ABOUT experience ignite

Experience Ignite is a different kind of people development company. They believe in the power of new experiences to transform companies, teams, and individuals. For over a decade, Experience Ignite has been providing unforgettable experiences that cultivate leaders, promote inclusion and elevate purpose. Their classroom is the world we explore. They seek to learn from one another while making a difference. Experience Ignite is committed to developing the best in people through experiences that improve the world.

Holistic was able to interview Founder & Co-CEO, Ryan Jeffery to obtain an inside look at the company and the story of how Experience Ignite came to be.


How or what inspired Experience Ignite?

We actually got our start ten years ago when my co-founder took a trip to Africa, which led him to launch a non-profit called Spark Ventures. It supported sustainable, international development. It was through Spark Ventures that we started to provide experiences and trips for people that became really popular and really successful in terms of exposing them and providing a unique way to see the work that was being done in these countries and support them in a mutually beneficial way. It was through those experiences that companies actually started to work with Spark Ventures and started to send their employees on these experiences as a way for them to engage and develop their own employees and I was actually one of those people. I was an early founder of a pretty fast-growing tech company here in Chicago, and I saw how our employees were desiring more purpose and more meaning in their work and so was I. I was looking for that as well and went on one of these trips with Spark Ventures and realized that's what I was meant to do. I was to provide those sorts of experiences for more people. That's what led us to the launch of Ignite several years later.

In terms of technology, how does Experience Ignite use technology to conduct and provide its services?

We actually see ourselves more as a people development company. We utilize our own I.T.  in terms of our leadership development capabilities of the experiences that we put together and facilitate and intertwine technology throughout that. So post-experience, pre-experience, provides ongoing content, learning, and additional opportunities for people to continue that learning. That really is fostered through real world, real-life experiences and technology allow us to enhance that engagement that connection and then provide additional ways for employees to stay connected.

How do you measure the impact of these experiences?

Two fronts. One is obviously the communities and the community organizations that we partner and work with. We have experiences all over the world in Africa, Latin America, and domestically here in the U.S., We want to make sure that they're mutually beneficial for those community partners that we work with in terms of the exposure and in financial support that we’re able to provide. Then we measure impact in terms of the corporate partners, too, in terms of their employees.  How likely they are to continue to stay and thrive at that company? Retention and productivity. How likely are they to come back from these experiences and put more discretionary effort into their work and into their company? The last is through reputation and brand equity. How likely are they to come back and actually be more motivated to talk positively about their company outside of the walls of their office? We measure the impact in both of those ways for both the community, then for our corporate partners when their sending employees.

You have called Chicago home for the past ten years. If you had friends/family coming to Chicago, what would you tell them is your favorite thing about the city?

I think the best qualities of Chicago are in the people and the warmth of the different neighborhoods and that make up Chicago. The culturally and ethnically diverse areas that give Chicago life. That provides a really unique perspective of the different cultures in people.  That's what I love most about Chicago.

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