Navigate / search

Ignite Madison #9, Unique Jobs

Tuesday, May 17th, 6:30-8:30pm

This Ignite Madison event will be talks about Unique Jobs. As with previous Ignites, the event will be at the High Noon Saloon and will feature 10 people with stories to tell about their “Unique Jobs”.  

Be sure not to miss it – as the evening will also include DJ Mike Carlson, pre-, mid- and post-speaker social/bar time, a raffle and in general, a great night with at least 200 of your closest Madison friends!

Our nonprofit partner for this event is Literacy Network. Funds from this event support their great work.

Buy Tickets Here >

Video Production By:

Our MC for the night:

Proceeds To…


Sponsored By…

Our Speakers…

Let Your Passion In

Emily Blankenship

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset


Emily earned a BS in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Arizona State. She worked at the City of Mesa’s Office of Diversity producing on-the-ground social issue documentary screenings from PBS while consulting for several creative small businesses. Mixing her management talents and passion for diversity awareness led her to HI USA.

Jason Stephens: Professional Imitator

Jason Stephens


Jason Stephens is a professional voice actor, specializing in voice matching. He has been heard on the Tonight Show, in major motion pictures (and film trailers), YouTube videos (with over 40 million views to his credit), and in advertisements around the world.


Unlocking the Secretes of Antarctic Meteorology

Matthew Lazzara


Matthew Lazzara, a meteorologist, is an associate scientist at UW–Madison and principal investigator of the Antarctic Automatic Weather Station Project. He is faculty at Madison College, where he teaches weather and climate courses. He has deployed to Antarctica 9 times over the last 20 years.


How Managing My Rock Band Taught Me The Power of Being Naive

Spencer X Smith


Spencer Smith is the principal of Spencer X Smith Consulting and an instructor at the University of Wisconsin. He helps teach his clients digital marketing and social media in plain English, and has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Money magazine and dozens of other publications.



Vivienne Andersen


Vivienne Andersen, a full-time REALTOR®, grew up in California, but is not at all what the Beach Boys had in mind.  She has a Masters of Divinity degree to compliment her Bachelors in Psychology. She loves public speaking. She is a member of the WRA’s Diversity in Real Estate committee, and the Marketing and PR Chair for the Junior League of Madison. She is even a MOTH GrandSlam Champion. Vivienne can fly, she can forgive sins, and she can sell a large house in a single day, she is basically a super hero in heels, you should definitely connect with her.

Getting away, fly up to the heavens

Ahmed Al-Niaimi


Ahmed Al-Niaimi, is a gynecologic Oncology surgeon at the UW, who cares for patients with cancer.  Between surgeries, chemotherapy and talking to patients about death and dying, life becomes stressful.

Three jobs that have made everything else easy

Jeremy McKinley


An only child from a small island town in the northwest, Jeremy was always the last to finish eating. He has worked with commercial fishermen, gang kids, mental patients, and bicycle retailers. Most recently Jeremy moved with his family from Seattle to Madison to take care of marketing in North America for Trek bicycles.


To cover or Not to Cover, That’s the Problem

Saideh Jamshidi


Saideh Jamshidi is an Iranian-American journalist, and founder of Goltune, an online digital magazine focusing on Muslim women fashion and lifestyle.



Kären Miskimen


Kären is a renaissance woman and crafty chickadee who’s learned much from her resourceful mother of 9. A sourdough baker, gardener, preserver and fixer of most things, She believes it’s in everyone’s best interest to learn and hone a craft or two. Kären has found it keeps you curious and increases your joy as well as social standing.

The Odd Job of Being Yourself

Michael Fenchel


Michael is a serial social entrepreneur, cultural explorer, and passionate evolutionary. He enjoys nature, music, and being here, now, with inspiring people.

Buy Tickets Here >

Win a FREE Madison City Tin. Here’s How

What is a Madison City Tin?

It’s a tin of coasters. 20 coasters to be exact.  Each coaster is a $10 Dollar Gift Card at one of these 20 Great Madison Restaurants. Yes, that’s $200 value.

How you can win.

Each and every day between now and our May 17th Ignite Event, we’ll be giving away one of these City Tins.

To enter, all you have to do is Tweet about the event and cc our twitter handle (so we can keep track).  You just need to tweet once and you’re in all the drawings from now until May 17th.  Here’s a sample tweet, you can copy and paste.

