A group of hopeful volunteers set out to make a difference in the Charlotte community: their goal was to create a venue where quick talks, creative ideas, and passionate members of the community shared a stage.
The place? Neighborhood Theatre. The drinks? Plenty of them. The speakers? Nervous, excited, and maybe frightened.
Bridget B. Sullivan and Sam Fagan teamed up and thought that Ignite Charlotte could happen. They thought their team of volunteers could introduce something brand new into a city that is steadily climbing into the national limelight.
Well, August 4th came and it was time to see if they were right.
The 16 speakers were thrilled to see 250 people pack in the Neighborhood Theatre for the inaugural Ignite Charlotte (to be honest, the volunteers were probably a little more ecstatic than anyone else).
And the speakers rocked it! Patrick McLean, the very first speaker of Ignite Charlotte, explained where ideas came from. Bermon Painter talked about being a jack of all trades, and a master of many. And to cap it all off, David Wells spoke about using social media for the social good.
There are several parts that make an Ignite event awesome:
And last, but certainly not least, the speakers.
We hunted down some of the speakers from Ignite Charlotte 1 to tell us about their experience. Here’s what they had to say (thankfully, no bribes were necessary. Ignite Charlotte is a non-profit, after all):
Jim Van Fleet: “I’ve been excited about Charlotte’s potential for a long time, and participating in [Ignite Charlotte] has proven to me that this city has everything it needs to meet the 21st century head on. I would encourage anyone to share their big idea in this format for this audience. My experience as a speaker was incredible and unforgettable, and I’m humbled to have shared a stage with my co-presenters.”
David Wells: “Ignite Charlotte was a great experience because it helped my company Socialize Your Cause gain more traction in the local community and it also gave me an excellent opportunity to work on my public speaking skills! The format is a bit frightening at first but with a little practice you can make it work.”
Rajeev Kulkarni: “Ignite Charlotte was the perfect event to learn, have fun, and interact with individuals with ideas and as a speaker, put forth my own ideas in a succinct manner. Overall, an adrenaline rush and an enriching experience!”
Jason Silverstein: “For me, Ignite [Charlotte] was all about the passionate speakers and audience members. I truly appreciated seeing how much vision and experience was being shared openly and with no expectations. A truly fantastic event!”
Bermon Painter: “It was great to be part of the first Ignite Charlotte. The event was well-organized and had a nice variety of topics. I learned a lot, enjoyed the night and got to meet lots of other like-minded people in the area.”
Patrick E. McClean: “ It was a wonderful experience, not just presenting, but getting to meet so many interesting passionate people. If you are curious and you like learning new things, Ignite Charlotte is the event for you.”
Warren Cooksey: “I appreciate the opportunity Ignite Charlotte gave me to share in a very compact manner the knowledge of how citizens can be more involved with their government. While I hope to have the chance to speak on a different topic at Ignite Charlotte 2, even if I don’t there’s no way I would miss it.”