Ignite Phoenix Recap – My Personal Timeline From Fan To Presenter

Martha Schulzinger speaking about rugby at Ignite Phoenix 10
‎(CC) Devon Christopher Adams & @nooccar

Speaking at Ignite Phoenix 10 was a tremendous experience. I was already becoming an Ignite Phoenix groupie from my first Ignite Phoenix night experience — Ignite Phoenix 8 — but I needed to take the leap and become an Ignite Phoenix veteran.

Was It a Matter Of Time?

I had worked with Jeff Moriarty, one of the founders of Ignite Phoenix, as well as some Ignite Phoenix veterans: Dustin Diehl and Tina Perez. Jeff’s comments and their presence were reminders that I should share my passion with the fantastic community that is Ignite Phoenix.

This was also around the time that I had rediscovered rugby through the Tempe Women’s Rugby team. Some of the best girls I’ve had the pleasure to be on the pitch with. Things were coming full circle. Sorta.

I needed to actually submit to be a presenter. I can recall lying in bed with a real nasty head cold when the tweet went out that submissions were open. Thanks to a fellow rugby lover I had the title ready to go — “Why I Love It When My Hooker Gets The Ball. Why I Love Playing Rugby.” I put together a quick bio and description and it was fingers crossed from then on out. And after some Nyquil I was also out.

Several weeks went by and I had nearly forgotten about it. Then an email came and, oh crap, I actually got picked.

Time to Get Serious. Finally.

Procrastinating. That’s exactly what happened as I had the illusion of time, family in town and I was starting a new job. Legitimate excuses? Maybe, but I was still not writing, assembling or practicing my speech.

With maybe a week and a half to go, 50 notecards that tracked the progression from full sentences to keywords, I was feeling less jittery.


The Moment Has Arrived – Time to Talk to 853+ People

It was a full house. After all the running around from last minute ticket exchanges, materials needed to set up the speaker booth and seat arrangements for friends and family — all there was left to to do was wait. Wait and watch the other eight speakers present.

I’m not even sure what I said. I strayed from the script, but not badly. But the crowd, the Ignite Phoenix crowd, is so fantastic that it doesn’t matter. They responded to my questions and were eager to learn about why rugby is so awesome.

Littlest Martha at Ignite Phoenix 10
(CC) Devon Christopher Adams & @nooccar

But the secondary tactic might have also been at play — distract the audience with bright blue sexy shoes.

Truthfully, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that this event goes on. I’ve learned so much from other people’s passions and am honored to have been able to share my own passion. I’ve made further connections that I hope can turn in to friendships.

Ignite Phoenix or Ignite [Your Town]

If you’ve not been to Ignite Phoenix – you need to go. Ignite Phoenix 11 is October 28. Fair warning now: When they announce tickets are on sale, buy them that day as they will sell out. And usually that same day.

Not in the Valley? Find an Ignite near you and get involved. You’ll be glad you did.


6 thoughts on “Ignite Phoenix Recap – My Personal Timeline From Fan To Presenter

  1. You look BEAUTIFUL, Martita…LOVE the shoes!! Still waiting to actually experience your presentation.

    • Thank you so much, Momala! I’m so anxious/excited to see the video too. Once it’s posted on YouTube I’ll whip together another post so everyone who missed can see it.

  2. You rocked the house. And that would have happened if you were barefoot, though the shoes were a nice touch! It was fun getting to hang backstage with you, watching everyone freak out (myself included).

    • Thank you so much, Jay! It was a blast hanging out with you and I’m looking forward to seeing you at the next Ignite event.

      Your presentation inspired me! Guess what I’m having for breakfast this morning? Rice Krispies treat — still not quite a Twinkie — but I think you’ll be proud. :-)

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