Become A Speaker


Are you passionate about a topic? Do you think others might be interested in hearing about it? Would you like to give a talk at an Ignite Waterloo event? Let us know! Fill out our application form and we’ll take it from there.

Please note that you DO have to fill out the application form. Just coming to one of the speaker workshops is not enough, since the speaker selection committee uses the list of application forms received in selecting speakers.

The speaker selection committee does not keep past applications on file, so if your application was not selected, feel free to apply to speak at a future Ignite event, either on a new topic, or with an edited version of the topic you previously proposed.

Here are a few things we’d ask you to keep in mind.


We will need to let you know about deliverables (such as your slides) and event details. Email is our primary contact channel. Please provide an email address that you check regularly where we can reach you.


If we get in touch with you, please respond promptly. There is a lot to do to stage an Ignite Waterloo event, and we simply do not have the resources to chase down unresponsive speakers.

In return, we’ll respond to you in a timely way as well.


We won’t ask for much, but when we ask you to provide something by a particular date, like your presentation slides, please do that. Putting Ignite together is a lot of work, and the volunteers who do such a great job have other commitments to juggle, too.

In return, we’ll treat your interest in doing a talk at an Ignite Waterloo event seriously, and we’ll do our best to answer all questions, keep you informed as we make decisions, and reach various milestones.


We understand that unforeseen emergencies do happen, or you might just decide that speaking at Ignite isn’t for you. If you decide that you can’t speak, please try to make that decision and let us know sooner rather than later.

There are many people who want to speak, and we don’t want to hold speaker slots for people who aren’t committed to the event. If you’re still interested in speaking and had to cancel for an emergency, we may be able to add you to the schedule for a future Ignite, but if you leave us scrambling to fill your spot, you’re not going to be high on our priority list.

In return, we’ll provide as much support as is practical for us, including links to resources, a workshop, and answers to your questions. We want you to succeed!


Our speaker selection process is more art than science. Here are some of the things that we consider. Think of them as guidelines rather than rules.

  • Diversity of topics for each event.
  • Originality of topics (i.e. have we heard about it before?)
  • Commitment and preparation of the speaker.
  • Potential interest of the topic to audience.
  • Passion and/or expertise of speaker.
  • Attendance at our speaker workshop.


On the flip side, some reasons why applications might not be selected.

  • Applicant has presented at Ignite before.
  • Application does not live in Waterloo Region. (E.g. Toronto residents should apply to speak at Ignite Toronto.)
  • Application was really unfocused/unclear. (We will often try to work with people to better clarify and organize a topic, but it doesn’t always work.)
  • Application was pitchy. (We avoid presentation topics that are self-serving, i.e. promoting a person, business, etc.)
  • Proposed topic or full presentation is not original. (We do not select applications for presentations that people have clearly given many times or presented professionally.)
  • Applicant applied after the speakers were already selected for the next event.
  • Proposed topic was too similar to that of another selected speaker.
  • Proposed topic was deemed not to be of broad audience appeal.

If you have questions about speaking, please send us an email.

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