IGNITE SPEAKER PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS
How to Speak on an IGNITE Panel
The most powerful part of any IGNITE event is the time that our volunteers get to share their story with our students. Whether it's a programming workshop, a company tour, or IGNITE Panel Presentation at the schools, the time for the self-identifying girls and non-binary students to interact with you is an invaluable experience. The reason we have such low statistics for women in STEM is because there are barriers of perception about these career choices. Self-identifying girls and non-binary students often think to themselves that they aren't smart enough, their grades aren't good enough, or that their home life isn't the ‘right’ kind for these jobs. Telling your story about the path you took to your STEM career will go a long way in inspiring them.
Each volunteer will have 3-5 minutes to tell their story and then time to answer questions. Focus on the following topics for your time:
- Why did you want to be here today? Telling self-identifying girls and non-binary students that you care and that you want them to know the opportunities that they have in high wage/high demand careers matters to you, and it makes it personal.
- What did you like to do when you were age 13-18?
- How did you find your interest in technology or engineering?
- What type of education choices did you make to lead you to your career, if any?
- Why would you suggest self-identifying girls and non-binary students take computer science or engineering classes at their school?
- Do they know what classes are available? Do they know why this is a great opportunity to sign up for these classes? Please tell the students why this is a great opportunity and sign up!
- What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you are today?
- Please feel free to share your real story if you can. The self-identifying girls and non-binary students will be able to relate to someone's struggles. Show them that we all must overcome some obstacle in our lives to get where we want to go. The self-identifying girls and non-binary students you are speaking to need to hear that they can succeed even with these struggles. You might want to edit yourself but don't, authenticity cultivates connection. It helps them more than you can know to hear that you are not perfect, and that you did have obstacles that you had to overcome.
- What is your career and what do you like about your career now?
- Why would you encourage girls to consider going into technology or engineering careers?
It’s important that we make an impression on them now that will stay with them as they continue to make choices in education and future careers.
We all tell kids to follow their passions but girls often do not yet know if STEM careers could be their passion because they only either have negative views or no experience with these career choices at all. It is urgent that we take this time so they may understand what is available to them in STEM careers, that there is a career for every interest, and from there they can have the choice to find their passion in STEM.
Thank you for participating in this life changing program and for volunteering with IGNITE. Over the year’s people like you have changed many girls’ lives by hearing the stories and experiences that made the women of this world who they are today.
Tips: Bring something visual or tactile to help the girls understand what you do everyday – a prototype or pictures of your product or team or work environment helps them understand how you work.
Please log your volunteer hours with your company! Many companies will match your hours and this does a great deal in helping IGNITE grow.
WA Chapters: firstname.lastname@example.org
CA Chapters: email@example.com