Lyon Out, Sunlove In As Free Speech Executive Director

Scott Tucker, President of the Free Speech Coalition, announced today that the organization's Executive Director, William Lyon, has left his position for reasons to be clarified later, and that FSC's Legislative Affairs Director Kat Sunlove has been tapped to fill the job on an interim basis.

"Kat has been our legislative affairs director for several years now, and has done an excellent job for us in Sacramento," said Tucker. "She's indicated a willingness to help us out in this difficult time, and we're happy to have her on board, because she's run a successful business , she knows the industry, she knows the industry's needs, she knows lobbying, and she certainly is articulate and well-spoken to handle the media and the marketing duties required by the organization."

Lyon served for almost three years as the Executive Director, and was generally well-respected by the adult entertainment community. In addition, he represented the industry's concerns before several legislative committees both in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and even took part in meetings with Justice Department officials. 

In selecting Sunlove to fill replace Lyon, Tucker, with advice from several Coalition board members, consulted with some of FSC's major contributors to make sure Sunlove would be acceptable to them — and found that most were already on frequent speaking terms with Sunlove and had great respect for her abilities.

"I was informed by Scott Tucker that there were changes being made in the leadership," Sunlove explained, "and that the organization certainly needed some assistance in some form, and he wanted to make sure that I was on board to help in whatever way was necessary. That was Friday, and as the weekend went on, I gave this a lot of thought, because I'm making a huge sacrifice here, but Layne [Winklebleck] and I really thought about it a lot, and felt that the organization has such a history and I have such a long history with it that the importance of a really smooth transition really called for me to step up to the plate and try to do what I could to help."

Sunlove, who lives in central California, agreed to move temporarily to the Los Angeles area in order to handle the day-to-day duties required of the executive directorship.

"We talked in terms of six months to a year, and we're just going to play it by ear to see how quickly I can pull things back together and strengthen our membership ranks particularly," Sunlove said. "Because I have long-term relationships with so many of the key players and potential big and historically big financial supporters of Free Speech, I want to go back out to those people in person, face-to-face, sit down with them, help them understand how important Free Speech Coalition is as their trade association; what important work we continue to do, and how we need them to join in to strengthen us at this juncture. I think it's a real opportunity here."

"I do not intend to be simply a caretaker here," she continued. "I have told Scott, and will have a meeting this afternoon with other members of the board, that it's very important to me that I have real authority to move forward on this because I obviously understand how to work with a board of directors. I've done it many times in my life, most notably with Big Brothers/Big Sisters years ago when I was the Executive Director there. And the thing that I want from the board is support for programs that I will bring to them, that I will offer the  and that I will then direct. In my old job in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, I used to give talks at United Way, and I had been in the public relations director job of that agency before I took on the E.D.; the exact same thing happened to me in those days. They fired their director in that case, put me in as interim director, had a national search and ended up hiring me as the final one."

We asked if she foresaw any difficulties moving into the Executive Director position.

"Working with the board of directors, my sense of it is, you have to court them," Sunlove told "You have to find out what their skills are and use those skills. It's kind of like recruiting for a football team; get the best people you can find and then let them do what they do well, and that's the sort of the attitude. I'm a real team-builder. I am a consensus builder, and I like to bring people in in a participatory manner. I will ultimately make decisions, but I want input from the industry, and I think that we can do a better job of courting our industry and enlarging our membership. I'll really focus on membership; I think we've got a lot of folks out there that kind of ride on our coattails, but it takes money and staff to do the kind of work that we do. So I'm hoping that people will see that, once I get out there and show them what we're doing."

Sunlove will take on her duties immediately, and will be reachable through the Free Speech offices at 818.348.9373.