Katie Elmore Mota
Co-President and Executive Producer
Recently named one of The National Diversity Council’s Top 50 Women in Entertainment 2016, Katie Elmore Mota is founder, co-president and executive producer of Wise Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based production company focused on edgy and entertaining content that is socially relevant. With her husband Maurício, she serves as executive producer of “East Los High,” a drama series which has earned three Emmy nominations for its realistic portrayal of inner-city Latino high school students since its debut on Hulu in 2013. Now in its fourth season, the show consistently draws strong ratings on Hulu and is the #1 series ever on Hulu Latino.
Prior to Wise Entertainment, Katie produced the 70-episode telenovela Último Año with MTV Latin America that aired in the U.S. and in 18 Latin American countries. She previously served as vice president of communications and programs at Population Media Center where she worked closely with the UN, governments, other non-profits, and media partners to oversee the development and production of numerous programs using media for social change around the world in countries including Mexico, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Egypt, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam.
Katie received a Masters in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research in New York and degrees in History and Sociology from the University of Vermont, as well as a strong focus in photography. While an undergraduate she launched a concert production business, producing nearly two dozen national touring acts each year and several benefit concerts. She later counseled Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign on how to reach young voters using music and entertainment, before interning with the music department of “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Co-President and Executive Producer
Recently awarded with an Innovation and Inclusion Award by the Digital Diversity Network, Mauricio is founder and co-president of Wise Entertainment, with his wife Katie, he serves as executive producer of East Los High, an award-winning drama series that has earned five Emmy nominations since its debut on Hulu in 2013 for its realistic portrayal of Latino high school students. Now in its fourth season, the show is the streaming platform’s longest running original.
Mota began his career as an entrepreneur at the age of 15 when he developed a storytelling board game with writer Sonia Rodrigues, which he sold door-to-door all over Brazil and where it is now present in over 5,000 schools. It later became a YA book collection and has been used by many Forbes 500 companies and the United Nations to foster creativity and innovation among their leaders. The patent of the game was used as the foundation for a literacy social network employed by 700,000 kids in public schools in Rio.
Later, Mota became a serial entrepreneur pioneering in mult-iplatform content by designing and creating products and IPs for TV channels, movie studios and advertisers globally.
Mauricio was the first Latin American to speak at the Futures of Entertainment conference at MIT. He has been a judge on many international juries, such as Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Festival of Media, The Emmys and the One Show.
Mota represents the 4th generation of one of the most important Latin American storytelling legacies, and has helped his mother re-shape the estate created by his grandfather, Nelson Rodrigues, who is considered the Brazilian Shakespeare. Most recently, he designed the School of Series, a TV series/IP development lab that will shape the next generation of showrunners and content creators in Brazil , and trains 800 writers and producers a year.
He sits on the boards of Scriptd (an online marketplace for screenwriters), Young Storytellers (a non-profit focused on mentoring low-income students through storytelling) and Center for Third Space at the Annenberg School (an Institute focused on shaping the next generation of business leaders). Mauricio also has spoken for national and international audiences including The White House Fellowship, the State Department and the World Bank.
Executive Producer, Programming & New Media
Kathleen is a writer, television producer and programming executive with a pioneering career in the Latino entertainment market. She has worked at television networks such as HBO, FOX, Telemundo and MTV Tr3s. Bedoya was a founding member of Galan Entertainment, a leading Latino production company, where she developed TV and film properties and oversaw marketing and on-air branding for cable networks in the U.S. and Latin America. While at Telemundo, she served as Vice President of Alternative Programming and was Co-Executive Producer of the network's landmark original sitcom, Los Beltrán. At MTV Tr3s, Bedoya served as Executive in Charge of Production, overseeing original programming for the Latino network when it was newly launched.
At Wise Entertainment, Bedoya is Co-Creator, Co-Executive Producer, and Transmedia Producer on East Los High, an original and critically acclaimed hit drama series about Latino teens living in East LA, which is entering its third season on Hulu. She served as Story Producer on MTV Latin America's original telenovela, Último Año, where she also supervised the development and maintenance of Sexysex, an innovative educational website for the show.
A graduate of Vassar College, Bedoya is Colombian-American and resides in the New York tri-state area.
Vice President of Production & Finance
Troy Combs is an Emmy-nominated television producer with over 15 years of experience in various genres of entertainment, including scripted, non-scripted and new media. He was named Vice President of Production & Finance for Wise Entertainment in July, 2014. He currently oversees day-to-day production and financial activities for Wise Entertainment.
Prior to joining Wise, Combs served as a production executive for NBC-Universal's cable division (SYFY), overseeing both network unscripted development and current unscripted projects. Adding to his experience, he worked in production management for a variety of award-winning and hit docu-series, makeover and competition reality shows for various networks including: NBC, FOX, TNT, TLC, Style and OWN.
