Guest post by Angela Leavitt

It’s been one quarter since I had the amazing opportunity to present at an incredible event called Ignite Phoenix. Each of the 18 presenters was granted 5 minutes and 20 slides to share their passions, and the topics were as varied as the presenters themselves. I submitted my proposal back in February to talk about my music journey, and was notified I was selected in April. Joy! But the best was definitely yet to come.

While I could talk about the process, or the program, or the wonderful food and entertainment, I will focus this post on what the whole experience has done for me personally.

Short answer = A lot! So much more than I expected! Tons!
Long answer = Keep reading, yo.

“I Can See Clearly Now”- Going through the process of preparing the slides and practicing my speech over and over again gave me a marvelous gift – an undeniable clarity that YES, this IS my passion and I’m in the right place. Each time I would recite the story, recounting the inspiration from my grandmother, the encouragement from my friends, and my mostly unwarranted bravery in my journey to pursue a musical path, my gratitude for those events grew exponentially. By the time the event arrived, I had already gained so much without even stepping foot on stage.

“Nice Work If You Can Get It” – Speaking at Ignite opened up several doors for me to get music gigs. It’s funny…now I always include a link to my presentation on YouTube when contacting potential venues, in addition to my music links. How many musicians can say they were selected to speak in front of 850 people about their musical journey? Not many! Since most people like to root for the underdog and can relate to my “follow your dreams” message, my story as told at Ignite has brought in many opportunities that otherwise would not have come my way.

“We Are Family” – This is probably the most impressive and most important change I’ve experienced since speaking at Ignite. My network has grown massively, but not just in quantity – I’ve met and become close friends with some of the most amazing people in Phoenix. They’re all weird and goofy and wonderful, like me! Haha! My Twitter following has grown by nearly 60%, and now when I tweet something, I get responses! Imagine that!

Before I felt like I was tweeting into a massive black hole, but not anymore. I’ve been recognized out in public a few times, which feels silly yet awesome, and attendance at my local performances has also grown considerably. Thanks to the attendees at Ignite, I now have a supportive following of fans and friends. It’s amazing!

I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity I had to speak at Ignite Phoenix. I am humbled that I was selected, and to all the staff and volunteers, you are doing an amazing thing for this community. Please know you are loved and appreciated! If you’re a past presenter, you know exactly what I mean. If you’re not…what are you waiting for??? There are very few things you could dedicate your time to that will pay greater dividends. See you in October for Ignite Phoenix 11.

Angela’s blog post light your fire? Feeling emboldened to present on your passion? Send us a submission. Want to look through some submissions already posted? Head over to the submissions page, the latest ones are beneath the form. Even if you’re not keen on submitting, share this inspiring post with your friends on Facebook, and your followers on Twitter; you never know what will be the catalyst for a desire to present.