About us

Our Vision:

Change the world of management

Our Mission:

We peel back the layers of traditional management practices to ignite and inspire personal value and self-awareness within leaders so they can be a catalyst for change.

We Value:

  • Bringing our authentic selves to everything we do.
  • Doing what we say we will do to the absolute best of our ability.
  • Knowing and leveraging our strengths and our weaknesses.
  • Being open and honest with each other, our clients, and our community.
  • Ensuring that our light hearts are reflected in all we do.

Cumulatively, the partners of Ignite have extensive leadership and development experience to share with their clients. Together, Susanne and Deb bring tried and tested knowledge to help activate your teams and energize your leaders.

Leadership Experience

50+ Years

Mentoring and Coaching

45 + Years

Program and Project Management

50+ Years

Experience in the Public, Private, and Non-Profit Sector

70+ Years

Our Team

Susanne Dupes

Susanne Dupes


Susanne is a certified analyst of behaviors, motivators, emotional intelligence, and acumen. She brings 25+ years in the public and private sectors as an award-winning communications strategist to her work to strengthen managers and management teams. Additionally, she is one of only a handful of Tennesseans to be accredited by both the International Association of Business Communicators and the Public Relations Society of America.

Susanne has a lifelong dedication to developing women leaders. She serves on the Tennessee Women’s Economic Council Foundation board, where she chaired the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame. She is co-chair of Ignite’s Women’s Leadership Council and is Secretary of the Suffrage Coalition.

A native East Tennessean, Susanne holds an MS in information science from UT-Knoxville and a BA in English and journalism from Tennessee Technological University.  She is a graduate of Leadership Oak Ridge; the FBI Citizens Academy; and the Knox County Sheriff’s Citizens Academy.

Deb Schmitz

Deb Schmitz


Schmitz is a trained LifeWorks coach and owner of Women’s Money Makeover, which she started in 2010. She is an author, personal finance expert and financial advocate focusing on helping individuals get “real” about money.

She retired from Procter & Gamble in 2002 after 25 years in Research & Development. Her disappointment in how she was treated in the retirement process is the catalyst that drove Schmitz into the financial services industry. For the next 6 years she pursued the traditional route of becoming a financial advisor, but realized this was not what most people wanted, especially women.

Passionate about empowering women, Schmitz has used her life skills, personal experience and education to structure Women’s Money Makeover and now Ignite to strengthen women’s skills. Schmitz volunteers for LifeSigns, a non-profit organization giving women a hand up and is financial director of the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council.

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