He began his career as a temp production assistant in the DreamWorks Television production department and eventually transitioned into the executive development assistant role to the Co-Head of DreamWorks Television. Combs was part of the elite development team for numerous critically acclaimed primetime network series, including the Emmy Award winning series, Spin City (ABC), Band of Brothers (TNT) and Taken: by Steven Spielberg (SCI FI). Combs studied Television & Film Production at UCLA and currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
Kathy Le Backes
VICE PRESIDENT, reSEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Kathy has been working with TV and film writers on social issues since 2006 and has worked closely with writers and producers from shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Breaking Bad, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Desperate Housewives, CSI, and ER that span all broadcast and cable networks including HBO, AMC, Disney, Showtime and A&E. She is passionate about promoting social change through entertainment and new media.
Prior to joining Wise Entertainment, Kathy served as the Digital Campaign Manager for the Entertainment Industry Foundation's Stand Up To Cancer program. In that role, she oversaw, produced and executed multi-platform digital and social media campaigns to help raise cancer awareness and to help raise millions of dollars for collaborative cancer research. In addition to producing campaigns and behind-the-scenes videos for the 2012 Stand Up To Cancer national telecast, she also ran digital philanthropy campaigns for brands such as Lucasfilm, Major League Baseball, Safeway and MasterCard.
Before her role at the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Kathy served as a Program Manager at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center's Hollywood, Health & Society program, where she bridged partnerships between the entertainment industry and non-profit organizations, foundations and federal health agencies to facilitate TV storylines that educate viewers on social issues and encourage them to make positive behavioral change. At the Norman Lear Center, she also produced events at the Writers Guild of America, West, spearheaded a workshop on storytelling for the CDC, and participated in numerous evaluations measuring the impact of television storylines.
Kathy has also published articles in peer-reviewed journals, presented at national conferences and is a frequent guest lecturer at USC and UCLA on entertainment education and health communications. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Prior to obtaining her master's degree, Kathy conducted infectious disease and cancer research at Novartis, Inc. (formerly Chiron Corporation). Kathy also holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis.
MANAGER OF PRODUCTION
Lauren got her start in the entertainment industry working as a production assistant for Fox's Emmy-nominated reality series Hell's Kitchen. She was with the show for 9 seasons working her way up to become a production manager for seasons 15 & 16. As a freelancer in the industry, Lauren has acquired a broad range of experience working for multiple companies on a variety of non-scripted genres including competition, home reinvention, documentary, and lifestyle for networks like NBC, Fox, Lifetime & VH1 as well as new media distribution platforms.
In 2013, Lauren began working in scripted television on season 2 of East Los High as a production supervisor continuing on as a producer for the show's third and fourth seasons. She became part of the Wise Entertainment team in 2015. As the manager of production, she follows a project through all stages of production providing direct support to the company's VP of Production & Finance helping to oversee and manage logistics, operations, and finances on a daily basis.
Lauren attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA where she graduated with a BA in Television Production and minored in Accounting.
MANAGER OF Research & DEVELOPMENT
For over a decade, Hector has worked in entertainment on the production and digital marketing sides of projects with social impact objectives. As a member of the Wise team, he was involved in the development of Season 4 of East Los High and the production of the transmedia that accompanies the series, as well as maintaining the show's very active presence on social media.
Hector has contributed to the digital strategies of multiple Entertainment Industry Foundation initiatives, including the 2010, 2012 and 2014 Stand Up To Cancer shows. He has developed and produced several award-winning shorts and web series. His Spanish-language short, "Remember Me In Red," which he wrote and directed, screened at over 40 festivals and received numerous accolades, including a nomination for The Iris Prize and the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.
During a four-year hiatus from the entertainment industry, he managed HIV prevention programs for queer Latino immigrants in San Francisco. He holds a B.A. in Film Studies from Columbia University and an M.F.A. in Film Production from USC.
Manager of RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Born in California and raised in Atlanta, Sonja has always been drawn to all forms of entertainment. She graduated with honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in drama, and went on to perform in numerous critically acclaimed theater productions throughout New York City. After working as an actress, teaching artist, and workshop facilitator for almost ten years, Sonja felt a call to do more to improve the health and well being of families in her community. She began working as a bilingual youth and family health educator in South Los Angeles, where she used the power of storytelling to engage community members in health education programming.
Sonja received a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Sciences from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health in 2015, and recently worked with the Fielding School’s Diversity Committee, where she conducted research and helped plan numerous school-wide diversity initiatives. She now works in development and research for Wise Entertainment, where she is thrilled to combine what she loves most: storytelling and research. She continues to work as a workshop facilitator, and is currently collaborating on a multi-city project that will creatively engage diverse communities disproportionality affected by gentrification.