Looking forward to the next @IgniteMadison "Unique Jobs". May 17th at the @HighNoonMadison tix: #storytelling


  1. Which restaurants? The ones below. You can read more about City Tins.
  2. Do I need to tweet each day?  No.  Just once please. Spamming teh twitters will get you nowhere fast.
  3. What about Facebook?  Sorry.  While we would 💙 if you posted on Facebook, their rules don’t allow this sort of thing.
  4. What about Instagram? We’re working on it.
  5. Where do I pick up my City Tin if I win?  At the event silly.

These 2o Great Restaurants

Amazing Door Prizes for Ignite Madison #9


We’re giddy about Our sponsor for this Ignite.

City Tins Madison has donated 60 tins ($2,000 value) to our event and we’re going to give every single ticket holder a city tins coaster worth $10!!

What this means is that EVERY PERSON who buys a ticket ($9) gets a $10(!) coupon for one of the below restaurants.  How cool is that?!

AND, we’ll be having the normal raffle for 30 tins!


What?!  Yes, 30 door prize winners for this Ignite Madison event.  It’s going to be bonkers.



AND from now until the event, we’re going to be giving away 20 MORE TINS. Yes! We’re going to give away One MADISON CITY TIN ($30 value) to a lucky person each and every day for 20 days.  Stay tuned for details.


To be entered in the door prize drawing, just buy your tickets online.

The theme is Unique Jobs and we have a great lineup of speakers.

Each tin includes 20 coasters. Each coaster is a $10 gift card!

To be entered in the door prize drawing, just buy your tickets online.

Ignite Madison #8, Getting Away Recap

Thanks for Coming!!

9 speakers each gave 5 minute presentations with the theme of the night “Getting Away.” The night included DJ Mike Carlson, a live video stream by Hinckley Design & Production (viewed by folks all over the planet), and all proceeds went to Arts Wisconsin.

Watch the videos below or on the playlist on YouTube.

Video Production By:

Our MC for the night:


10 Class Pass Valued at $149.

Bliss Flow on Facebook | Twitter

5 Class Pack Valued at $90.

The Studio on Facebook

Adventure and Travel Gear

Grand Trunk on Facebook | Twitter

Door Prizes for Ignite Madison #8

Thank You Door Prize Donors!

To be entered in the door prize drawing, just buy your tickets online.

The theme is Getting Away and we have a great lineup of speakers.

10 Class Pass Valued at $149.

Bliss Flow on Facebook | Twitter

5 Class Pack Valued at $90.

The Studio on Facebook

Adventure and Travel Gear

Grand Trunk on Facebook | Twitter

5 Tickets to the next Ignite


Our Partners Who Provide Free Services

Hinckley Design & Production

Leading the way in live HD video streaming and online video branding services.

Hinckley on Facebook | Twitter  

Mike Carlson & MC Audio

Your Source for Pro DJ Equipment, Accessories and Music

MC Audio on Twitter 

Ignite Madison #8, Getting Away

Tuesday, January 19th, 6:30-8:30pm

This Ignite Madison event will be talks by people inspiring and enlightening us about how they “get away”. As with previous Ignites, the event will be at the High Noon Saloon and will feature 10 people with stories to tell about “Getting Away”.  

Be sure not to miss it – as the evening will also include DJ Mike Carlson, pre-, mid- and post-speaker social/bar time, a raffle and in general, a great night with at least 200 of your closest Madison friends! This event is truly a party.

Our nonprofit partner for this event is Arts Wisconsin. Funds from ticket sales go directly to them.

Buy Tickets Here >

Video Production By:

Our MC for the night:

Buy Tickets Here >


Our Speakers

How did a girl like me, end up in Pakistan?

Kathy Utley


Currently working as a nonprofit consultant for the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium. Formerly the Food Security Manager at the Goodman Community Center & The Construction Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. Currently serve on the Madison Food Policy Council and the Dane County Commission on Poverty. The mother of three beautiful children and the proud grandmother of three lovely granddaughters.

How Yoga Helps Me Not Be An Ass

Stephen Balsley


Stephen is a husband and a dad and a bike rider and a yogi. He probably likes ice cream and beer and bourbon more than he should.

