Ignite Talks

Ignite talks are short, 5-minute talks on BIG ideas. This year, we have a mix of professionals and academics who will be talking about various topics in UX, communication design, and professional communication. Check out the lineup below, and then rush over to Eventbrite to score your free ticket before seats run out!


Tony Daussat, Lead Experience Design Strategist | Instagram

Design Your Goals in High Definition

headshot of Tony Daussat

Tony Daussat is currently a Lead Experience Design Strategist at the award-winning Bottle Rocket Studios in Dallas, TX. He has worked with some of the world’s most exciting brands including: Hyatt, KFC, BaylorScott & White, Fiesta Restaurant Group, Caesars Entertainment, TripCase, FirstData, and Robert Half. He is co-host of the podcast ‘Liftoff by Bottle Rocket’ (formerly ‘Experience Design’), boasting listeners in 155 countries. He is a guest lecturer and instructor at Dallas Baptist University and SMU. His public speaking includes Big Design, DesignHill, as well as HOW Design Live and UX Dallas later this year. Tony is also the founder of HiredUX, an online course aimed at teaching UX Designers how to stand out among the crowd and get hired.


Sarita Damania, Lead UX Designer | LinkedIn

“Accessibility: A Catalyst for Equity in a Digital-First World

headshot of Sarita Damania

Sarita Damania, a research-led user experience designer who focuses on end-user product adoption, combining insights from design strategy initiatives with interaction design to achieve the results. She leads teams and vision of product experiences that increase user engagement across a portfolio of products for Fortune 500 companies. Her background in the interdisciplinary study of design, business, and anthropology helps her take an adaptive approach to identify and solve user experience and business challenges. She is also the co-founder of Dallas UX Leadership and is committed to helping build a community that grows their UX leadership skills through practice-based learning experiences.


Sophi Marass, Senior UX Designer | LinkedIn

Don’t take your computer into the bathroom | And other WFH advice

headshot of Sophi Marass

Sophi is a Senior UX Designer who has been working remotely for the last 2 years. She has worked in design across several industries including travel, HR, recreation, cloud and retail. She has spoken at Big Design, AIGA, UX Dallas and Project UX.





Ken Tabor, Principal Software Engineer | CodeAndChats.com

Discovering Machine Learning

headshot of Ken Tabor

Ken Tabor is a veteran software engineer with years of experience developing web sites, mobile apps, and video games. He shares his enthusiasm for technology as a writer, teacher, and frequent speaker at conferences including South by Southwest, Nordic APIs, and Big Design. He is the author of, Responsive Web Design Toolkit, published by Focal Press.




Shane Ward, Principal UX StrategistLinkedIn

“Empathy as a Service: Be a better business partner by tapping into your empathy superpowers”

headshot of Shane Ward

Shane is a seasoned UX professional, creative director, designer, and thought leader. He currently leads the UX initiative of Sabre Black, an incubator for new products in Sabre’s Travel Network business. Shane utilizes design strategy and lean startup principles in his creative process to create beautiful and usable user-centered designs. “I have a passion for people. From designing amazing experiences for them to building awesome teams to work with, people are awesome!”




Brian Sullivan, Director of Design Strategy | LinkedIn

“Extreme collaboration: Working with people you don’t like, don’t trust, and don’t respect

headshot of Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan is the Director of Design Strategy for Sabre, where he applies user research and consumer insights with the latest technology to build new products for the travel industry. He is an expert in design thinking, user research, accessibility, usability, and innovation. Brian has led design thinking workshops with several Fortune 500 companies, actively participates in the user experience community, and founded the Big Design Conference, which has over 1,000 attendees each year from around the globe. Brian founded the UX Certification program at Southern Methodist University, and serves as the president for UX Dallas meetup, which has almost 3,000 members.



Joy Robinson, PhD | LinkedIn

“Coloring outside the lines: Moving UX beyond a box of individual skills”

Headshot of Joy Robinson

Joy Robinson is a UX Manager at Northrop Grumman—“a global company known for tackling the toughest engineering problems in space, aeronautics, defense, and cyberspace”. Joy manages multiple UX teams who work on streamlining technical and complex software interfaces for their targeted users. Her background encompasses two engineering and technical communication fields with extensive experience working in interdisciplinary teams both in industry and academia. As an accomplished teacher and researcher, Joy has published articles on UX methods and practice, innovative teaching pedagogy, and collaboration across numerous communication and engineering journals. Her latest co-authored UX article, “Drawing on Personas: How User Personas Affect Creativity,” will be published in the journal of Technical Communication in November of this year.


Lehua Ledbetter, PhD | LinkedIn

“A Decolonial Approach to Assessing User-Created Procedural Discourse”

Headshot of Lehua Ledbetter

Dr. Lehua Ledbetter is an Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric in the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. Her research focuses on issues of social justice and racial equality in user-created instructional discourse such as how-to videos on platforms like YouTube. She has published her research in Technical Communication Quarterly, published by Taylor and Francis, and the ACM SIGDOC conference proceedings. She draws from her specialization in technical and professional writing, cultural rhetorics, persuasive design, online instruction, and curriculum development.