What to expect

Saturday, September 26, 2020


For the last five ignite520 conferences, Tucson’s young professionals have come together for a weekend of connection, learning, and growing. At ignite520 you can expect to be inspired, uplifted, and meet people who are eager to pursue knowledge and shape our city.

NEW this year:

  • Young professional panel as Saturday feature. Panels have always been a part of ignite520, and this year a Tucson Rising panel of young professionals take the main [virtual] stage
  • Virtual format. We’ll miss gathering with you in person, and we’re grateful to still bring this programming to you virtually
  • First 100 registrants get a Commemmorative ignite520 Swag Bag with a tote, t-shirt, pint glass, and more goodies.
  • Special pre-conference networking and raffle
  • Featured artist Seanloui, and a musical performance from one of his recent albums
  • Coffee and pastry provided to you with your registration by the ignite520 team.

Conference Day

Our ignite520 planning team has designed this year’s conference to provide the best experience possible for the virtual format. For a comfortable at-home-conference experience, the day is slightly shorter and some sessions have been shortened. From 8am-1pm, we’ll deepen new connections, hear from speakers, learn together in workshops and talks, and have a chance to connect with sponsors and partners.

Please Note: Zoom login information to the conference will be sent out the day prior to the email used at registration. If you have not received an email, please contact the ignite520 planning committee at ignite520@tucsonyoungprofessionals.com

ignite520 2020 Schedule


Pre-Conference Sponsor Networking and Raffle


Opening statement from our Kickoff sponsor Sarah Smallhouse/TRBF/ ignite520 Committee Introduction of Logistics


Tucson Rising Vision-Casting Breakout




Session 1:

From Hot Mess Express to Achievable Goals

with Keneshia Raymond, Startup Tucson
TRACK: Business & Entrepreneurship

We all start the year with big goals, but how many goals are we actually accomplishing thought the year? By breaking them down and making them tangible we have a better chance of reaching our goals.

Authentic Leadership In Uncertain Times

with John Page Burton, Burton Group
TRACK: Growth and Leadership

Today’s workplace is a dynamic, rapidly changing environment that features 5 generations of contributors, all desiring to be valued and most importantly, understood. The events of the last few months have changed the way many of us work. Cubicles have been replaced by kitchen table’s; annoying co- workers have been replaced by barking dogs and conference rooms have been replaced by Zoom calls. Is this the new normal? That remains to be seen. Authentic leadership has never been more important than it is right now. During this presentation, we will look at authentic leadership and why it is so critical in today’s ever-changing work environment.

We will look at…
What does it mean to be an authentic leader?
6- character strengths found in authentic leaders.
Two mindsets of leadership. One is effective.
Where do we go from here?
This discussion will be followed by a Q&A.

What Tucson Needs From The Group Stuck Between Pro-Growth and No-Growth

with Louie Christensen: Tucson Tomorrow (Public Advocacy)
TRACK: Innovation and Collaboration

You’ve probably noticed that “growth” is a touchy subject in Tucson. At times it feels like there are only two camps. Those that want economic growth, no matter the cultural or environmental cost…and those that would be happy if another brick was never laid or a new job added. Louie Christensen, the curator of the Tucson Tomorrow Twitter page—formally known as The Dirty T—believes there’s a third group. It’s this group that will help grow Tucson responsibly, improve its overall socio-economic health and turn it into a more resilient and thriving city while maintaining its authentic heartbeat.


Musical Performance by ignite520 Official Artist Seanloui




Session 2:

Using Technology to Create Better Communities

with Demetry: Northern Computing
TRACK: Innovation and Collaboration

Demetry Simonton, co-founder of Northern Computing, will share about his work on Cochise GO, an app and website to help connect people in Cochise County, healthy food access, and healthy living activities. Demetry will talk about how the Building Healthy Communities Project and how technology is being used to create healthier, better communities

#BeBetter. #GiveBack

with Diana Charbonneau, IMPACT of Southern Arizona
TRACK: Public Service & Advocacy

As a young professional, time is valuable and you always seem so busy so why volunteer your time for a local organization? What can volunteering and giving back do for you? What opportunities for personal and professional development opportunities are there for me locally as a YP?

Bear Down Home Buyer

with Melissa Holt & Jeff Ell: Ell Group Real Estate
TRACK: Growth and Leadership

Homeownership builds stability in communities and encourages connection and long-term investment. We want to ensure the increase of talent and innovation in Southern Arizona is sustainable and not short-lived. We also want to educate young professionals, so they make better home-buying decisions by helping them develop a plan that is personalized to fit their needs and future goals. Creating a deeper connection to the community will encourage collaboration and advocacy, which will entice them to become the next generation of leaders in Tucson and the surrounding area.


Session 3:

How to Make an Impact If You’re Not An Elected

with Allyson Solomon: Executive Director, Metropolitan Pima Alliance
TRACK: Public Service & Advocacy

Allyson Solomon is a successful young professional who has quickly and at a young age risen in the ranks to serve as the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance, an organization focused on development and growth-related issues in Pima County. She will share tips and practices for having an impact on big community issues you care about even if you’re not an elected official!

