On October 18, 2023, ten speakers will take to the Ignite Carroll stage to traverse topics of cannabis, communicating affection, imaginary friends, foods fit for a president, and beyond. The speakers are people we know already – or will feel like we do by the end of the night. The best part is, every Talk is 5 minutes long – it’s efficient, it’s high-energy, and it’s all happening right downtown at the Carroll Arts Center.

“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 11 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.” 

“Anyone can give an Ignite Talk,” said Firen Forrest, Ignite Talks President. Speakers on this year’s Ignite stage of varying levels of experience – some have taken on the stage for years, others have experience from separate speaking engagements, and some are facing their fear of speaking in front of a crowd right there on the Ignite stage. But they 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.

“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. 

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, even if you have attended before.

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

This year will also feature a Firecracker Networking session, inspired by the format of Ignite Talks. You’ll have an opportunity to inspire yourself and others by answering some questions we provide during the intermission.

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 18, 2023. 

The Carroll Arts Center doors will be opening on this high-energy evening at 5:30 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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