“Every community, like every person, is full of stories.” – Charles Vogl, The Art of Community 

Sharing stories is the most powerful way that we humans learn.
Stories are how we understand our communities’ strengths, values and deepen our connections.

What matters deeply to us in Santa Barbara County? What has our attention now?

Imagine hearing from your peers and funders about what’s happening, what’s shifting and what’s possible in our county.  Consider opening a conversation you’d like to activate and continue with others who share your passion for the topic. The PFE program centers around just that: Ignite Talks and Community Conversations where you, the participants, are the Ignite Talk speakers and Conversation hosts!


Inspired by the Ignite Talks movement, PFE Ignite Talks are 4-5 minute live presentations focused on one topic with no visuals. These short powerful talks from our peers will spark ideas and share creative stories to activate deeper conversations and storytelling throughout the day. There will be two Ignite Talk sessions during the day building vision for Santa Barbara County.
PFE registrants are invited to submit to be part of this program. 

Are you an aspiring Ignite Talk Speaker?

You might be a good match if you:

    • Are a community advocate who speaks a clear message of hope
    • Created positive change with learnings from PFE 2019
    • Are energized to tell more people about an effective collaborative project
    • Have served on a panel for your mission or sub-sector expertise
    • Or if your leadership, funding practices, programming or organization pivoted as a result of last year’s Partnership for Excellence or other collaborations

After reviewing all submissions, 10 presentations will be chosen. Selected Ignite Talk Speakers will receive support, orientation coaching and a registration refund in appreciation for your PFE role. On April 22, Ignite Talk speakers will deliver their brief talk and also host their topic for additional discussion during the PFE Community Conversation sessions in the morning and/or afternoon.



What meaningful story wants to be shared in the Sycamore Grove?

Do you have an idea to positively shift or disrupt our nonprofit sector, a compelling question or issue around which to gather resources and potential solutions, an impact or new venture you acted on since last year’s PFE, or an emerging collaboration with intersections for more collaborators? PFE encourages you to apply.

Ignite Talk Guiding Questions - Finding Your Story

  • What important community issue has your attention? From your perspective, how might we positively shift this issue? What’s possible?
  • How have you applied connections and/or resources as a result of a previous Partnership for Excellence or other collaboration? What true story of learning, changing, success or uncertainty might benefit others?  
  • Where are the opportunities you see for funders, organizations, systems or community members to work together for better results and meaningful change? How?
  • Raise inquiries more than answers. What topic comes up repeatedly in community or keeps you up at night that we might explore at PFE?
  • How might we inspire others to join and work together?

Selection Criteria

  • Highlights a single vision or stimulating question with a positive call to action
  • Reflects this year’s theme: Unplug. Reconnect. Recharge.
  • Follows an engaging storyline – shares authentically, not a scripted/memorized speech
  • Grounded in Santa Barbara County and/or past PFE participation
  • Presents from a positive, creative point of view
  • Includes a few key statistics or research data points
  • Sparks our diverse community perspectives and strengths
  • Raises questions and invites further discussion

Sample Talks from 2019

  • The Power of Giving, Kristi Newton — UC Santa Barbara Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
  • How Are We Cultivating Our Communities: Youth Toward Our Future? — Saul Serrano, South Coast Task Force on Youth Safety
  • My First 90 Days: Fresh Reflections from an Executive Director — Dean Noble, Elings Park
  • Beyond the Numbers: Redefining Impact With Stories, Robin Gose — MOXI
  • Exploring and Inspiring Social Enterprise Start-Ups — Frank Ricceri, Transitions-Mental Health Association
  • Amplifying Our Passions — Ali Cortes, A Different Point of View


These are just a few examples. What has your attention now?