Sarah Towle, Founder & Creative Director,
Co-Host: #HistoryHero BLAST
Sarah is a digital storyteller and “accidental entrepreneur,” having come to the startup world totally by chance through her work as an author, cultural historian, and communications professor. When Sarah realized 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.
Sarah's mission is to ensure that no young person says, "History is boring," ever again. Her aim is to #TurnHistoryOn for youth... and the young at heart. Her concern is that cultural literacy is at stake in the world today. And her goal is to #MakeHistoryMatter again, "because a past forgotten is too easily repeated."
With Time Traveler Tours, she weaves world-class storytelling into historic locations with gamification and augmented reality enhancements to revolutionize the discovery of history: making it playful and engaging, while simultaneously linking the past to today. Her story-tours are delivered via mobile device, as apps or messaging chatbots. In future, she hopes to reproduce the same content as virtual reality experiences for those who cannot travel. Currently, Sarah repurposes the stories inside the tours, republishing them across e-, audio, and print formats as Time Traveler Tales.
A long-time expat, Sarah currently lives in London, UK, with her husband, daughter (when she's not at university), and their wildly hirsute adopted companion, Gryffindog. The family calls London, Paris, and Brooklyn, NY, "home."
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.
Becca McCarthy, Community Manager, In-house Tech Guru & Producer: #HistoryHero BLAST
Becca is TTT's perfect target audience. She spent childhood summer vacations in a van, traveling between heritage sites, cultural centers, and museums and, as a result, she thought she hated them. However, until she graduated high school, she attributed her love of history to it being the opposite of math. But when writing essays at the University of Victoria while pursuing her degree in History and Indigenous Studies, she realized that it was these family vacations that had changed her life for the better.
"History is alive, it is ever changing, and the stories of its makers are in danger of being forgotten and labeled as 'boring', " says Becca. That's why she was thrilled to jump in as chief Community Manager and general Every-woman for Time Traveler Tours. "It's important to make sure that the voices of the past are heard, and that they're made accessible to ears of all ages."
Becca currently lives in Chicago, Illinois, with her professorial husband and many honorary children; that is to say, they aren't really hers, but when she's not tinkering with the TTT&T machinery, she's a beloved nanny.
Tim Noddings, In-House Historian, Co-Host: #HistoryHero BLAST
Tim is a PhD candidate in History at Northwestern University. Originally from Victoria, British Columbia, Tim has spent most of his life reading, teaching, writing, and talking about history. His interests include the North American past, as well as the history of capitalism, politics and religion.
As a member of the Time Travel Tours team, Tim likes to explore how local histories connect to create larger stories that demonstrate the ways that individuals can shape the world.
When he's not at his desk, Tim can be found in nature. His favorite past time? Hiking.
Mark Southern, Marketing & PR Consultant
Mark is a media professional with 20 years of journalism, publishing and high-level strategic communications experience. He's also the Founder and Creative Director of award-winning celebrity engagement and charity public relations agency, Polygon PR, and a freelance writer with multiple regular commissions, primarily in luxury media.
Mark designs smart creative PR strategies that solve business objectives by amplifying the right message to the right audience and the right time, and harnessing celebrity associations, when and where appropriate. He is behind the #HistoryHero BLAST (BLog & PodcAST) for Time Traveler Tours & Tales, which he has adopted as a pet project because, "It's such a brilliant idea!"
Debra Everett-Lane, Experience & Game Design Consultant
A content and interactive experience designer as well as career educator, Debra's passion is creating games, exhibits, programs, and activities that engage adults and children alike, and that make them curious about the world around them. She is Assistant Director of Special Projects the American Museum of Natural History, NYC, and the co-founder and lead designer of Come Out & Play Family Day, an offshoot of the larger CO&P festival that attracts more than 1,000 children and adults annually. Together with Yu-Ting Feng (below), she designed the location-based mobile storytelling games Ghosts of DUMBO and Lost in Time, which were featured at the Come Out & Play After Dark Festival in 2016 and 2017.
