Reel Women: Elise Jaffe, Executive Producer

Elise Jaffe

Elise Jaffe

Elise Jaffe is the “spokes teeth” and Executive Producer of Big Teeth Productions, which she co-owns with her husband Gregg.

She’s also known as “Little Miss Bossy Pants,” a title that appeared on her business card BEFORE Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants was published!

Elise’s career began in Children’s Television at Reading Rainbow and Blue’s Clues.

Her 19 years in Advertising, TV, and New Media Production include agency producing: JWT, Grey New York, DraftFCB and Edelman and post/design producing: VSA Partners, Vitamin Pictures and Foundation Content.

Elise created, produced, and directed the kid’s web series Fooditude, which taught tweens about life through food. A member of SAGAFTRA, she can also be found behind the microphone as a Voice Over Artist.

When Elise isn’t working, she and Gregg are usually hanging with her 6.5 and 3.5 year olds or cuddling with their pup Winnie.



How did you get into the business? My focus was children’s television but during a Fellowship with the International Radio and TV Society in NYC immediately after college I became interested in advertising. Two members of my group were interning at Grey Advertising and they told me about a specific group there focused on kids. A few weeks later I had my first job as an assistant producer.

What obstacles have you faced specifically because of your gender? I watched the male producers get promoted quicker and listened to more. I found myself cleaning up the messes made by my male bosses and counterparts and watched them still get the credit. I had a lot of responsibility at a very young age and I had older female coworkers who didn’t respect me because of my age. Looking back I think they harbored jealousy because it was even harder for them when they started in the biz.

Best thing to ever happen to you to remind you that you are a woman? Giving birth 🙂 Well, maybe not that exact moment … so, having kids. My first baby was Big Teeth. My second was Winnie my dog, but being pregnant — wow, you spend every day being amazed at what being a women can be. And now, raising kids, especially a girl, and making sure she knows how powerful she is, and how much she can accomplish, that’s a whole new ballgame.

Work you are most proud of? I’ve directed four videos for Sesame Street and produced three more and I have to say, it was my career dream come true. Having Sesame Street approach us based on the work we’ve done was an incredible honor and to be able to watch my career come full circle and be back in the kid’s TV world, it still shocks me.

How do you describe the most significant #metoo moment of your life? My most significant #metoo moment was when I realized how extremely fortunate I was to never have felt physically or emotionally threatened by anyone. I started in the biz in 1999 when internet companies were exploding. I attended more industry parties than I can count, good food and alcohol flowing! My male coworkers & superiors were some of the good ones, because those are the times the bad ones take advantage.

How have professional attitudes towards women evolved during your career? I’ve seen more and more women running larger companies being taken seriously and not immediately be titled “bitch” if they were confident and aggressive in their careers. I think women who succeed are more apt to mentor younger women than ever before vs just be out for themselves. We fight for equal pay and sadly we still don’t have it, but more and more people are realizing how big of a problem it is and trying to change that.

Trapped on an island what essentials must you have? My husband, kids and doggie. A professional masseuse (who doubles as a yoga teacher and babysitter). A roku with all my TV apps (and something to watch them on). A lot of cheese and crackers and chocolate chip cookies and a good pillow. Knowing my skin tone, and as a former lifeguard, I should probably say sunscreen too.

If you had a time machine, what would you say to your past self? Don’t worry what everyone else is doing or how much money they are making, do what feels right to you. It’s OKAY to not try and do it all. And, it’s okay to slow down and relax. I don’t think I’d just say that to my past self. I need to tell that to my current self all the time. Oh I would probably also tell my past self that it’s totally okay to not love NYC.

If you could have a one-on-one with anyone who would it be? And why? Michelle Obama — there are so many things that I admire about her. I admire her passion, her eloquence, her intelligence, and her ability to still be her own self while also being a “First Lady” and a mom. When she started the Let’s Move campaign I was deep into producing my kid’s webseries “Fooditude” which taught tweens about life through food and I felt a deep connection to her and her mission.

To see the up-to-date list of Reel Women, click here.