Running and Winning: Strategies for YPs on Winning Local Elections

TRACK: Public Service & Advocacy

Join three recent primary race winners* for a discussion on what it takes to run a successful campaign for local office. In this interactive panel, participants will hear from 2020 primary winners on how they made it to the finish line and lessons learned along the way.

The panel will be moderated by Tucson Mayor Regina Romero

*Tucson Young Professionals does not endorse candidates or policy positions. Panel speakers were asked to participate based on meeting the criteria of winning a competitive 2020 primary race and being under the age of 45.

Gabriella Cázares-Kelly (she/her) is a proud, union dues-paying, #RedForEd public school educator and community organizer. She is one of four women who founded Indivisible Tohono, a grassroots, community organization that provides opportunities for education and civic engagement for members of her tribe: the Tohono O’odham Nation. She is extremely active in local politics and believes in the need to infiltrate, create or transform spaces to include Indigenous voices and issues. She was the 2019 Delores Huerta Mujer En La Lucha Honoree and Arizona AFL-CIO’s Community Activist of the year. She lives with her husband, Ryan, and their twin children who were displaced from the UofA dorms due to Covid-19.  Gabriella is currently running for Pima County Recorder and when elected, she will be the first Native American to hold an elected Pima County office.

Rep. Alma Hernandez is a Hispanic, Jewish Tucson, Arizona native. She became the youngest member of the Arizona House of Representatives at the age of 25. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in public health at the University of Arizona. Recently she had a bill passed making it mandatory to teach Arizona children about the Holocaust and other genocides. Representative Hernandez serves on the Health and Human Services Committee and the Federal Relations Committee at the Arizona House of Representatives. She recently received several awards as a freshman legislator for her work on healthcare policy including The Walk the Talk award from the Arizona Medical Association, the Realtor Party Champion Award from the AZ Association of Realtors, the Tech Ten Legislator Award from the AZ Technology Council, and the Women’s Health Champion Award from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Laura Conover, Candidate for Pima County Attorney, is a lifelong Tucsonan, attorney, wife and mother, and ardent supporter of the health of all our community’s families. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona for both her undergraduate and law degrees. After a 16-year career of criminal justice work, including defense, victim advocacy, and almost 2 years of the management of 400 federal contract attorneys, she has the leadership skills the Pima County Attorney’s Office needs, so the next generation of prosecutors may keep us Safe and Sound. She decisively won the three-way primary election with just under 60% of the vote. With historically high voter turnout, the vote was a mandate for her criminal justice reform platform, and she is now the Democratic nominee in November.

Community Backed Lending – Helping Local Small Businesses When Banks Can’t (or Won’t) by Building a Local Investment Movement through Kiva”

with Lesli Pintor, Growth Partners Arizona and Danny Knee, Community Investment Corporation
TRACK: Business & Entrepreneurship

Neither the concept of crowdfunding and the specific application to lending, or what we call community backed lending, are new. The concept of crowdfunding itself dates back centuries (it was used to publish books at one time). The growth of tech and its widespread adoption by individuals has made crowdfunding easier, more efficient, and applicable to more industries including lending.  Growth Partners Arizona, with the help and partnership of Community Investment Corporation (CIC), brought Kiva, one of the first online crowdfunding platforms for lending, establishing in 2005, specifically to Tucson by establishing itself as Tucson’s Kiva Hub. GPAz Executive Director, Lesli Pintor, and CIC Executive Director, Danny Knee describe the need for, and efficacy of, community backed loan models like Kiva, especially as it relates to the institutionalized inequality of traditional profit motivated lending models. These models overestimate risk relative to the social good of small investments in new businesses and creates a self-reinforcing system in which those with capital have access to more capital, and those without, remain without. GPAz and CIC are leveraging this model to creating a movement in Tucson and southern Arizona that puts the decision making about who is “deserving” of access to capital in the hands of our community members and like-minded localists around the world.





Tucson Rising Panel Discussion: Pivoting to our Best Possible Future

A 21st Century vision for Tucson, with 4 young professionals who are shaping and creating what’s next.

with Amanda Bruno, Policy Analyst, Pima Association of Governments: Smart Cities and Regional Planning

Seanloui Dumas, Founder of Black Renaissance, Tucson musician and creative: Arts and Culture in Inclusive and Diverse Community

Andrew More, Director, Blue Stone Venture Partners: Biotech and Entrepreneurship

BlueStone Venture Partners is a venture capital firm focused on providing strategic capital and support to early-stage healthcare & life sciences companies. BlueStone teams with inspired entrepreneurs to develop their visions and build industry-leading companies across the life sciences.

Juan Padres, Former community relations for autonomous trucking company TuSimple, and also running for Pima County Board of Supervisors: Technology, Young Professionals in Politics


Closing remarks:

Tucson Rising Vision Casting/Closing Remarks with Janelle Briggs from Stackhouse