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Why I’m stepping down from Ignite Baltimore

Organizer Mike Subelsky explains why it's time for a leadership change — and shares videos of his favorite talks.

Ignite Baltimore co-organizer Mike Subelsky. (Photo by Flickr user Jared Goralnick, used under a Creative Commons license)
This is a guest post by Ignite Baltimore co-organizer and Staq cofounder Mike Subelsky.

For the past several years, Neal Shaffer, Jen Meyer and I have had the privilege of helping to organize Ignite Baltimore, where 16 (or so) speakers each get five minutes to present an idea with slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds.
It has been an extremely rewarding experience. Through Ignite we’ve met some of the most thoughtful, passionate and creative people around town. We even got to fly in one of the founders of Ignite, Brady Forrest (whose talk appears in the list below). Though I have been most publicly associated with Ignite, in reality it has been a group effort from the start: Patti Chan and I originally started working on Ignite back in 2008. Eventually the team grew to include awesome friends like Neal and Jen, and also Heather Sarkissian, Christian Malone, Lindsey Davis and Melissa Macchiavelli.
But now it’s time for new leadership and new ideas. Jen, Neal and I are stepping down from the Ignite Baltimore team.
I asked if I could blog about it here because Ignite is a community event, and is one of the leading lights of Baltimore’s innovation community. Melissa Macchiavelli is taking over my role as lead organizer and Catharine Robertson is joining the team. They are two of my favorite Baltimore leaders! (I still plan to provide behind-the-scenes technical assistance; email me if you’d like to help out on our open source projects.)
Ignite Baltimore is in totally good hands; the next event, Ignite Baltimore #17, is already scheduled for next month during Baltimore Innovation Week. There’s a call for proposals, and Lindsey Davis is reviving our Ignition Grants project with a series of free grant application workshops.
In honor of the end of our tenures, I reviewed some of our videos to find some of my favorite talks. The below list is meant to be representative, not all-inclusive. To me the best Ignite talks are those in which the speaker’s mind overflows with knowledge and passion. Some are fun, some are serious, but they all feature a speaker who cares deeply about their topic and their performance.

We’d like to thank all of the sponsors who supported us from the beginning. We’re also extremely grateful to the venues that have graciously hosted us over the years. We’re really excited to see where the team takes Ignite next!


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