Ashley McGirt – Dying Black (Ignite Seattle #40)

I don’t have to do nothing
but eat, drink, stay black, and die.

Langston Hughes, “Necessity”

Ashley McGirt has heard this sentiment repeated by her family since she was a child. Her grandmother’s take, “All I got to do is stay black and die” is particularly ingrained in her mind.

People of color die younger and at a higher rate, largely due to heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other cardiac problems. As Ashley says, “we are not dying well, and black people especially are not dying well.”

Ashley has a unique view into this problem as a licensed mental health therapist, and on October 3, she’ll share what she’s learned about this inequity in death, and how to die well.

If you haven’t registered for Ignite Seattle #40 yet, get your ticket today.

Seven great reasons to come to Ignite Seattle #40 (Thurs Oct. 3rd)

We’re thrilled to bring you another edition of the best open submission public speaking event in the Northwest. We’re on a long stretch of sold out shows, so don’t wait to long to get your tickets.

Our shows are a great, fun, social experience, perfect for a date night, catching up with old friends or even just to hang out with coworkers after work. 

If you’ve never come before, or have missed a few, this is a great one. Here are seven reasons to come to Ignite 40:

  1. Know Anyone with OCD? Melissa Reaves will talk about the profound effects on her family of having a child with the condition and how they’ve learned to cope and grow. 
  2. Wonder what the impact of what you eat really is? Mary Purdy will explain how you can save the world, just by what you put under  your fork.
  3. Did you know there are almost 450,000 foster children in the U.S.? Karlos Dillard, a foster adult, will teach us how they see life differently, something we should know as some people in our lives were likely once in the foster system. 
  4.  Rovina Broomfield, Ignite Seattle alum (So you’re Black in Tech), will be our fantastic Guest MC for the entire evening. 
  5. Have you been arrested for a serious crime you didn’t even know you were commtting? Angela Barris’ surprising story involves a children’s toy, drawn guns, a concussion and bloody hands! Come to hear they whole wild tale.  
  6. Easily beat the traffic and grab a pre-show snack or drink in the neighborhood near Town Hall Seattle with our recommendations.
  7. Plus eight more talks on a wide array of challenging, fun and entertaining subjects.

You will hate yourself if you don’t come. I mean, it’s Thursday night – shouldn’t you start your weekend a day early? We think you deserve it.

Doors open at 6:30pm (as does the cash bar). Talks start at 7:30pm, with an  intermission. Full list of speakers and topics.

Announcing Guest MC: Rovina Broomfield – for Ignite Seattle #40

At our #39th event, it worked out so well to have Nicole Steinbok as a guest MC, we’re doing it again for #40.

This time it’s Ignite Seattle alum Rovina Broomfield. She’ll be the master of ceremonies (thats what MC, or emcee, means after all) introducing the audience to the Ignite format and inviting our great lineup of speakers to the stage.

Tickets are on sale now (early bird price of $10) and as usual, we expect to sell out, so don’t wait.

She spoke at #37 at the Egyptian about “So You’re Black In Tech”.

Announcing speakers and stories for Ignite Seattle #40 – Oct. 3rd at Town Hall Seattle

We are excited to announce our speaker lineup for Ignite Seattle #40. We had over 60 submissions from which we picked our lineup of fantastic talks (thanks to all who took time to share their story with us).

Get your tickets now – just $10 at the early bird price, which ends soon. ($5 more after that).

  • The speakers and topics are fantastic. See the list below. 
  • We will sell out.
  • You save $5 now. Buy tickets before 9/19 and you get Early Bird pricing.

