Meet the Ignite Denver 27 Speakers

Sparks are voted in by the community. For one week, we open up the voting and encourage the community to take 5 minutes and vote. We strive to be a supportive community and ask that each person takes the time to rank each and every Spark. Anyone can speak at Ignite! There is no set requirement, other than that each talk is 5 minutes with 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds.

Meet the Ignite Denver 27 speakers >>


Nicole Nageli


Legacies live on long after the people who create legacies are gone. Hear from the insight of a bright 13 year old.

Brian Peterson


There’s no such thing as a stupid questions, right? Wrong. But we shouldn’t be afraid to ask them. I’m going to share how asking stupid questions can help you become the smartest person in the room.

Nita Mosby Tyler


I grew up drinking from the Colored water fountain. I learned a lot about quenching my thirst during that time and that has brought me to now question what real or metaphorical “fountains” the rest of us are drinking from.

Lawrence Wagner


Through virtual reality (VR) students from underserved population can develop an increase interest and confidence in (STEM) education and entrepreneurship. Allowing them access to high paying jobs, therefore reducing the income equity gap.

Bruce Daley


Protecting wealth will be difficult in the future.  Blockchain currencies can be good hedges against inflation, unrest, and financial crises but have risks as well.  Most people  have no clue how they work, but in 5 minutes they can!

Carlyn Shaw


Learn how a childhood past time can create confidence and connections! I love bubbles. Why? They transform relationships, dissipate fear & build awareness. Just because we’re adults, doesn’t mean we need to act like one.

Amanda Gold


My dad is one of my biggest supporters as I near my 3rd year of joyous recovery from drugs and alcohol. I put him through hell. I want to thank him and encourage other parents and “lost” children: It’s never too late.

Joseph Chehouri


The day I landed my dream job, my car got towed. I didn’t care. I was about to get paid to fly around the world, hobnob with fancy executives and eat in five star restaurants. I was also about to lose friends, family and a lot of freedom.

Shaughnessy Speirs


Having a child, working in a male-dominated field – much of my experience has taught me about deep bonds between women and what they do for us. I would like to share some of that, and what they can teach all of us.

Taj Moore


When the important people in your life make “requests” that feel like “demands,” you need to negotiate. We will explore use of language and a combination of FBI hostage negotiation and child psychology to win the long game.

Tammy Abramovitz


My long time friendship with Maddy is a visual story told through art. Over 20+ years, I have acquired some 40+ pieces. The collection is a vivid and sometimes provocative view of the people and the things we love.

Scott Slack


I am a sex addict. I have begged for it, paid for it and have put getting it over my career and family. This isn’t a talk about sex though. This is a talk about shame and my war with it.  My name is Scott Slack and this is my story.



I have transient amnesia and have become my own lab rat. In the moment of amnesia, it is logically obvious amnesia evaporated my personal knowledge or who and where I am. Later, in hindsight I remember 95% of the amnesia event.

Gena Ozols


Gaston from Beauty and the Beast is everything a man like Donald Trump could ever hope to be. In a pursuit to be questioned, followed and lusted after, Trump has modeled his life after the perfect and vile embodiment of toxic masculinity.

Lily Nussbaum


An overview of the issues in the legal system for survivors of sexual assault and what can be done to fix it. I would be talking about what I’ve learned from literative, experts in the field, and my own experience.

Karen Stewart


“I hear staff “Yes kill them all.” Worked 1 yr w/ Doctor’s Without Borders clinic addressed stigma discrimination with HIV/AIDS. Became deeply connected to the team. Such incongruence. I make decision I will say aloud “I am a lesbian””

Ignite Alumni



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Sarabeth Berk

Imagination: That Thing We Have But Stopped Using

It drives me crazy that most adults have forgotten how to use their imagination. On a daily basis, I require adults to brainstorm, and quite simply, they don’t generate anything wacky. Let’s remember how to tap into this awesome resource.

Teena Evert

Root Rot

Rejection is painful, it feels deeply personal and when the root of rejection stems from your family system, I call it root rot. It’s painful on the inside, but on the outside, it can be expressed as regression, rebellion or complacency.

Aaron DeLay

Middle Schoolers Are Not Demons

My field experience was the pit of despair – Middle School. I wanted to hate it. It took 5 weeks. And I fell in love with them. I”ll share what they taught me – from the tears of heartbreak to the joy of redemption and back again.

Ian Harwick

Healing Our Country Through Mandatory Service

I would talk why we should bring back national service. The reasons would include people getting know one another despite color/age/orientation, learning new skills, infrastructure improvements, small towns getting a boost.

Matt Need

Learning from Bullet Holes

In college, I heard a lecture from an aeronautical engineer who was stationed on an aircraft carrier during WWII. His unique experience in aircraft design sticks with me whenever I apply myself to a problem.

