Alumni Speakers Series: Alex Sanso

Last May, 14 brave souls pioneered the way for Ignite Bainbridge. As we are gathering a whole new crop of speakers, we’ve asked a few of these alumni to share a bit of their memories from this inspiring event.  Hopefully, their words will offer some insight into their experiences that you can apply to your presentation as well as provide you with greater comfort and confidence to move forward. Because, you know, we would love to hear from you.

Why did you participate in Ignite Bainbridge?

Alex: The basic idea behind Ignite was “compelling” and it sounded “interesting and fun.” “I like to be on stage” and have done improv and karaoke in the past. So Ignite was a means to “put myself in front of people and be on stage. I liked that.”

Why did you choose the topic that you did?

Alex: When deciding on a topic, I “set this bar in my mind that it has to be monumental and profound.” I was getting the TED speeches inside my head and using those as a guide and basis for what was expected. After thinking more about it, I realized that it doesn’t have to be this. It just has to be interesting…something that I like to do. Karaoke seemed to fit the bill. But how do you turn this in to something interesting, rather than just rambling on about getting up in front of a bunch of people and singing? This was a “fun challenge” in trying to express “what effect does karaoke have on me? What feelings did this generate for me?” Figuring out how to integrate this into a talk that goes beyond just singing, so that it can apply to and be interesting to anyone and also become both a learning experience and entertaining was an objective. Using karaoke as a metaphor for overcoming a person’s problems in life was a creative and entertaining approach.

What was hardest and easiest part of the Ignite experience?

Alex: How to get started. “Being a graphic designer, I’m visual. How do I start? How do I tell the story?” Should I grab photos of people off the internet singing for the presentation? That didn’t have a good feel to it. At first I just jotted down some thoughts and feelings about my experiences on the karaoke scene. I could then visualize what might work for images. I put my graphic design skills to work and sketched out a few things. It then became a matter of coming up with words to fit the images and creating images to fit the words I had jotted down. A trial and error process then resulted in a very successful presentation, both visually and orally.

What did you learn from the Ignite experience?

Alex: “That I shouldn’t doubt myself when I have something to offer. I should speak from the heart and if I have something to say, I’ll find it. Don’t take things too seriously or worry about what others may think.”

What words of advice or encouragement do you have for future Igniters?

Alex: Attending the workshops at OfficeXpats would be very beneficial since they were instrumental in my success. It was a very supportive environment and there was lots of good feedback that was offered, and this provided the motivation and confidence required to do this. “Use your strengths to do something different, rather than just Powerpoint slides.” Everyone has skills and talents that are waiting to be expressed. Coming up with a way to express all of this in a unique way will give your presentation that something extra.

Alex Sanso is a graphic designer on Bainbridge Island. Her company, Artopia Creative, was a sponsor of Ignite Bainbridge and provided the graphics for the promotional materials for the event. Alex may be reached at 206-855-9520 and Her talk from the first Ignite Bainbridge can be found here.

Tom Leurquin is the volunteer lead for supporting Ignite Bainbridge 2 speakers, and he conducted this interview.