Igniting my Life

A few years ago my husband James Harris told me about an interesting event taking place in Waterloo called IgniteWaterloo.
Ignite Logo

Say what?

What is this whole concept of Ignite and why are they doing it in Waterloo? I was confused but at the same time intrigued.

At the time the events started, my husband and I were getting pretty involved in the idea of social media. We were active in organizing local tweetups for people in Waterloo and Wellington region, and were part of the original #galttweetup group. (If you need to know more about tweetups, read this blog post I wrote several years ago on the topic.)

This new medium of twitter was opening up our world to a whole new group of like minded people. We were on the cutting edge. We knew when things were happening at the time they were happening and we weren’t waiting for the tv or radio to tell us about them. My husband was far more involved in social networks and was much more willing to go out and experience new things and so he went off to Ignite by himself for the first few talks. He would come home completely energized, bouncing off walls to tell me about the speakers and the vibe and all the creativity.

Soon I was joining in and other than one big panic attack at the crush of the crowd, I was hooked. The speakers were amazing. So many of them were inspiring on so many levels. Public speaking on it’s own is not everyone’s strong suit. Not every person was born to take centre stage, yet here they were. On the stage for 5 whole minutes enlightening us the audience on anything they could think to talk about.

My friend Mike Shanks, who I met online initially but who I have come to consider someone I can completely trust and rely on, was talking at the first Ignite I attended about combining passions. Mike has his own franchise of a pretty familiar business but chose instead to write about two of his passions – running and beer. I knew he liked to run and keep fit, but this was my first time really seeing Mike take the stage and hearing his talk about the Beer Mile was golden. He paced his talk fast to match the theme of the run and everyone in the audience really responded to what he had to say. It was electric and almost made me want to run and it definitely made me want to drink a beer, but definitely not together.

Since that night, I’ve attended several more and since the majority of the talks were in Kitchener-Waterloo, my husband and I had often talked about how awesome it would be if we could bring something like this to Cambridge. He’s a Pisces so he’s great with coming up with ideas, but not so fantastic at following through with them. I’m a Sagittarius and really need a team to be able to keep my passions fired up.

As the years have gone on, life started happening and we both fell out of the loop of all that was going on in the social media scene. We would attend as many Ignite’s as we could and were happy to see that friends of ours in Guelph had started with their own group called IgniteGuelph. We both felt Ignite was a great concept but really couldn’t see bringing it to Cambridge unless we could get a few key people in place to help us.

Fast forward to last month, February 2014. I noticed a new twitter handle on the scene for @ignitecambridge. What? Is that Cambridge Ontario? Looking closer it was confirmed. Ignite is coming to Cambridge? That was such fantastic news that I immediately yelled down the hall for my husband to start following them. He did and told them he wants to be involved. At the time, they were on the lookout for volunteers and found that many of the volunteers they were getting have never been to an Ignite. They were happy to have us join the team and even more excited to know that we have been to many of the events.

As our little group evolved and began working with other Ignites in the area, we came to find out that IgniteWaterloo was designed as an event for the entire region and was already planning to come to Cambridge’s Dunfield Theatre. It is true that several of the speakers had come from Cambridge and it’s awesome to see that they will be coming here on a larger scale.

But what about us? What about Ignite Cambridge?

After talking about it at length the idea of changing the scope of the event was changed to a Pop Up. Okay Pop Up. Pop up? What does that even mean?

A quick google search returned with the following:

  • Pop-up events are often temporary, located in an unique environment, exclusive and a well-kept secret by their fans, often selling out in a matter of hours.

And a little further down the search I found this great article someone had posted on wellpreserved.ca titled “Why host a food event/pop up“. The points in the article are not only based on food events, but on the pop up idea in general. It’s exactly what we are looking for by adopting “PopUp” and possibly taking our event all around the region by finding some interesting spaces to do it.

For our little group now named IgnitePopUp our mission statement is:

 New places, new ideas. Engaging communities in interesting places on what matters most.

Since joining the IgnitePopUp crew, I’ve become involved as the Event Committee Coordinator. I’m not in charge of the whole thing (thank goodness) but I am responsible for ensuring we get an inspiring space that will hopefully spark some creativity and ingenuity within the crowd. I’ve already contacted many of the different venues in Cambridge that might have space for our event and have presented the options to the team. There are many facets to organizing an event of this type and I’m glad to be able to be part of it. Our event can only grow from here and it’s amazing to be part of something so new and exciting.

Several members of the Ignite group attended the IgniteGuelph event last week which really helped to get our minds rolling and kick our event into high gear. We are looking at a June event with the date and location still to be determined. If you are interested in learning more about our PopUp event, watch for updates on the Ignite PopUp twitter feed or our website www.ignitepopup.com.

In closing, I invite you to check out the video of my good friend Mike who spoke at IgniteWaterloo and did an amazing job.

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