Malbec, Mate, y Montañas

Danette Daniels


Danette grew up in the mountains in Utah, lived in New York City, Connecticut, on the beach in Santa Cruz, California, and for the last 10 years in Madison. She loves travel, adventure, learning and speaking languages, meeting new people, and all things outdoors including road and mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, and trail running. She has been doing scientific research since she was 18, with a PhD in biophysics, and a long time focus on epigenetics and cancer. Her most favorite things in life are her family and her kids, including a foreign exchange student this year.

I get away to get to work

James Burnham


Born and raised in Decatur Georgia, I first travelled to China in 1998. I came to Wisconsin in 2003 to work with the International Crane Foundation and received a M.S. from UW-Madison in 2007. I’m currently working on a Ph.D. there in the department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology.

My Recurring Dream

Mark E. Griffin


Mark Griffin is a storyteller from the east coast who calls Madison home. He loves stale coffee served by gruff waitresses, strange people, and familiar places.

He loves when you laugh. And he loves it when you are amazed by things. He is sometimes happy, sometimes sad, and also experiences other emotions that you do too.

You know where to find him.

Get Away…at Your Local Library!

Tracy Herold


As a librarian and library director for more than 20 years, Tracy has seen first hand how technology has transformed libraries from housing collections to making connections. She is the director of the Dane County Library Service, an agency that delivers library service to county residents in cool ways – think Bookmobile!

Out of Your Mind

Otehlia Cassidy


Otehlia founded Madison Eats in 2012, after spending years trying to create her ideal job which combines a passion for great food, teaching, dancing, and sustainable community development. What emerged is a business connecting people with Madison’s rich local food scene through food tours, and special foodie events. Otehlia busts a move whenever possible.

Life in the Bike Lane

Jackson Foote


Jackson Foote, a former strategic communicator for political advocacy groups, came to Madison to pursue “the life of the mind”… he became thoroughly disillusioned with the higher-education-non-profit-financial complex and now does landscaping/snow removal.

Onwards We Go

Christina Taddy


Christina Taddy co-founded Onwards with her brother, Jacob. She shared a similar love for travel, especially after spending time throughout central America in a study abroad program. She holds a variety of experiences from micro-enterprise development with FoodRoots in Oregon, teaching in Honduras, receiving her Masters of Public Administration, and currently serving as the Development and Operations Manager at Milwaukee Riverkeepers.

Door Prizes for Ignite Madison #7

Thank You Door Prize Donors!

To be entered in the door prize drawing, just buy your tickets online.

The theme is Social Good and we have a great lineup of speakers.

One Month of Unlimited Yoga. A $160 Value.

When the team at Inner Fire Yoga says they “care profoundly about the well-being of individuals and the greater community,” that’s not an empty sentiment. Since opening in 2002, they’ve raised over $89,000 for causes both near and far, from Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) of Dane County to the relief effort for the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They also sponsor a scholarship program that awards a three-month unlimited membership to a deserving nominee who otherwise couldn’t afford it.

Boulder’s Gym Day Pass, 4 of Them!  $80 Value.

Boulders Climbing Gym has climbing for all levels of climbers from first-timers to veteran climbers. With knowledgeable and experienced staff in the many forms of climbing, people entering Boulder’s Gym, will experience a free lesson on how to use rope systems and be able to climb on over 8,000 square feet of climbing space.

3 Month All Access Gym Membership. $240 Value.

Includes all group fitness and yoga classes.

Four $25 Gift Cards.

We’re happy to be supported by Cafe Hollander, opening their first Madison location in late October at Hilldale. Grand Cafe inspired by the Benelux region of Europe, featuring amazing outdoor dining, a world-class bier list and from-scratch food.

Can be used at the upcoming Cafe Hollander Hilldale location as well as those in Milwaukee.

$70 of Gift Cards.

The Roman Candle pizzeria has been hand-tossing award winning pizzas to Madison neighborhoods since 2005. The Roman Candle has four Madison locations and has been recognized by Best of Madison – Madison Magazine, Taste of Madison, Isthmus Favorites, and others.

3 Month Dedicated Desk.  A $500 Value.

Ignite Madison has our speaker practice sessions at Horizon.

Conveniently located on the square and situating you at one of the hubs of Madison’s growing entrepreneurial community, with great internet connectivity and spaces to meet and work.

