With Labor Day having just marked the end of summer and beginning of fall, you might be wondering how to hold onto that summer heat… While the Carroll Technology and Innovation Council doesn’t yet have the capabilities to spark a flame for your nightly fire, we can invite you to be ignited by the passionate people coming to the Ignite Carroll Stage. 

“Ignite is an opportunity for people in our community to hear many different perspectives in one place, in a short amount of time,” said Chris Abell who is organizing Ignite Carroll 10 and has presented in the past. The Ignite concept puts multiple speakers in front of an audience, giving them 5 minutes apiece to enlighten the crowd. “It allows for people to come together or start a conversation about topics they didn’t know they were interested in.” 

With a slogan like “enlighten us, but make it quick,” it seems most fitting that I hold this blog about Ignite to the same sentiment. So, let’s dive into what Ignite is all about.  

Who gets on stage? 

“Anyone can give an Ignite Talk,” said Firen Forrest, Ignite Talks President. If someone has something that sparks them, they have what it takes to be on an Ignite stage.  

Speakers share two things: a burning idea and the guts to get on stage and share it with the crowd. What they talk about and how they do it is up to them.

Coming to the Ignite Carroll stage this year is a lineup of folks ignited about everything from managing dreams and mental/behavioral health stigmas to the point of pointe ballet and the power of music. They are people that we know already – or will feel like we do by the end of their talk. 

“Getting up on stage and sharing yourself with your community is what Ignite Talks is all about—being vulnerable, sharing your passion, your insight, what motivates you or intrigues you,” said Forrest. 

What can I expect as an audience member? 

For each presentation, in 5 minutes, speakers will tell their story over the course of 20 slide presentations that auto-advances every 15 seconds. These constraints breed creativity for the presenter and, Forrest mentioned, sometimes creates “wacky situations” as the speaker tries to speed up or slow down to keep in time with the slides.  

The talks are short and punchy, and they’re often presented in a way that makes you think about the subject in a new way—an “aha” moment or an angle you weren’t anticipating,” said Forrest. 

The style of the evening moves at a quick and compelling clip and the bite size presentations allow the Ignite audience to hear from over a dozen presenters on one fun, fast paced night.  

“If you find a talk boring or just not your thing, you know it’s only going to be 5 minutes until something fresh and new comes along” added Forrest. 

Why should you attend? 

“A night of Ignite Talks rallies a community and gives that community a forum to know each other more deeply, to connect, and inspire each other,” said Forrest. “And after 2+ years of pandemic and isolation, we really need that.” 

The energy of an Ignite night is uniquely invigorating. Audience members have described the evening being electric and entertaining – an event they look forward to time and time again. Every year and every speaker is different, so you’re bound to learn and see something new.

You may also walk away with the motivation and inspiration to step onto the Ignite stage yourself next time.

Where can you see an evening of Ignite Talks? 

Passionate people are building up and taking to Ignite stages across the world from Sydney, Australia to Accra, Ghana – and our own Carroll County, Maryland on October 19, 2022. 

The Carroll Arts Center doors will be opening on this high-energy evening at 5 pm and the action will be taking place from 6 pm to 8 pm. This year will once again be hosted by the brilliant and energetic Vince Buscemi. 


Get your tickets today and follow @carrolltechcouncil on Instagram to see speakers spotlighted in the weeks leading up to Ignite Carroll. 

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