by What Is The Sentence | 20 Apr 2022
Biographies and Interviews
Hi Sherry! Thank you for doing this interivew with us. We've known one another a long time, but I learned a lot more about you! Let's start with sharing with our readers what your roles and responsibilities are in our industry?
As an African American inventor of educational games and products that cater to literacy, I feel that one of my roles to the industry is to expose my games and products to as many educational communities in the U S. There are a lot of underserved communities throughout the country and the lack of opportunities, funding, and certain exposure hinders the literacy growth of many young people. I am trying to make a difference with my products to help young students reach their potential.
What is your claim to fame in the industry?
Being African American and inventing games that have been sold all over the world.
What has been your biggest achievement?
I did a licensing deal with Arby© restaurant. Over 2,500,000 units of my game were distributed in their kid’s meal across the United States.
What was your biggest failure?
When I first got in the business and set up my first company, I needed business insurance. I failed to include a rider to protect me from certain lawsuits, it cost me lots of money.
Do you have a mantra that you live by?
Inch by inch is a cinch and mile by mile is a trial, Let the sky be my limit.
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
I saw a television show about a game inventor, all my life I use to make up games. I was so motivated by that show I decided to develop one of my ideas and take it to market and the rest is history.
What are you working on now?
My latest game is called Two Ways, I just released into the market. It is a head-to-head strategy game. I expected it to be a big hit.
What has kept you motivated to stay in the toy industry?
My games have educational slants and that has led me to speak to students in classrooms across the country, it is so rewarding to see how my games motivate young to learn and create games of their own.
If you look back at yourself 10 years ago is this where you thought you’d be? Where did you think you’d be? What changed? What went right?
I thought that I would get to where I am today years ago. I had a legal detour that interrupted my path for 5 years. The blessing that came out of it was during that hiatus I invented four more games that I have on the market now.
What was your favorite project to date?
My favorite project/game that I invented is the game called “What is the Sentence.”
What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you?
I am excited that because of covid teachers need resources that motivate students to learn. In home learning seems to have hindered many students learning capabilities over the last two years. Because of this I believe board games can be an essential tool in assisting teachers in captivating students’ attention by giving them a way to learn while they are playing a game.
What advice can you give to inventors who are presenting new toy or game ideas to you?
When I have been approached by other inventors, I try to find out if their invention is a real passion or a hobby. The passionate inventor is usually ready for the long haul. There are so many components in bringing a product to market and I believe you need that passion so when they run up against a wall they will keep going.
Do you have a typical workday and how does it play out for you?
My day starts early and ends when I finish my project for the day. Sometimes it can las 10 to 12 hours a day.
What’s your workspace setup like?
I have a home office and an office away from home. This allows me to work on ideas when I get out of bed.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Sharing knowledge that I have learned over the years to someone just starting in the industry.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had and what did you learn from it?
I took a job in high school distributing post cards to homes. Each day I had to walk so many miles after school putting those cards out. I learned that I would rather use my brain then my feet in whatever I planned to do when I became an adult.
What and/or who inspires you?
People who sacrifice their lives to help others without earning the pay they deserve.
Jesus Christ has been an inspiration in my life.
What excites you?
Anyone’s success, it lets me know that I can do it too.
How do you define creativity?
The ability to develop a concept that has never been done before.
How do you define innovation?
Taking a concept that has been created and adding enhancements to it that makes it look like it was just created.
Where do you come up with your best ideas?
I seem to come up with my best ideas when I am listening to people, a lot of times I will hear an idea from something we might be discussing.
What blocks your creativity?
When I am in an environment that is loud it is very hard for me to think.
How do you recharge or take a break?
I live in Las Vegas so when I want to unwind, I go play bingo. I can play with $10.00 and sit for hours.
What words describe how you think or how your brain works?
I am a very visual thinker. As an example, as I child I could always see any math problem in my head. My brain seems to always be processing whatever I see.
What was your favorite toy or game as a child?
