HEART OF IGNITE
Everyone has a dream, but where does a dream begin? Turning a vision into reality doesn't come without its challenges. But time and time again, achievers have proven that we should never underestimate the power of our passions.
Ignite Nation was the brainchild of a simple, but enlightening realization that everyone has a story of their own. Ours began when a diverse couple from different cultures and backgrounds united their unique talents to achieve a shared dream that resonated within them long before they even met. In their hearts, they felt a calling to inspire hope, provide self-assurance, and instill the core values that lead people to live a purposeful life.
The distinct memories we experience during our developmental years can carry on with us into adulthood. Since her childhood, Kris lived with fears and insecurities because of the discrimination she faced about her excessive weigh, appearance, and ADHD. School was not easy for her and seemed to highlight her inabilities. The bullying and ridicule influenced her in ways that influenced her in school, college, and beyond. After spending centuries trying to find herself and discover her own voice, she ended up finding a mentor that believed in her instead. Sometimes all it takes is one person, or one positive experience to help you see yourself in a new way. These experiences changed her life and is the passion behind helping every student love themselves just the way they are.
Ashoke Menon vividly remembers the experiences that shaped his character and gave him the heart for his work. First, was battling with his speech impairment throughout childhood. Ashoke struggled with stuttering and was often ridiculed and taunted by those around him. After spending years working with him, his parents finally sent him to Dale Carnegy to receive speech training.
Ones early and teenage experiences shape who we are today. Before he left India to attend I.U. his father shared that the money for his one way ticket is all their savings, and they don't have money to bring him back. This realization that he didn't have an alternative, shaped his thinking to finding a way! His grit for life and realization that there is always a way, came from this burning desire to succeed.
It only takes one person, one moment, to start a shift in someone's life. Through the art of mentoring and building self-worth, people can realize they are capable of achieving their life’s potential. In the very same way this couple was stronger because of their differences, they forged a path to help school communities do the same.
Meet the Founders
Ashoke is a leading consultant on building school and company cultures. After receiving his MBA from Indiana University, Ashoke quickly discovered his passion for teaching and learning. While serving with the Southwestern Internship Program, he worked with hundreds of college students to develop their sales and leadership skills. He later became a Senior Vice President at Southwestern/Great American, a national school services company. He led his team to tremendous growth in working with schools and other nonprofit organizations to help them with their major fundraising projects. At Southwestern Consulting, he coached business leaders, CEO's and business owners on improving productivity and building sustainable systems. Read Ashoke's full bio.
Kris has worked with youth for the past 30 years, starting as a camp councellor for CYO summer camps in Washington State. During her college years she joined the Southwestern Company’s summer internship program where she recruited and trained over 300 college students for 5 summers. After graduating from Gonzaga University with a BA in Public Relations she supported Great American Opportunities in Spokane WA. Kris managed over 200 schools in the NW in 5 years. During this time, she was the regional manager working in five northwest states.
In 1998, Kris co-founded Ignite for Schools. For the last 20 years Kris has developed a sustainable transition-training model. Founded in her own life experiences, she brings her fresh and intuitive perspective to her role at Ignite Nation. She supports schools across the country and has trained over 40,000 mentors and executive mentors in 12 states. Her strength is connecting the dots with what a school is already doing and empowering student mentors to get results. Over the past year Kris and the team have developed the Ignite Nation Advancement System. Kris’s life goal is to make sure every student has an opportunity to have a mentor, be a mentor, and live a life of purpose.