Here are our evening’s stories and storytellers (order is to be determined):

  • Saving the Planet with your Fork, Mary Purdy
  • Friend Of A Foster Child, Karlos Dillard
  • Urban Wildlife Gardening, Understanding Israel
  • How To See Your Own Perception Bias, Aeva Black
  • Turning orphanages into Creative Hubs, Simon Okelo
  • Does This P-value Make my Lies Look Good?, Josh Jelin
  • Why We Should Teach Kids to Write Fiction, Rebecca A. Demarest
  • Dying Black, Ashley McGirt
  • Confessions of an International Smuggler, Angela Barrus
  • How Religion Shaped me as a Scientist, FoSheng Hsu
  • OCD is a Family Affair, Melissa Reaves
  • I Like Your Shoes, Wanna Be Friends?, Nadine Khoury

What to expect at the show on Thursday, Oct 3rd:

  • Doors open at 6:30pm – get a drink, a snack, and play a game
  • Show starts at 7:30pm – with an intermission in the middle
  • After party at 9:30pm – celebrate the show with the speakers and organizers

$10 until Sept 19 – $15 after

Ignite Seattle #39 Recap

We had an amazing evening back at the newly renovated Town Hall Seattle. If you were there, thanks for coming. And if you missed it, well, at least you are here now!

In this recap post you’ll find links to the videos for all of the evening’s talks, but first we have a few important things to share.

Our next event, Ignite #40, is on Thursday, October 3rd.

Buying your tickets. We’ve sold out many events in a row, and we expect this one to be no different. Reserve your seats before it’s too late and at the early bird price.

(NEW) Ignite Open Mic Night. If you’ve wanted to speak at our main stage event but have been rejected in the past, or were intimidated by the size of the event, this is for you. This is a much less formal, and likely more fun speaking experience, and you’re guaranteed a spot if you sign up early enough (starting Thursday, June 13). Event is Monday, July 8th. Details here.


Ignite Seattle #39 – Talk Lineup and Videos

Ignite Seattle #39 is sold out – Here’s how you can still attend!

Ignite Seattle #39 has sold out! This is going to be one of our best shows yet, and if you missed your chance at a ticket, don’t despair. Here’s how to attend:


  1. Watch the event live online.
    For those of you who won’t be able to join us at the event, we’re working with Punch Drunk Productions to bring you the next best thing: a live-stream on the web which makes you feel like you’re in the front row. Sign up now!
  2. Join the standby line.
    At 6pm on Thursday, June 6th, we’re setting up a line outside Town Hall Seattle for standby tickets. We’ll release any unclaimed seats shortly before the show starts (there are usually some available).

The doors at Town Hall Seattle open at 6:30pm (bar & snacks), Show starts at 7:30pm.

(One last thing: if you’re an organization working with people traditionally underrepresented in public speaking – low-income, Black/Latinx, etc – we hold a limited number of completely free tickets for each event. If you’d like to be notified for our next event, or advise us on how to do better outreach, for Ignite Seattle #40 (October 3rd), please drop us a line at diversity@igniteseattle.com.)

Eight great reasons to come to Ignite Seattle #39 (Thurs June 6th)

We’re thrilled to bring you another edition of the best open submission public speaking event in the Northwest. We’re on a long stretch of sold out shows, but there are still some tickets left for this one (don’t wait).

If you’ve never come before, or have missed a few, this is a great one. Here are seven reasons to come to Ignite 39:

  1. We are one of the first events in Town Hall Seattle’s newly renovated Great Hall, it’s one of the best venues for live events in town (and their bar opens at 6:30pm)
  2. Wish you were McGyver? Evy Haroldson will tell us how she learned how to fix nearly anything.
  3. Curious about what happens when a transgender band plays a gig in a rural bar? Ginger Chien tells a great story of a lifechanging event.
  4. Nicole Steinbok, Ignite Seattle alumni and organizer, will be our guest MC. She’s a fantastic Ignite veteran and improv performer and we’re thrilled to have her host #39.
  5. Wonder what happens when you mix AI with cats? Ben Hamm talks about a machine learning project to help train his feline friend.
  6. Want to be a better friend (human or otherwise)? Christin Boyd explains how to do more they say “let me know how to help.” when a friend is in crisis.
  7. Beat the traffic and grab a pre-show snack or drink in the neighborhood near Town Hall Seattle – our recommendations.
  8. Plus eight more talks on a wide array of challenging, fun and entertaining subjects.