Where were you born?
What was your life like growing up?
My life growing up was full of love, I was blessed to live in a household with both of my parents.
Where did you grow up and how did that influence who you are today?
I grew up in Los Angeles, I am very thankful that I did because of so may thing I was exposed to.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
After college I was living in a city called Newport Beach with a roommate. We were offered to buy two properties for $900.00 down and payments of $900.00 per month. We were afraid to do the transaction, we were both 22 years of age and that was a lot of money. The properties were valued at 150,000 each. We declined the opportunity and six months later those properties were worth 300,000 each. I learned you can be scared to take a risk.
What do you read every day, and why?
News articles, my bible. I like to keep up with what is going on in society. My bible reading gives me comfort.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
How do you jumpstart your creativity when you find yourself stalled on a project?
When I get bogged down with an idea. I just stop working on it. I will go watch tv listen to music or call a friend. The I will go back to the project. If I have a deadline I will stop working and get into a quiet area for about 15 to 30 minutes and then go back to the project.
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I saw this commercial about insurance. A guy was driving not paying attention to the road looking at a guy dancing on the street and he runs into the back of a trash truck.
What are your favorite childhood memories?
My favorite childhood memory was being in my home with my sister and brother at Christmas. My parents were not very well off financially, but they always gave us a great Christmas with great gifts.
Are you named after anyone?
My mother said she saw a boy with my name and she never forgot it so she decided to name me the same name.
Do you play any musical instruments? If so, which one(s)?
I play the piano and drums.
Who are your favorite musicians, singers or musical groups?
Earth Wind and Fire, Andrae Crouch.
Do you prefer scary movies or happy endings?
What are your favorite sports and sports teams?
All Los Angeles teams
Who are your favorite athletes?
Here is information on my favorite of all the games I invented...
Play Nine: A Casual Card Game Built by Word-of-Mouth All the Way to the Shelves of Target
Book Review: A Lot Like Batman
Game Review: UNO
Game Review: Jenga
Book Review: PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie Books
Ted Fischer, Co-Founder and CEO of Ageless Innovation, on Unleashing the Power of Play
Lisa Wallace Shares how "I’m The Chef Too!" Moved from Her Kitchen to Kitchens Everywhere!
Hasbro's Tanya Thompson on Women Innovators of Play
Toy industry rebels build an invention studio from zero to one
Attention Toys and Games Marketers: Is it time for Tums or Veuve Clicquot?
Randy Klimpert Shares his Ukulele Collection
Steve Casino Peanut Art
Everyone's Talking about POP!
Princess Etch - a Multi-Talented Etch A Sketch Artist
Joseph Herscher of Joseph' s Machines.
Tom Dusenberry... Bought Atari, Wizards of the Coast, and Avalon Hill!
Matt Leacock created Pandemic... the game!
Scott Brown and Tim Swindle... are Launching a New Sport!
Daryl Andrews says... "GO TO CONVENTIONS!"
Ed Gartin is... the Evel Knievel of Inventor Relations!
POPDuo: Richard Dickson, Mattel’s President & COO, and Kedar Narayan, Young Inventor Challenge AMB
POPDuo: Will Shortz and Josh Wardle
POP Duo: Elan Lee, Co-Founder, Exploding Kittens.and Jeff Probst, Host and Exec Producer, Survivor
POP Duo: David Fuhrer, MNG Director, Blue Sq Innovations & Shawn Green, past Dodgers & Mets MLB Star
POP Duo: Bob Fuhrer, Founder, Nextoy and Tom Fazio, Golf Course Designer
Toy Inventors--The Heart and Soul of the Industry
Brian Turtle: 'Endless' Stories, Advice, Kevin Bacon and More! tBR Person of the Week
Jonathan Levy on Jon2.0 - from Co-Founding Mastermind Toys to Spin Master
Andrew Perlmutter's Journey from Glencoe to Funko with Crazy Ideas that turned out Golden
Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!