The Cognito Team

Leda Maliga — Founder, Cognito 

Leda is committed to personal transformation that leads to social change with over 20+ years of production and communications experience ranging from: online and social media campaigns, scripted and reality TV, short films, feature documentaries, and A-list commercials.  As a line producer and agency producer, for brands like Lexus, Haagen Dazs and Ralph Lauren, she holds exceptional project management and budgeting skills.

As VP of production at Brave New Films she co-developed the documentary series “This Brave Nation”, as well as hundreds of short documentaries and oversaw the creation of a powerful online community. Her documentary feature, “PILAR” toured the festival circuit, winning Best Documentary Feature at Visionfest. Leda has produced scripted shows for Comedy Central and silly-fun reality shows like “The Surreal Life” and “The 70’s House.” 

Using media/communications to create change is the through-line of Leda’s career. She ran the social media channels for The California Endowment where she focused on elevating the emerging idea that Trauma is the number one health issue of our time. She produced several large scale art and social justice festivals with a focus on the power of art as a tool for healing and building civic engagement.

Leda is a certified trauma-informed yoga instructor and a social-emotional arts and healing facilitator.


 Ariel Wilson— Art Director / Graphic Designer

Ariel is an Art Director and Designer with over 10 years experience in both non-profit and creative fields. After graduating from UCSD with a degree in Studio Arts, she began working with several non-profit organizations to enhance their visual presence for greater reach.

Throughout her childhood, Ariel was enrolled in extracurricular art lessons, and as an adult, she spent 8 years as an art instructor for at-risk youth. Both from a student and teacher’s perspective she understands the profound impact of arts education on youth.

“Having access to the arts gave me a clear and confident sense of self as a child, and that spark of creativity and curiosity have served me well in adulthood. Seeing that same spark ignited in children is the greatest joy, and our youth have an irrefutable right to it.”


 Brittany Estrada- Campaign Producer / Community Manager

Brittany Zion Estrada is an Afro-Latina creative producer/educational researcher with a Master in the Art of Education and a Bachelor of Comparative Literature and Linguistics. She has published her research on the effects of creativity centered culturally responsive classrooms in The Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research and presented at AERA, CA-NAME, CDA. 

Using her research and writing skills she lead community organizing as a liaison to HUD and a non-profit affordable housing developer in San Bernardino City. Focusing her time on gathering data on the social-cultural assets in the community and supporting the production of the Promise Zone Grant application. After her work as a community organizer, she dedicated her time to the classroom as Single Subject credentialed high school English Literature teacher in SBUSD and LAUSD. As a teacher, she co-created a Pathways approved LGBTQ+ elective curriculum,  co-lead her school LGTQ+ alliance, started a film and diversity department, funded and produced an indigenous lead Autonomy Camp for undocumented students and SOC and created an annual auto-ethnographic art show replacing the capstone requirements for her senior cohorts.

She most recently left her 10-year educational career to apply her production, writing, and social critique skills in the film, health and campaign worlds. And has since produced five short Latino and Queer films, two of which were awarded semi-finalists the Latino Film Festival 2019 and Outfest 2019. Additionally, she wrote and produced for the underground political TV series “The Assembly” with host Rosario Dawson which was episodic and event centered.

Brittany currently sits as the campaign manager for CreatCA which is the leading marketing arm for the largest Art Education Public will campaign in the State that believes in radical policy change to allow equitable access of all four arts disciplines for ALL students. 

Brittany believes in the strategic shift of oppressive myths around creative autonomy, race and trauma, the radical deconstruction of the school system and the human compulsion to tell stories.