Sherisse Hawkins

This Isn’t Political

Why it’s worth standing up for someone different than you. (Delivered by someone with a little more melanin). Amusing ways to constructively deal with “isms” (sexism, racism, triumphalism, atheism) especially when they’re not directed at you.

Lauren Gardner

Jackpot! I’m Not Dead!

On July 7, 2007 I woke up from a coma after having survived a near death experience. I want to explore some of the key lessons I’ve learned my last nine years in recovery and how they highlight the privilege of being alive.

Jermaine Charles

How to Infiltrate Circles of Influence

Do you want to be considered a major player in your industry/field of choice? Do you want to go from asking how to get in the room to having a seat at the table? I’ll tell you how I built my network without ever handing out a business card.

Norbert Peyfuss

Dizzying Days – Dealing with the Needs of One Aging Parent, or Two?

Dad got cancer, died 2.5mths later. He was the crutch for mom’s ALZ. Their outlook changed radically, quickly. I educated myself on choices needed to guide & help them. Every day dad had one less, and I could only keep helping…

Greg Roche

Don’t count on motivation

It’s 2017, and you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution. You fail because you rely on your buddy Motivation. He’s your friend who bails at the first sign of trouble. To succeed, don’t count on Motivation, count on Discipline.

Jason B. Kendrick

Heart Power

Consciously connecting to your heart as much and as often as possible in your everyday life will increase your happiness, groundedness, connection to others, improve your communications and make you a master manifestor!

Ethan Simonton

Starving, Dancing, And Surviving: The Homeless MBA

Shaking my booty on the streets of New Orleans taught me more about entrepreneurship, hustle, and courage in one weekend than 4 years of business school. I went seeking gratitude; I returned with a knapsack full of juicy nuggets of wisdom.

Lisa Wimberger

Healing Mind and Body through Self-directed Neuroplasticity

We can heal many things from depression and anxiety to disease and paralysis through the gifts of our own mind.


Danielle Norris

Danielle Norris

The Language of Poverty

There is a language barrier that separates us in ways that make it almost impossible to make change happen in our world today. When we think in the context of a language gap we tend to automatically make the assumption of language in the terms of foreign languages. But there is a bigger problem than not understanding a person if they speak Spanish, English, or Mandarin. That problem is the barrier in the “language” of socioeconomic status. The real obstacle is the hidden rules and languages that plague the people in poverty and everyone else from seeing the magic hidden beneath.

Pete Winterscheidt

Pete Winterscheidt

Where’s my Rosie the Robot?

The Jetsons first aired 54 years ago, since then we put a man on the moon, built the internet, and have cars that can drive across the country. So why can’t I get a decent robot to clean my house for me?

Marjorie Alexander

Marjorie Alexander

The Future of Transit is in Coffee

There is a direct correlation between US cities with the best transit system and the amount of caffeine being consumed.

John L. Forrest

John L. Forrest

Science Fiction Saves the World. Or not.

Science fiction has gone mainstream, and what was once fiction is becoming fact: in communications, medicine, travel, manufacturing, and so on. Our stories of the future tell us less about these artifacts, though, than about ourselves.

Amanda Erck

Amanda Erck

Gut Explosions and Funnel Cakes

After being diagnosed with celiac disease and not being able to eat anything delicious without burning holes in my intestines, I started a food truck full of breaded deep fried things.

Danielle Bilbruck

Danielle Bilbruck

Private Life, Public Forum: Sharing Your Personal Life on Social Media

Doesn’t oversharing private details on public spaces leave you open to scrutiny? I will argue that there is power in sharing one’s personal experiences and private life details on a public forum, including building community.

Lia Moran

Lia Moran

Born at the Right Time

When I was a baby, my young unwed mother took me to an orphanage in New Delhi. I was cared for by nuns before my Midwestern parents chose me. As a kid, I wanted to be light skinned and blue-eyed; I wanted to fit in. As an adult, I know I fit in because of my differences and unique history.

Heather Nelson

Heather Nelson

The Win-Win-Win

Organizations look for a “win-win”–profit/fulfilled mission and happy customers. There is a third “win” right in the middle, the win for the staff. This is actually what the new American Dream is all about–a fulfilled staff innovates.


Matt Hyder

Matt Hyder

How To Be Taken Seriously As A Young Entrepreneur

I am a 23 year old Fail-a-preneur until recently. Through my journey I have failed many times and have four key things that helped me break down the doors to achieve success with professional athletes, teams and being featured on national TV. Here are my four keys: Passion, Research Research Research, Relationships and Honesty.

Jamie Shapiro

Jamie Shapiro

The Foundation of Leadership: Real Food

I am here to share with you what I have found both personally and professionally to be the foundation of leadership performance – Food. Food has a profound impact on how you lead and show up for others. We are in a culture where businesses are focused on driving for results and being fueled by caffeine and sugar. 

