Whether racing Ironman, swimming alone from Alcatraz Island, skydiving, ice climbing, lasting 30 days on Survivor, following drug smugglers through sewage tunnels, confronting murderers, or spending years inside the cavernous mind of a serial rapist, Tamara knows how to adapt.

This one important trait has been pivotal to her success in business, extreme sports and in life.

Constantly adapting, her career evolved from newspaper crime reporter, to reality TV personality, investigative journalist, documentarian, network correspondent, professor, motivational speaker and bestselling author.

Not afraid to take risks and push boundaries — Her passion as a journalist, storyteller and photographer has led her all over the world.

Since her 2001 appearance on the hit reality show “Survivor” watched by 20 million viewers, Tamara has been in the public eye. As an investigative journalist in Phoenix, NYC and Chicago she’s been a fixture on televisions in homes across America for decades. And while reporting as a national network correspondent on the Today Show, Nightly News and MSNBC, millions of viewers watched Tamara daily.

As seen on


As seen on



Tamara’s journalism career started in newspapers, specializing in long-format investigations. After a few years she transitioned into television.

She has exposed the underworld of body brokering, spent years reporting on cyber security and the dark web, investigated Mexican drug cartels and reported as an inmate from inside Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City - which has since been shut down for inhumane treatment of inmates.

Tamara has been widely recognized for her investigations, writing, and her ability to influence change, receiving a dozen Emmys for her work.

Notably, she received a George Foster Peabody, an Edward R. Murrow and a Sigma Delta Chi award for her documentary that exposed a decades old government cover-up, where American soldiers were ordered to bury Agent Orange on a U.S. military base in South Korea.

While at NBC News she was honored with a national GLADD media award for her investigation into the unreported and misreported violent deaths of transgender people here in the U.S.

She’s lived in London and worked internationally – reporting on human rights injustices from Syria to Russia, Venezuela to Mexico.

A woman standing next to a pile of debris.
A woman is on the news and another person is talking
A woman and a man are talking on the news.

Leitner reporting for The Today Show in a refugee camp in Lebanon, two miles from the Syria border.


When Tamara left the network in mid 2019 she realized it was time to once again adapt – to reinvent her career to allow her to move closer to family in Southern California and take a break from the never-ending cycle of breaking news. Tamara challenged herself to finish writing a book she started decades prior.  And she is now the author of the international bestselling true-crime memoir "Don't Say a Thing".

This investigative work explores the harrowing journey of women who survived a serial rapist. Tamara reveals the impact this crime had on the mental health of these women — painting an intimate, raw picture of the immediate and long-term effects of violence against women.

New Speaking Photo


Tamara is a motivational speaker with an international perspective on how to get what you want out of life and business by adapting to the evolving circumstances around you.

She draws on decades of experience as an national correspondent and investigative journalist, where she continually adapted to her everchanging environment and situation, yet always stayed true to her authentic self.

Tamara has developed a proven method of adaptability that builds longevity, empowerment and success. She creates each personal keynote for corporate clients that takes the audience on a journey of self-discovery, while providing tools to sustain their newfound awareness.


More than twenty years ago, the reality TV show Survivor was just becoming a part of pop culture, when Tamara was cast on the fourth season of the reality television show where 16 contestants are dropped on an island with no food, no water and no fire. The goal: Outwit, outplay and outlast.

Tamara adapted to the ever-changing mental game and used her athleticism to win three straight challenges and last 30 out of 39 days.


Always the athlete and competitor, Tamara is constantly pushing her body and mind. Whether competing in Ironman, ice climbing for a challenge, or lifting weights to simply feel good, she believes that an athletic state of mind gives her a mental edge – translating to success in both business and life.

She learned to box in Thailand, meditate in the Himalayas, studied yoga throughout India, and has run thousands of miles all over the world: in jungles, on beaches, through slums, and frenetic cities. Because when she travels – whether on assignment as a journalist or for pleasure, she always makes time for runs. It’s how she relaxes, sees a new place, and re-energizes after a long flight.


Tamara believes that the next generation of journalists will play a crucial role in history – and therefore accepted a position as a professor at the University of Southern California, teaching graduate level investigative journalism courses. She appreciates every opportunity to mentor and empower students, launching them one step closer to their goals.

With a desire to influence more young people, she traveled to Ethiopia where she worked with Ordinary Hero – to help children overcome generational poverty. That’s where she met 10-year-old Kalkidane – who had not eaten in three days. Tamara sponsored her and they two still keep in touch today.

Photography & Conservation

Tamara is passionate about wildlife and travels to far-off places to photograph animals in their natural habitats for an intimate experience and the ability to gain a unique insight into these animals. She has also visited elephant and rhino orphanages around the world – organizations that focus on not only rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned animals, but protecting wildlife through conservation, preservation and anti-poaching.

She believes in the communities she visits and takes every opportunity to interact with and photograph locals in villages and communities around the world – in Africa, Rwanda, India, Ethiopia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Lebanon, Morocco and Turkey.