Ignite Howard County #6 is back! Save the date for October 25, 2021
Way back in 2006, two self-proclaimed geeks in Seattle started Ignite, a fast-paced event with an “Everyone Speaks” mission. The founders believed that public speaking builds confidence in individuals and that events like Ignite build community.
Their goal was to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to learn to present their stories, ideas, and passions. It was also about having fun, and showing that presentations do not need to be about “death by PowerPoint.” And since that first Ignite took place15 years ago, the Ignite Talks have popped up everywhere, becoming an international phenomenon.
Our last ignite was in October 2019, and it was amazing! Of course, we were unable to hold in-person events for most of 2020, so we are delighted to announce that Ignite HoCo #6 will be held on October 25, 2021, once again at Jailbreak Brewing Company.
And we are delighted that the HCEDA’s Maryland Innovation Center signed on as our premier Luminary Sponsor! The first Ignite Howard County event took place in April 2015 and was hosted by the Howard County Economic Development Authority. So it’s particularly wonderful to have them helping us promote the event this year! When Ignite first came to Howard County, the goal was to co-mingle the business and creative communities in a collaborative environment, with the hope of creating an entrepreneurial spark. It was a sold out event, and two more ignites followed. In recent years, Conscious Capitalism of Central Maryland (C3MD) has been hosting the annual event.
We sat down for a Q&A with one of the organizers of Ignite Howard County #6, Wendy Baird, president of insight180 and member of C3MD’s Leadership Team, to learn more about the event and why it’s important.
Q: So, what is C3MD? How did they get involved in Ignite?
A: Conscious Capitalism of Central Maryland is an organization of purpose-driven, like-minded business owners and leaders who believe that business is “good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity.” It’s about more than just the bottom line. C3MD members believe that entrepreneurs and businesses can create positive change, do good, and elevate humanity.
In 2016, when the HCEDA was inundated with requests after the first major Ellicott City flood and had to let go of organizing and producing the Ignite Howard County event, Conscious Capitalism saw an opportunity to help. C3MD recognized how Ignite was aligned with its core principles and decided to step up to become the organizing partner of the event. This is not a money-making event for C3MD, it’s about getting communities together to share innovative ideas.
Q: Why do you choose to host the event at Jailbreak Brewing Company?
A: Jailbreak is a fantastic venue. First, it’s a great, home grown business. We really love the open, collaborative feel of the space. The interior is one large room with high ceilings and large tables, which means you’re sharing a table with others – maybe sitting with some people you don’t already know. It’s a great opportunity to foster discussion. Plus, they’ve got a great AV system and large screens, which makes the presentations easier – and better looking and sounding! Plus, well, a great selection of craft beer and great food!
Q: What topics have speakers covered in the past?
A: Really, the topics run the gamut! Ignite is all about sharing something you’re passionate about, so we’ve heard it all. Speakers from Ignite #5 shared “Educate, Embrace & Uphold Human Rights in Howard County,” “Planting the Seeds of Opportunity: A Daughter’s Journey,” “Rooted to Rise,” “MagicMakers.” More topics included tech ideas, environmental innovation, ideas they’re passionate about, others have shared time management tips, what it’s like to be on a professional jump rope team, the perspective of an adolescent “going through” the divorce of her parents, environmental innovations, entrepreneurship, benefits of meditation or a keto diet, living with mental illness and the list goes on! One year, a speaker talked about the night he found a dead person!
One of my personal favorites was from a speaker who did photography at the end of someone’s life. Not morbid, but a beautiful gift for those who were going through a difficult life transition. Her photographs showing closeups of the hands of generations, grandchild and grandfather, for example, were beautiful and telling. Very moving.
Q: Why should I apply to be a speaker?
A: There are many great reasons to apply to be a speaker! Do you have a funny or unique story to tell? A passion to share? A business idea you want feedback on? A great idea that you just can’t wait to talk about? Especially after a very strange 2020, we’re sure there are plenty more stories to share. We love the idea of providing a venue to amplify voices and ideas that may not normally be heard.
The only rule, other than the timing, is that there is NO selling allowed. Your Ignite talk is not a sales pitch and any applications that come across as trying to sell will be automatically disqualified.
Q: How can I apply to be a speaker? How are the speakers chosen?
A: The Ignite Howard County website has the speaker application. All you have to do is fill it out! Here’s a tip… try to make it as compelling as possible. What’s unique about your story? Why do you think others will be inspired by it? Tell us! We receive lots of entries, so find a way to make your idea fantastic. The speaker selection committee will do a blind review of all the applications. Not all Ignite talks are what they seem – make sure and give yours a great title, but also make sure to tell us why your talk should be heard.
Everyone on the committee picks their top four choices for speakers. If everyone selects you, then you’re automatically chosen as a speaker. From there, it goes based on the next highest number of committee members who voted for you. For the proposals with fewer votes, the committee discusses the choices, looks at what topics have already been selected and decides as a group. August 30th is the last day to apply!
Q: How many speakers are there?
A: Ten to 12 speakers are selected for the event, as well as a couple of backups. The selected speakers must present to the planning committee before the event, which allows the committee to provide coaching if necessary and confirm that no sales pitches sneak in by accident.
Q: What if I spoke at a previous Ignite but have a new topic, can I still apply?
A: Absolutely! Past speakers are always welcome to apply again with new topics. After all, there’s no guarantee you’ll be chosen again!
Q: I’m interested in applying, but I’m not really sure how to prepare. Is there anyone who can help me?
A: We are here to help, for sure. If you’ve got questions or just need some assistance with the process, let us know in your application!
Q: Public speaking is not my thing…how else can I get involved?
A: We are always looking for sponsors for the event! Sponsorship comes with a range of benefits, including but not limited to getting your company name listed on the Ignite Howard County site, printed on the program materials, and mentioned throughout the evening. Plus, sponsors receive a number of free tickets to this inspiring event.
We are delighted that the Maryland Innovation Center (MIC) became our Luminary sponsor. The Wendy Slaughter Team at Elevate Real Estate Brokerage stepped up as a Blaze sponsor. Thanks also to Avilar Technologies, Indigo Ink, ReFrame Financial Planning, our Flame sponsors, and to Challenging Racism; Kevin Howard, CPA, PFS, P.A., and insight180 our Spark sponsors. They help make this event possible!
Ignite Howard County #6 takes place on October 25th, from 5:30 – 8 pm at Jailbreak Brewing Company.
- Buy Your Ticket Now – Want to join in on the fun? Get your tickets now to be a part of the discussion.
- Apply to be a Speaker – Speaker applications are due Sept. 17th, don’t miss your chance to apply!
- Help us spread the word – Follow C3MD on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and share posts, tag your friends and colleagues and let us know if you have any questions! Hope to see you there!