Meet the Imagine If Team

Richard Stone, Chief Imagination Officer.

Richard Stone is the founder of the Storywork Institute, and has
been a pioneer in the development of story-based training
programs for organizations around the country, as well as team
building, leadership development, and strategic planning
programs for corporate clients such as Kaiser Permanente, Mayo
Clinic, Walt Disney Imagineering, Kraft Foods, and Lucent
Technologies.

Richard has written two books, Stories: The Family Legacy, a
guide for sharing and recollection, that has been used by hospice
and health care professionals throughout the U.S., and The
Healing Art of Storytelling. His newest book, The Kingdom of Nowt,
will be published this fall.

Richard's journey to co-found Richard the Imagine This Company
and co-create the PITCH-A-STORY! game started in his graduate
school days when he studied the dynamics of family life and how
they contribute to the creativity and imaginative capability of
children. His own creative career took him from studying painting
at the Art Institute of Chicago as well as founding his own
advertising agency.

 

Rhett Banning, Chief Executive Officer

Rhett's meandering career in storytelling officially began as a 12
year old kid, broadcasting on a pirate radio station. He and
friends built it in the loft above his parents' garage in the village of
Lorne Park, on the north shore of Lake Ontario. While the station's
rickety transmitter could just reach radios in the other houses of the
village, fortunately it wasn't powerful enough to catch the attention
of Federal broadcasting authorities!

Later, between college classes, he worked in a real radio station,
one that played rock & roll and Rhett's nervous-voice newscasts.

This led to news reporting and then anchoring at the Global
Television Network. He was based first in Canada's capital city,
Ottawa, and then in Toronto. For 15 years, he chased an
assortment of troublemakers and troubadours with a microphone
and camera, an adventure that took him across Canada, the U.S.
and Europe.

Then, Rhett left Global to start It Works! Television Productions, to
create his own TV shows. The company started work in
Washington, D.C. in 1993, and five years later moved to Orlando,
Florida, where it is today. The company has worked on programs
seen on Animal Planet, the USA Network, PBS, ABC, CBS and
NBC stations, CTV and Global TV stations in Canada, and
Discovery International.

When Richard Stone approached Rhett with an idea for a
storytelling TV show a couple of years ago, they established
"Imagine This Company, Inc.". While working on the TV show, the
company adapted the concept of "pitching" ideas for new TV
shows and Hollywood movies for the new creative board game
sensation PITCH-A-STORY!


Deede Sharpe, Curriculum Designer

Unlike Rhett, Deede's storytelling career came to an abrupt end in
First Grade, when she told her teacher that, like several of her
classmates, she would miss three weeks of school to help the
family pick cotton. Unfortunately, the teacher, a member of
Deede's mother's Bridge Club, was unappreciative of Deede's
creativity and reported the story to her parents for discipline. That
hard lesson turned a budding storyteller to truth in reporting, and a
high school and college career in print and broadcast journalism.

The notion that it might be more productive to cause change than
to report it led Deede to pursue politics as a mechanism for social
reform. When the wrong guy won the presidency, Deede decided
that education had to be the key to improving the world---one child,
one family at a time!

Deede's M.Ed. in school counseling led to a fascination with how
different individuals learn and why, which led to a career in
teaching, instructional design, staff and curriculum development.
She pioneered a career guidance and exploration program for
inner-city middle schools in Atlanta, as a means to improving
academic skills, and led innovative programs and practices for the
Georgia State Department of Education. She then turned to
creating nationally accredited educational programs for young
people, teachers and business people at the Walt Disney World
Co., to prove to the vacationing public that learning can be a lot of
fun!

Since then, Deede has authored video and print communications
for regional educational agencies, national educational television,
career and technical education, Red Lobster Restaurants, The
Prudential, the Kellogg Foundation and the International
Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, among others.

Today Deede designs and conducts seminars for such diverse
clients as local, state and national educational agencies; banks;
theme parks; hospitals and U.S. military bases worldwide. In the
process, she has once again fallen in love with storytelling, as a
device for fostering understanding and literacy, while making the
world a tiny bit more livable and fun!

 

Billy Davis, Artist and Designer

When Billy Davis was pretty young, his Paw was out huntin' a
raccoon when he accidentally discovered oil on the property. Paw
packed his Granny, cousin Delta Dawn (Delta Dawn is Paw's
brother Arzro's girl. Arzro was in prison for mail fraud and
racketeering), the apple-headed Chihuahua named Speedy, and
Billy into a 1969 Ford LTD and left the hills for a life of luxury in the
north Georgia town of Rome.

For a while Billy tried his hand at different things; movie director,
secret agent, brain surgeon, inventor - before he realized his true
calling was to be a world famous artist. So he enrolled in the World
Famous Artists School at the University of Georgia where he slept
late, stayed up late, and hung out with goateed "artists" who
considered personal hygiene optional.

After World Famous Artists School, Billy taught high school art
long enough to have his teaching certificate revoked. Billy left
Georgia to settle into a life of relative anonymity in the sun-
drenched vacation mecca of Orlando. Here he assumed the life of
the unassuming while also designing an award winning game in
his spare time.