Sarah Towle, Founder & Creative Director
Sarah calls herself an “accidental entrepreneur,” having come to the startup world totally by chance through her work as an author, cultural historian, and professor of language, linguistics, and conflict resolution. That said, she’s shown a tendency to strike out on her own since her first business venture at the age of 14: braiding the manes and tails of show horses. When Sarah realized many years later, in 2010, that the time-traveling Paris treasure hunt series she was writing was “too interactive” for print, she began developing Time Traveler Tours: a new generation of tour guide for a new generation of traveler that combines the traditional power of storytelling with the latest in touchscreen technology to create portals to the past. The company's mission is to ensure that no young person says, "History is boring," ever again.
Sarah's debut Story Tour, Beware Madame la Guillotine, A Revolutionary Tour of Paris, launched in July 2011 to top industry accolades, but the app's critical splash was not matched by commercial success — not even close. This compelled Sarah to step back and make a study of the myriad challenges, and opportunities, unleashed by the digital revolution. Now she's back with a unique proposition to weave world-class storytelling into historic locations with gamification to teach about the past in a playful, engaging way. She then repurposes these stories to publish products that hook and hold across multiple formats. Sarah and Team TTT&T aim to revolutionize the discovery of history and culture for the benefit of youth — and the young at heart — by bringing the very best in interactive storytelling across multiple formats with the help of a consortium of writers.
A long-time expat, Sarah currently lives in London, UK, with her husband, their incredibly comic and wildly hirsute four-legged adopted dog, and her daughter, when she's home on University holidays.
James O’Connor, Co-Founder & Adviser
James has earned his living as a writer and editor for more than three decades. He has been to every continent in the world and more than 30 countries, writing stories about education, travel, and anything else he could be paid for. He's also been a front-line witness to both the growth of the travel and tourism industry as well as its disruption brought on by the digital revolution. He became an instant supporter of Sarah Towle's idea for creating story-driven tours to historic places from the moment he heard about it. Since then, he has helped drive the Time Traveler Tours concept forward every step of the way.
Emma D. Dryden, Publishing & Editorial Consultant
After twenty-five years as a highly regarded children’s book editor and publisher with Atheneum and McElderry Books, Emma struck out on her own. Founder of drydenbks, a premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy, she consults and collaborates with authors, illustrators, agents, domestic and foreign publishers, students, and with app & eBook developers. With Newbery Medal, Newbery Honor, Caldecott Honor books and bestsellers to her claim, she brings to Time Traveler Tours & Tales both extensive knowledge of the world of "traditional publishing" as well as a desire to be a part of a media project charting a new path toward the future.
Emma speaks regularly on craft, the digital landscape, and reinvention, and her blog “Our Stories, Ourselves” explores the intertwined themes of life and writing. She is on the Board of Advisors of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and can be followed online at Twitter (@drydenbks), Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Emma is a born and bred New Yorker and lives there with her family in the Upper West Side apartment in which she grew up.
Melissa Dusette, Community Manager & Client Liaison
With an MA in anthropology, a certificate in Museum Studies, and many years working in the field of cultural education under her belt, Melissa lives, breathes, and sleeps educational tourism. She's also an ace webinar and online tutorial packager, a skill she brings to bear in helping TTT&T develop online courses and other educational products to complement its titles. She manages the Team’s social media and is also actively introducing Time Traveler Tours' unique storytelling proposition to her museum colleagues around the world, thus helping to grow our future audience base.
"I am passionate about combining my love of museums with my skills in technology to educate others about history and culture," states Melissa. "Time Traveler Tours & Tales is the perfect conduit for that!"
Melissa lives in Ann Arbor, MI with her hunky new husband, dancing black dog, and insatiable orange cat.
Frank Totaro, Finance & Accounting Consultant
Before creating Taro Associates, Frank spent 20+ years with Simon & Schuster, Inc., including 15 years as Vice President and General Manager of the Children’s Division. Frank Totaro is an accomplished financial and operations executive with a pedigree in the publishing, media, entertainment and licensing industries. He has worked with companies and businesses of all size – from small to mid-sized to multinational organization – and in various phases of operation – from early start-up to growth oriented to mature business expansion. He now joins TTT&T to bring his considerable skill and knowledge in traditional publishing to the digital ecosystem with a company he affectionately refers to as a publishing “upstart.”
Cynthia Carris Alonso
Photo Editor & Editor
OnCell is the leading digital storytelling platform for cultural destinations, connecting people, interesting places, and their stories, everywhere. For all these reasons, they are the perfect development partner for Time Traveler Tours & Tales.
Team OnCell joins Team TTT&T to marry their award-winning mobile app builder with Time Traveler Tours' unique storytelling proposition to create powerful ways for visitors to connect with the rich cultural heritage of historic venues, locations, and sites. This partnership allows Team TTT&T the opportunity not only to continue developing immersive placed-based story tours for the Time Traveler Tours brand, but also to develop story-driven tours to destinations worldwide at an affordable cost.