Seven Fun Ignite Ideas Which Need Your Help

Ignite Seattle is led by a fun, energetic, and all volunteer team. We’re just former attendees who raised their hands and said “I want to help.”

Today, we’d like to ask for your help, too. We’re hosting a potential volunteer info session on November 13 at 6:30pm (there’s free food)!

Not sure what volunteering for Ignite looks like? Below are just a few fun ideas to make Ignite better, which all need help from someone like you.


  1. Ignite Encore
    Arrange for conferences/events to host small Ignite sessions, with a handful of alumni giving encores of their talks. We’ve done this once or twice in the past, but what if it were a regular thing?

  2. Bring alumni speakers back together
    Over 500 people have spoken at Ignite Seattle. Where are they now? Whether it means hosting parties and happy hours, or working with them to run a pre-show activity, we’d love to keep in closer contact.

  3. Partner with the community
    Ignite is a place for Seattle to share and discuss diverse ideas, but that doesn’t have to end at the talks and the pre-show activity. Whether it’s sponsors, other organizations with a similar mission, or just community fixtures the audience should know about, there are so many opportunities to grow Ignite beyond the walls of our theater.

  4. Be Ignite’s social butterfly
    Sure, we have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but when it comes to our audience, most interaction happens at the show. How can we engage with our audience online? What should we post? Should we run contests? Oh, did we mention there is a budget to experiment with?

  5. Become our CEO… Chief Emailing Officer
    We have a growing list of Ignite Seattle fans, but we mostly email them about submissions and ticket sales. What else might our community care about? The latest crazy project from a speaker they heard from? Tips on telling their story? Something else? You also get to press a red button that instantly emails 2000 (and growing) fans of Ignite Seattle. Woah!

  6. Rethink the event, and bring crazy ideas to life
    Did you know Ignite Seattle never did a survey until 2018!? When we did, we learned the audience wanted a shorter show that started earlier. (It only took us 12 years to find out…)What if you were in charge of the 3 Rs: help us research, recommend, and realize crazy new ideas? Research could include surveys, observations, and plain old talking to people. Yes that is still a thing.
  7. Make fun videos
    If you have ever dreamed about being in the movie business this idea is for you. We are looking for new ways to explain Ignite to excite new speakers, new attendees and new volunteers. You would film behind the scenes at our events and create promo videos to share on the web.


These ideas (or your own ideas for Ignite) won’t happen without you. Are you ready to help? Sign up for our volunteer info session below or visit our volunteer page if you can’t make it.

Ignite Seattle Volunteer Info Session

November 13, 6:30pm

Downtown Seattle WeWork, 1411 4th Avenue

Exploring the 8th Continent – Cindy Wu – Ignite Seattle 37

With a title like “Exploring the 8th Continent,” the geographically-inclined among us are certain to be interested. There are, after all, only seven continents. Right?

Not so, according to Cindy Wu. Cindy says there’s a mysterious continent below all of our feet: caves.

Stepping into a cave, according to Cindy, is like being an astronaut stepping onto the moon for the first time. In her talk, Cindy tells the story of her first time exploring a cave, and how our audience can safely explore caves themselves.

(Interested in exploring a cave? Here’s the website Cindy mentioned.)

photo by: Brady Harvey

Physician, Speak Thyself – Sam Blackman – Ignite Seattle 37

Sam Blackman started his professional life as a philosophy major, but the fact that he spent his nights reading medical journals might have been a clue to where his career would end up.

The thing in those journals which fascinated Sam? The case studies — stories with the (often gory) details of the treatment of a patient, in a narrative format.

In his Ignite talk, Sam explains why this sort of storytelling makes medicine work, makes a case for the humanity of medicine, and urges us not to lose track of storytelling as medicine increases its reliance on technology.

photo by: Brady Harvey

What Military Peacekeeping Taught Me About Humility – Urs Koenig – Ignite Seattle 37

Twenty-two years after completing mandatory military service — and approaching the age of fifty — Urs Koenig decided to enlist in the military peacekeeping force KFOR in Kosovo.

Many readers may be wondering, “Why does Kosovo need a peacekeeping force at all?” By the time he deployed, Urs thought he knew the answer. Until he watched a school play which made him reconsider not only what he knew about the war, but also the role of peace-keepers.

In his Ignite Seattle talk, Urs explains how his time as a military peacekeeper taught him to ask better questions, and how that can make us all a little more humble.

photo by: Brady Harvey

A Survival Guide for Black Millennial Single Mothers Striving to Slay – Sydney Swonigan – Ignite Seattle 37

“So who in here has absolutely just fucked up before?” That’s the question Sydney Swonigan started off with during her Ignite Seattle talk. (Judging from the audience reaction, the answer was: a lot of us.)

In her talk, Sydney discusses the time she fucked up: accidentally becoming pregnant shortly after graduating college. (“#whoops-a-daisy”) After years of striving to overcome the stereotypes placed on young black women, she found herself worried about becoming stuck in a negative narrative of a single black mother. She didn’t want to just survive, she wanted to slay.

In her talk, Sydney talks about her experience deciding not to choose between being a mother and a leader, owning her own story, and why there’s no better time than today to fuck up.

photo by: Brady Harvey

So You’re Black in Tech? – Rovina Broomfield – Ignite Seattle #37

After Rovina Broomfield moved from Chicago to Seattle to start working at a large tech company, she wanted to become part of the local community. As she’d meet people, though, many would start by expressing their surprise at, well, a black woman moving to Seattle and working in tech. One day, at a brunch, she heard another black woman in tech describe herself as a “unicorn,” and decided she’d had enough.

When we see someone who is, as Rovina puts it, “a rare, or an only”, she asks that we realize: they know they’re rare. They pushed through that and decided to act, despite having few role models. But throughout history, many people had to start as an “only.”

Instead of focusing on their uniqueness in our community, we need to focus on making them part of our community. Like a transplant who’s just moved to a new city, people who are rare need to feel welcome and cool, not rare and untouchable. So, you’re black in tech? As Rovina puts it, “let’s go from being transplants to being locals.”

photo by: Brady Harvey

Ignite #37 Preview: Exploring the 8th Continent

Most people think there are seven continents: Asia, Africa, Antarctica, Europe, Australia, and North and South America.

Cindy Wu is not most people. As a board member of the National Speleological Society, she’s become very familiar with a secret, 8th continent.

Where is the 8th continent? If you’ve ever met Cindy (or looked up the word “speleological”), you might have a pretty good idea. Still, we’re not going to be the one to spoil the secret.

Join us on October 4th as Cindy tells the story of her first visit to this isolated place, gives us a taste for what it’s like to be there (“you kind of get a feeling for what it felt like to stand on the moon for the first time”), and explains how you can safely visit too.

This is part of a series previewing the talks we’ll be hosting at Ignite Seattle #37. Interested? Get your tickets, but make it quick: Ignite Seattle sells out.