Debra has won numerous accolades for her experience designs, including Honorable Mention for Best Representation of Theme, Games for Change Migration Design Challenge, Games for Change, 2017, and Winner of Figment NYC 2017 Dream Bigger Competition. When she's not immersed in her own games and experiences, she can be found playing with her boys at home in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Yu-Ting Feng, Interaction Design Consultant
Ting is an interactive designer, new media artist, and director, specializing in real-time data visualization within space. She has worked on high-profile projects such as media experience design for the Vanke World Pavilion at the 2015 World Expo in Milan. Her work has been featured in Grand Central Station and Times Square, at the Cinekids Festival and Kaohsiung Film Festival, and been written about in The New York Times, Performance Journal, CNA News, and Taipei Times.
Together with Debra Everett-Lane (above), TIng designed the location-based mobile storytelling games Ghosts of DUMBO and Lost in Time, which were featured at the Come Out & Play After Dark Festival in 2016 and 2017. A native of Taoyuan, Taiwan, TIng was awarded the Red Burns Scholarship by New York University's Tisch School of Arts, allowing her to obtain her M.P.S. Interactive Telecommunications.
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 splits her time between the Upper West Side apartment in which she grew up and Bristol, Rhode Island.
Jane Dixon-Smith, Design & Branding Consultant
JD Smith has worked in the graphic design industry for nearly twenty years and now specialises in branding as well as book cover design and typesetting. She began working with Time Traveler Tours after Sarah read her book, The Importance of Book Cover Design, and contacted JD about doing the layout and cover for Buried Alive: The Secret Michelangelo Took to His Grave. It wasn't long before she was also helping team TTT&T with their global rebranding efforts, as well as upgrading the look of the Buried Alive app. At that point, Sarah decided to make JD's involvement official, inviting her to join the team as Design and Branding Consultant.
JD lives in the English Lake District with her family of five. She is also the author of fictional titles Tristan and Iseult, The Rise of Zenobia, The Fate of an Emperor , The Better of Two Men and The Rebel Queen. Learn more about JD here: www.jdsmith-design.co.uk www.jdsmith-author.co.uk
Joe Bianco, Recording & Audio Engineer
Joe first joined team TTT&T as the voice of Michelangelo for Buried Alive: The Secret Michelangelo Took to His Grave. "It's been such a joy and a pleasure bringing the wonderful words of this story off the page and into your ears through Florence's most famous sculptor," he says. We all worked so well together, that he agreed to come onboard to help source and record our audio narration for years to come. He will also soon be helping Sarah to create a #HistoryHeroes podcast for Time Traveler Tours & Tales.
Joe is an actor (in almost every regard) who calls Chicago home. On stage, he has worked with The Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The House Theatre, Door Shakespeare and Lifeline Theatre. Recent voiceover clients include Ducati, Porsche, Lays, The Onion, Pfizer, Tostidos, Chuck Taylor & Dollywood Theme Park. TV credits include Chicago Fire (S4 E3 - I Walk Away). Visit www.actorjoebianco.com for more information.
Marcie Colleen, Curriculum Developer
Marcie comes to the world of children's literature and interactive media as a former New York State high school English teacher and theater educator. For her Masters degree, Marcie traveled abroad to study Process Drama in London, as well as teach in the London school system. Marcie joins Team TTT&T to bring to bear her many talents, as both classroom teacher and drama educator, in developing multifaceted and dynamic curriculum guides that make Time Traveler Tours & Tales stories jump off the screen and into the classroom. Her guides are dedicated to social studies educators, librarians, and drama teachers and all are aligned with national educational standards, such as theUS Common Core.
In addition to creating dramatic curriculum guides, Marcie is an author. Her books include THE SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS chapter book series with Macmillan/Imprint, as well as upcoming picture books THE ADVENTURE OF THE PENGUINAUT, to be published by Scholastic, and LOVE, TRIANGLE, which sold at auction in a two-book deal to Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins.
Marcie lives with her husband and mischievous sock monkey in San Diego, CA. But you can visit her at www.thisismarciecolleen.com.
Melissa Dusette, Museum & 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 is 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 husband, their brand new baby son, 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.”