-spanning career that has taken her around the world, Tăutu – who started her work with Local 600 in October of 2022 – has worked extensively as both a filmmaker and a professional mediator. Born in Bucharest, Romania, she holds degrees in neuroscience, film and dispute resolution. Her journey to ICG has been, she admits, an eclectic one.
“I relocated to the west coast, and I was thinking, ‘What can I do with my life both to make a living and also share my skills in a progressive way in the industry I love?’” says Tăutu. “I had taught inner city kids for 10 years and I didn’t really realize that I had been doing dispute resolution. I chose mediation as my focus when I was in law school, and I really wanted to be in the industry. When this job popped on my radar, it was perfect.”
It was also a little bit ironic. When she first started studying film, she was advised to stay away from the camera department which has not always been welcoming to women both in her native country and in America. Undaunted, she has directed and produced multiple documentaries and fiction short films, also serving as the projects’ cinematographer. On the mediation side, she has been the host and producer of the Mediator’s Talk webcast for the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
Since coming to ICG, Tăutu has experienced what she calls “a lot of intake” to help her learn how the guild functions. She worked on the relaunched Local 600 Mentorship Program and has lots of ideas for the future about initiatives involving inclusivity. She contributed to an upcoming training for negotiations skills as well as an upcoming program that will highlight the creative work of our members putting them in dialogue with each other.
“For me, one of the great things about being part of a union is that we are all equal,” says Tăutu. “This is an interesting moment in time. The world is changing and there are lots of issues that we’re facing.”
Tăutu is especially grateful for the support and guidance of the Local 600 Inclusion Committee, particularly Assistant Western Region Director Xiomara Comrie who has worked extensively in areas of diversity. “She’s been doing this for 14 years and she’s incredible,” Tăutu says of Comrie. “I’m not breaking new ground. I’m just bringing my knowledge and experience to expand on what has already been done.”
“From my perspective, in mediation you have to be very kind and listen very deeply. People need to understand why it’s worth it to be in a union and also to understand that we have some rules,” she continues. “I would say I learned from mediation that kindness and deep listening are true superpowers. And to understand diversity, you need both. You need to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel that perspective.”
She views the process of filmmaking as a metaphor for the ways in which human beings work together and considers the most important part of the process to be the elements of teamwork, not the end result. As for her message to the ICG membership, Tăutu wants everyone to know that she is always available to listen and hopes to improve members’ lives.
“It’s about solidarity,” she says. “It’s about changing the world and I’m here to support that change.”