A ten-time Regional Emmy award winner with over 60 International Telly and ADDY awards, Tonya began her career as an Executive Producer when she became the Director of Acquisitions for CRM Films. Tonya co-founded and was President of The Dakota Group, a highly regarded film and post-production company in Southern California. Tonya has produced National TV Campaigns and award-winning documentaries for Fortune 500 companies. Tonya launched Mantooth Studios and expanded her production scope to Entertainment Projects. Under Mantooth Films, Tonya Executive Produced 4 feature films, including GRAVE SECRETS which became the pilot to a Nickelodeon Series.
In 2012, Tonya took over the San Diego International Film Festival with a vision to bring international cinema to San Diego and grow the San Diego International Film Festival into a significant contributor to San Diego’s economy. Today the San Diego International Film Festival has grown over 500%. The spectacular six-day Festival features 120+ film screenings, panels and a red carpet Celebrity Tribute honoring actors such as Annette Bening, Adrian Brody, Geena Davis, Lawrence Fishburne, Sir Patrick Stewart and countless others. Tonya is steadfast in her belief that the experience of film allows us explore issues of global impact, to create dialog, and ultimately to develop empathy and understanding in an increasingly diverse and complex world.
Tonya is currently on the Advisory Board of the Foundation to Support the United Nations, a leading NGO supporting the UN to achieve their Sustainable Developmental Goals. She also sits on the Advisory Committee for Pillars4 Dignity an organization that supports and empowers underserved women who face social and economic challenges- by providing pathways to education, economic opportunity, financial independence.
Tonya is a Past Board chair for the San Diego Chapter of The American Advertising Federation, a member of Patrons of the Prado and has won the prestigious Advertising Community’s top SDX Brandiego Award, voted San Diego Empowered Women to Watch and received the Philanthropy Award from The Ten Best.