Janet Tobias is an Emmy award-winning director/producer with 20 years experience working in television for all three American networks, PBS, Discovery, and MSNBC. Ms. Tobias started her career at 60 Minutes as Diane Sawyer’s Associate Producer. She distinguished herself while working on a wide range of domestic and international stories: from a portrait of Japanese organized crime syndicate Yakuza, to investigations into the lack of regulation in infertility treatment and the abuse of boys in a Guatemalan orphanage.
Ms. Tobias moved with Ms. Sawyer in 1989 to ABCNews to launch Prime Time Live. At ABC she produced/directed both domestic and international ranging from investigations of alcohol abuse by pilots and sex tourism in Thailand, to a portrait of the Kuwaiti royal family after the first Gulf War. In 1992, Ms. Tobias took a hiatus from the networks to write a screenplay “THE VOLUNTEER” based on the life of a former member of the IRA who ultimately decided that the price of violence was too high. In 1993, she returned to the networks and moved into management at Dateline NBC. She also continued to produce/direct her own stories ranging: from examinations of environmental damage by the oil industry in Ecuador; to a historical look back at Soviet misinformation campaigns, to the murder of street kids in Rio De Janiero. Ms. Tobias left NBC News in 1995 to become an Executive Producer at VNI (which became New York Times Television.) There she supervised the production of a weekly foreign news program, distributed globally, as well as individual documentaries including an award-winning piece on rape as a war crime in Rwanda that appeared on Nightline. Ms. Tobias then returned to ABC News to head up editorial activities at its newly created Law and Justice Unit where she developed, directed and supervised legal and criminal justice stories for all ABC News programs: Nightline, 20/20, World News Tonight, and Good Morning America.
In 1998 Ms. Tobias begin working as an executive with PBS, where she developed and produced programming not only for PBS but also joint projects with ABC and Discovery. She continued her directing and writing career winning two American Bar Association silver gavels for a four hour Frontline/Nightline series on the California juvenile justice system. In 2001, she launched Life 360, a weekly PBS series that combined documentary pieces with dramatic and comic monologues. Life 360 won an Emmy in its first season. In 2002, Ms. Tobias joined Sawyer Media Systems, a Sequoia Capital backed creator of video technology for the web. At Sawyer, Ms. Tobias was Vice President of Production, and a member of the executive team. Clients at Sawyer Media Systems included: Cisco, Genentech, Purina, Nextel, and Autodesk. At the same time, Ms. Tobias continued to be involved in documentary production through Sierra/Tango Productions, which developed and produced documentaries on a variety of social issues ranging from problems faced by returning Iraq war veterans to conflicts surrounding illegal immigration and border security.
In 2004, Tobias branched further into new media working as a founding partner of Ikana Health + Media. Ikana is a healthcare company that focuses on using technology, social media/networks, and storytelling to measurably improve people’s health. In addition to her National Emmy and Bar Association awards, other awards include: 2 Cine Golden Eagles, 2 Casey medals for meritorious journalism, a National Headliner Award, a Sigma Delta Chi Award, and honorable mention Robert F. Kennedy Journalism and Overseas Press Awards. Janet Tobias is a graduate of Yale University and a member of the Writers Guild of America. She serves on the board of Healthbuilders/Rwanda Works, National Juvenile Defenders, and on the advisory board of the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership. Previously, she served on the board of Healthright International. In 2009, she served as a senior fellow at the Center for Sustainability and Social Innovation of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, and is currently an adjunct assistant professor of medicine in the department of health evidence and policy at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and research professor of global public health in the NYU College of Global Public Health, where she also serves as a mentor in the Public Health Entrepreneurial Ventures university course.
ASSISTANT EDITOR/CAMERA ASSISTANT
Throughout his career Jeff has held a variety of roles in different capacities on narrative films, documentaries, and commercials and has time and time again proven himself a vital asset. Jeff cut his teeth as a camera assistant, where he had the privilege of working and learning from some of the most successful cinematographers in the world. Jeff took with him an extensive knowledge of a multitude of digital formats and made his transition from camera department to digital imaging technician. Since the transition Jeff has brought efficiency to workflows and effectively bridged the often times mysterious meta data gap between production and post. As a freelance editor, Jeff has worked for a variety of clients on projects ranging from music videos to branded content.
When he's not working you can find Jeff having a coffee at his favorite place in Fort Greene, doing anything that involves having a board under his feet, or going over the logistics for his next backpacking trip.
VP & Executive Producer
Shelagh Leahy is an Emmy-award winning producer and executive with more than 20 years experience producing long form journalism, managing news programs, and developing programming.
At ABC News, she produced award-winning work for PrimeTime Live and Turning Point. In senior managerial and executive positions at CNN, MSNBC and CNBC, she developed programming, created and directed partnership strategies, recruited and managed talent, started up new programs and directed coverage of breaking and developing stories.
As an independent producer and consultant, she has worked with Time, Inc., The Economist, The New Yorker and the Tribeca Film Festival. In 2007 she relocated from NYC to Boston, where she has taught as an adjunct professor in the Journalism department at Boston University. She joined Sierra/Tango in January, 2014 and is currently working on the theatrical documentary, Unseen Enemy, which will premiere in the fall of 2015.
Shelagh divides her time between New York and Boston, where she lives with her family. In her spare time, she likes to read.
PRODUCER/UNIT MANAGER/ART DIRECTOR
Roger Lopez is a production executive at Sierra Tango Productions. He migrated from Peru in 1999 and earned his Bachelor degree in Business Administration with a concentration in public accounting. After 3 years of working in the accounting field for Adams & Salter, Rogger decided that it was time to change scenery and moved first into Production Management and then into Art and Design at Ikana. He has worked on multi-year corporate campaigns, high-impact videos, and feature films.
Zac is a director, cinematographer and editor from New York City. He first garnered an interest in dramatic storytelling as a child, while singing with the Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Chorus. During those five years, he was drawn less to the singers on stage as to the men and women behind the curtain who pulled the strings. It didn’t take long until Zac realized the almost limitless world of film was a better fit and he started making his first films on 16mm while still in high school. A graduate of New York University, he has worked as a freelance filmmaker in narrative, documentary and commercial production for the last thirteen years. Zac first collaborated with Janet Tobias on her documentary No Place On Earth in 2010 and is currently in production on two other projects with Ms. Tobias. Since 2010, Zac has also been a core member of the Ikana team, traveling far and wide to tell incredible stories about health care and the people whose lives have been changed as a result of medical innovation. While not filming, Zac can usually be found on an ice rink with a hockey stick in his hands or running in Prospect Park.
Naima started working with Sierra/Tango Productions as a Production Assistant in 2015 after graduating from McGill University with a major in International Development Studies. She has previously worked at ABC News as a Nightline Production Intern and at CNN Films as a Development & Acquisitions Intern.
Naima is Brazilian-Canadian and speaks fluent Portuguese and French in addition to English. In her free time, she enjoys watching foreign movies and combining her interest in B&W photography with her passion for traveling. She gets a thrill out of immersing herself in different cultures and has previously lived in England, Turkey, France, and Canada.