You will hate yourself if you don’t come. I mean, it’s Thursday night – shouldn’t you start your weekend a day early? We think you deserve it.

Go here to buy tickets ($15).  Doors open at 6:30pm (as does the cash bar). Talks start at 7:30pm, with an  intermission. Full list of speakers and topics.

And thanks to our new sponsor Mindhatch, local provider of design thinking and team improv training.

Announcing speakers and stories for Ignite Seattle #39 – June 6th at Town Hall Seattle

We are supremely pleased to announce our speaker lineup for Ignite Seattle #39. We had over 70 submissions of which we picked 12 fantastic talks (thanks to all who took the time to share their story with us). And we’re excited to return to Town Hall Seattle on Thursday, June 6th, now that their major renovations are finished.

Get your tickets now – just $10 at the early bird price, which ends tomorrow ($5 more after that).

  • The speakers are amazing. See the list below. 
  • We will sell out. We are currently over 55% sold. 
  • You save $5 now. Buy tickets before May 9 and you get Early Bird pricing.

Here is our excellent lineup (order is to be determined):

  • Cats, Rats, A.I., Oh My! –  Ben Hamm
  • I’m the weirdo who left the elevator note –  Sixta Morel
  • Design for Conflict –  Bonnie Toland
  • Oh, You’re a Mommy Who Wants to Work. How Sweet. –  Nancy Jensen
  • Fix Evy-thing –  Evy Haroldson
  • An Immigrant’s Battle –  Salome Munyaka
  • You can’t ask a choking man for instructions –  Christin Boyd
  • A transgender band walks into a rural Olympic Peninsula bar… –  Ginger Chien
  • Growing Up Un-Special –  Leah Scherschel
  • Forgive and Remember: How Forgiveness Really Works – Susan Fee
  • Retiring My “Best Idea” – Emoji Pillows –  Roberto Hoyos
  • Teaching the components of music to autistic people through multiple senses –  Kent Godfrey

What to expect at the show on Thursday, June 6th:

  • Doors open at 6:30pm – get a drink, snack and/or play a game
  • Show starts at 7:30pm – intermission in the middle
  • After party – celebrate the show with the speakers and organizers

$10 until Thursday – $15 after

Ignite Seattle #38 Recap

What to say about Ignite Seattle 38? We laughed, we cried… we cried some more. (There were a lot of emotional talks!) In the end this was another one for the history books.

Whether you attended in-person or online, thank you for joining us to hear so many of the wonderful stories Seattle has to offer.

Before we get to the list of talk videos, we wanted to remind you that Ignite Seattle #39 is only three months away! Please consider:

  • Submitting a talk. We want to hear your important, funny, or wonderful story on stage. Submissions close April 25.
  • Buying your tickets! Last Ignite sold out within hours of our speaker lineup announcement, and this one is selling even faster. We’re already more than 20% sold-out! Get a spot before it’s too late.

Ignite Seattle #38 – Talk Lineup and Videos

Ignite Seattle #38 is sold out! Here’s how you can still attend…

With two of the biggest days of ticket sales in our history, Ignite Seattle #38 has sold out only a day after publicly announcing our speakers. (Like I said yesterday: “WOW.”)

This is going to be one of our best shows yet, and if you missed your chance at a ticket, don’t despair. Here’s how to attend:


  1. Watch the event live online.
    For those of you who won’t be able to join us at the event, we’re working with Bootstrapper Studios to bring you the next best thing: a live-stream which makes you feel like you’re in the front row. Sign up now!
  2. Join the standby line.
    At 6pm on February 28, we’re setting up a line outside the Egyptian Theater for standby tickets. We’ll release any unclaimed seats shortly before the show starts.

(One last thing: if you’re an organization working with people traditionally underrepresented in public speaking – low-income, Black/Latinx, etc – we have a limited number of completely free tickets still available for you. Please drop us a line at diversity@igniteseattle.com.)