Elizabeth Giorgi

Elizabeth Giorgi

My Bad Job Reviews Made Me an Awesome CEO

In my “grown up” jobs, I regularly heard that I didn’t smile enough, I was too competitive and too aggressive. Putting aside any misogynistic undertones, these same skills formed the foundation for being successful when I started my business three years ago. And believe it or not, I smile more because of it.

Brenton Weyi

Brenton Weyi

Humans Are Paradoxes

The world is anything but a simple place. And as human beings, we fear uncertainty. And yet, life is a constant representation of tension — a juxtaposition of opposites that makes us feel truly alive. Good and Evil. Love and Hate. Altruism and Greed. From the best stories to the most compelling movements, we are inspired and enlivened by the paradoxical desires be unique, yet forge deep connections to others. Learning to navigate and accept this tension in both ourselves and the world leads to the greatest impact on the outside world and our own lives.

Doyle Hanks

Doyle Hanks

Love: the Bridge to Laughter

Love and humor are intertwined. As a comic, I’ve seen many people who’ve sought both, frustrated because developing a sense of humor seems so elusive; at the same time, many people say they would have more love in their lives, and are equally frustrated when it doesn’t show up. But I say we get to have both…and they help one another. Having a sense of humor can improve our capacity for love and our capacity to love can improve our sense of humor.

Brian Gryth

Brian Gryth


In 2014, I walked away from an award winning first of its kind program I founded and ran, and I ended my marriage of 8 years. Tl;DR I quit. I quit in a world that believes that winners never quit and quitters never win. So in that world, is it ever okay to quit? Of course and I’ll tell you why in my 5 minutes, based on my experience of being a quitter!

Sandee Billen Maas

Sandee Billen Maas

“You Don’t Look Sick!” – When Public Opinion Goes Wrong

Everyone has a list of things they believe to be true. One of those beliefs is that sick people look a certain way- that they may be in wheelchairs, or disfigured. The real truth is that in 2011 I became a walking contradiction to most people. I was diagnosed with scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that causes hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues, sometimes without obvious visual symptoms. Over the years, I have found my strength in educating people about this disease and would like to share my story to encourage kindness.

Emily Stones

Emily Stones

Ban the Brand™: The Dark Side of Marketing 101

Branding drives today’s market, as consumers are increasingly interested in the personality of a product, its positive effect on society, and its political message. This speech dissects feel good advertising – those brands that make you smile and say “awww” – and it reveals the dark underbelly of these advertising techniques.

Meghan Saylor

Meghan Saylor

Square Peg, Round Hole

Ever feel like an outsider? A lone wolf? A troublemaker? Or just different? Yeah, me too. In a world full of round holes, I learned how to use my experiences as a square peg to build castles, bridges, platforms and shelters. Life is unexpected, and it’s easy to feel like an isolated, terminally unique outlier. This is how I made my difference my strength without cutting any corners.

Kelly Underell

Kelly Underell

Life Is Too Short To Not Do What you Want To Do And Be Who You Want To Be

We often talk about bucket lists and what we will do “one day”. About who we want to be when we grow up and the legacy we want to leave behind. But then we tuck these wish lists safely away in the drawer behind the excuses of our everyday distractions, always thinking we will get to it tomorrow. We blink and years go by, and we are left wondering how it can go so fast. It is hard to think about, but I often wonder what people will say about me in my eulogy when my time here ends. I know someone won’t be reading my resume out loud or talking about what is left in my bank account because that is what life should be measured by. Our bucket list should not just include what we want to do, but who we want to be and what we are going to do to get there. Achieving this requires vulnerability and intentionally. So, what is on your list? And what are you waiting for?

Lori Heisler

Lori Heisler

Enough is Enough: Somebody Needs to Speak Up

Martin Luther King did it. Blake Mycoskie did it. The Broncos did it. Why can’t we? What does it take to inspire a movement?

Chrissie Hodges

Chrissie Hodges

Pure OCD/Intrusive Sexual Obsessions: It’s Not As Pure As It Sounds

Welcome to the dark side of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. There are many forms of OCD, and one in particular is rarely talked about openly due to the shame and embarrassment surrounding the nature of the obsessions. I live with Pure O/Sexual and Violent Intrusive thoughts. As an advocate for mental health and OCD, I use humor and storytelling to help audiences grasp the severity and torment of this crippling disorder in a society where every other person claims they are ‘so OCD’ in one capacity or another. My talk will include my personal journey with Pure O as well as information on OCD and how to walk the road to recovery. I often say Pure O is like the dirty little secret of the OCD world, however it is one of the most common yet silent types of the disorder.


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