One talk, on one day, can change someone’s life.

– Kymberlee Weil, Strategic Samurai

PFE Ignite Conversations are small group, focused-topic discussions in the Sycamore Grove following each of two rounds of Ignite Presentations. Any registrant may propose an Ignite Conversation topic and, if confirmed, will co-host their topic discussion with other attendees.

While Conversation groups are welcome (and encouraged) to set goals and calendar future meetings as outcomes of any Ignite Conversation, you are not expected  to do so — PFE aims to offer you an unplugged, beautiful space to explore and connect together about the issues important to you and our communities today!

You are invited to propose a topic and/or group Ignite Conversation!


Ignite Conversations ideally will convene no more than 15 individuals and may contain as few as two. These one-hour Conversations will follow Ignite Presentations  from 11:30am – 12:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

There will be two sources for Ignite Conversation topics:

1) Selected Ignite presenters will transition to host their topic as Ignite Conversations – to open and allow for deeper group discussion of the topic presented with attendees

2) Additional Ignite Conversations will be hosted by registrants/groups who submit topics of your choice in advance. PFE registrants are invited to submit topic(s) for small group Ignite Conversations. You may pose a new topic, or choose to continue/expand a discussion or focused-group you may have started with colleagues or peers over the past year. This is truly your best opportunity to connect and explore with your colleagues — take advantage of it!



If you have an idea to positively shift or disrupt our nonprofit sector for good, a compelling question or issue around which to gather resources and potential solutions, or a story of emerging collaboration with intersections for more collaborators, PFE encourages you to apply.

Have an idea but need some encouragement? Send a message to pfe@nprnsb.org to be followed up with before the application deadline.

Conversation Guiding Questions

  • What collaborative conversation might you want time and space to explore with your nonprofit peers and/or funders?
  • When you see colleagues, do you find yourselves raising ideas and needed changes around a specific community issue/opportunity?
  • Do you wish for a gathering in your subsector (senior services, social justice, education, healthcare, etc.) to talk efficiencies and actions for better collaboration?
  • Are you a group who has been meeting around change and would like to open your vision and discussion to PFE attendees?

Sample Topics

  • What has changed or influenced your leadership approach/practices this year? How are you different and what has resulted?
  • How has PFE changed or influenced your work since past conference(s)?
  • How are you working collaboratively for impact in our community? How is your project is evolving – and through what achievements, what hurdles?
  • How might your approaches with your clients be adopted by other service organizations, government, etc?
  • Working with community activists and promotores – what are we learning together about thoughtful outreach and cultural connections?

These are just a few examples. What could you contribute?


The PFE Ignite Conversation Application closed Friday, March 22, 2019.

Please join us in looking forward to the following Ignite Presentations at Partnership for Excellence:

—– Morning —–

P – Getting the Most Out of Board Meetings, Michael Baker, United Boys & Girls Clubs

Q – Earned income in Nonprofits, Megan Birney, Unite to Light

R – Managing CA Minimum Wage and Staff, Carlos Cortez, Los Padres Council Boy Scouts of America

S – Hold the phone! Elevating Social Skills in Our Technology Age, John Daly, The Key Class

T – Collaboration: Starting Small and Moving at the Right Speed for All, Pat Hardy, SB Alternatives to Violence Project

U – Storytelling: Celebrating our Sector, Rachel Johnson, TedX Santa Barbara

V – Much To Do About Burnout, Gary Linker, Center for Successful Aging

W – Finding Free Afterschool Programs Transportation, Daniel Meisel, Youth Interactive

X – How Do Our Questions and Stories Catalyze Culture Change?, Patricia Schwarz, Schwartz Associates

Y – Integrating Social Emotional Practices into School Culture, Vivian Valentin, Mindful Heart Programs

Z – Joining Forces to Ensure Quality Youth Programs, Liliana Vega, 4-H Santa Barbara

—– Afternoon —–

AA – An Open Conversation on Race, Connie Alexander, Gateway Educational Services

BB – Below the Waterline: Addressing the Iceberg and Leading Toward Sustainability, Linda Alexander,  Center for Spiritual Renewal/La Casa de Maria

CC – Raising Powerful Questions Toward Our County’s Future, Grant House, Grant House Associates

DD – Exploring Self Renewal through Movement & Mindfulness, Jan Ingram, Cottage Health

EE – What Can Funders Provide Beyond Money?, Pam Lewis, Hutton Parker Foundation

FF – Bringing Evidence-based Mindfulness Training to High School, Alissa Mrazek, UCSB

GG – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion — in Practice, Jarrod Schwartz, Just Communities

HH – Development Staff Roundtable, Eryn Shugart, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation

PP – Community Singing Circle, Heather Stevenson, The Write Team

QQ – Cross-Sector Partnerships that Last, Casey Summar, The Law Firm for Nonprofits

Or, if you prefer during these sessions, choose silence –  wander the Sycamore Grove, sit beneath a tree…unplug and explore as it suits you today.