Ignite Madison #7, Social Good

Tuesday, September 22nd, 6:30-8:30pm

This Ignite Madison event will be a collaboration with the Madison Nonprofit Day.  As with previous Ignites, this will be at the High Noon Saloon and will feature 10 people with stories to tell about their work doing social good.  

Be sure not to miss it – as the evening will also include DJ Mike Carlson, pre-, mid- and post-speaker social/bar time, a raffle and in general, a great night with at least 200 of your closest Madison friends! This event is truly a party — one that celebrates the people who are all about putting thought into action.

Tickets are $9 in advance and $14 at the door. All proceeds go to the Madison Nonprofit Day.

Is part of your life dedicated to “the greater good” or improving the lives of others? Are you someone who makes helping people a priority? Won’t you consider telling your personal story? Please apply to speak.


Video Production By:

Our MC for the night:




Buy Tickets Online Today!

Our Speakers

Fire Fighters Local 311

Sam Yackel


Sam joined the Madison Fire Department in 2007 and became a trustee of the non-profit in 2010.  His goal for L311 Charities is to touch as many facets of Madison and help a diverse group of people in a different way than just being on the clock at the Fire Station.

Mastering Social Justice: MA not required

Breanna Illéné

Breanna Illéné is the tattooed, bike riding, millennial pastor at Trinity UMC in Madison who is trying to rethink what church looks like. She has a piece of paper that says she mastered social justice, but she is still learning about what it means to put her values into practice. Her passions include community building, food (both cooking and eating), and lots and lots of coffee.

Why mentoring is essential to social progress

Jeff Burkhart

Jeff Burkhart is the Executive Director of Literacy Network of Dane County, a not-for-profit organization serving adults and families.  He holds an M.S. Continuing and Vocational Education from University of Wisconsin- Madison and a BA Journalism from Indiana University.

The Ripple Effect of Kindness

Jen Anderson

The 30 year old Madison native is an avid triathlete and two-time Ironman Wisconsin finisher.  She is dedicated to growing the endurance community in Madison as Director of Operations for Capitol View Events, a local endurance event company. When not racing or directing, she can be found dancing with Madison Ballet or taking her black lab to the dog park.

A Cub Scout Goes to War

Andy Wallman

Andy is one of the co-founders of Goodstock, a pro bono event for non-profits held by Madison ad agency KW2, where Andy is President. Since 2004, KW2 has donated over $2.1 million in advertising and marketing goods and services to over 110 non-profit organizations in Dane County.

The Coolest Kids in School

Jahlieh Henderson

Jahlieh is a high school special education teacher at Columbus High School in Columbus, WI. She works primarily with students with intellectual disabilities, focusing on peer mediated supports and relevant connections to curriculum and community. At CHS, Jahlieh serves as the Project Unify Coordinator and Head Forensics Coach. In December of 2014, she was honored to accept the June Downing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Educator of the Year Award for the TASH organization.  Jahlieh is currently finishing her master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis in transition, autism and applied behavior analysis.

The Hook Is The Key

Will Green

Will is the Founder of Mentoring Positives, Inc. a mentoring program working with at-risk youth in Madison Wisconsin. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and is from Gary, Indiana.  Will has over 22 years of experience working with youth and families with behavioral and emotional issues. In 2014 Will was recognized by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity as the Citizen Of The Year.

Reprogramming My Life Path Around My Passion

Garrett Lee

Garrett Owen Lee is a proud father of a joyous six-year-old. Since leaving academia, he took his knowledge of network dynamics to the streets where he continues to listen and learn.

He founded WHY–We Help You, which aims to build community and develop solutions to address socioeconomic inequality. He also created GoodPoint, which promotes “Good Capital” as a complementary currency that values the abundant goodness that we all share.

From Dream to Reality

Kathy Johnson

Kathy is a Wisconsin native and has been an advocate for people with disabilities, either professionally or as a citizen member of the Madison Physical Disabilities Commission. Now Founder and CEO of a new nonprofit.

Ambition: So our children will like us

Maurice Cheeks

Maurice Cheeks serves on the Madison Common Council. His agenda is to ensure that Madison is a national example for innovating to eliminate opportunity gaps, increasing citizen engagement, and designing for anticipated population growth. Maurice is Director of the Wisconsin Innovation Network, a statewide program of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Buy Tickets Online Today!