Ignite-the-Passion 
Creating a spark to help fulfill your dreams!
(If you were expecting adult content by the name of this page, you were badly mistaken.)
Career coaching along your own path.

About Us

Matthew Essner is a proven leader in business, leadership, teamwork, and adapting to change.  He has an undeniable passion for bringing out the best in individuals by living each day with purpose.

Essner has deep roots in the school lunch arena where he is currently the Coordinator for the USDA Food Distribution Program in the State of Missouri and the active President for the national organization, American Commodity Distribution Association (ACDA).  His remarkable turnaround of an out-dated Missouri program and dysfunctional team has now become a business model countrywide.  Sitting in meetings with USDA officials, Congressional committees, and CEOs of major national companies, he has learned what it takes to make the program thrive.

Growing up the eldest of four siblings in a rural Southeast Missouri town, Essner learned the value of a strong work ethic from his parents and worked his way through college, becoming the first member of his family to graduate.  Earning both a B.S. in Agriculture Economics and B.S. in Agriculture Systems Management in 4 years set him up for quick entrepreneurial success in a snack business he created upon college graduation.  Essner achieved Category Leader in each of his first two years, and also the Distributor of the Year his second year in business.

Upon requests from associates countrywide to provide speaking engagements and educational opportunities, Essner again stirred the entrepreneurial pot and created Ignite-the-Passion.com in 2012.  He prides himself in custom-creating presentations to fit the needs of the organization by encompassing real-life scenarios to drive home the agreed upon message.  Topics include:

  • School Nutrition
  • Goal Setting
  • Embracing Change
  • Finding Balance in Life
  • Working with Purpose
  • Building Strong Teams

Referrals from prior events and followers sharing Essner’s free weekly Emails, titled Monday Morning Ignition, have led to speaking engagements from coast to coast.  Essner is an avid Mizzou Tiger fan traveling from Columbia, MO, where he lives with his lovely wife Jody, and their two boys.

Here’s what people are saying:

“Your presentation was great! I heard nothing but positive comments.” - Ida Daniels, Florida School Nutrition Association President 2013-2014

“Thank you Matthew, for coming to talk to us! I walked out of there Friday with a good feeling of knowing "change" can do a person good. Felt as if your message was directed to me somehow with what I have going on in my life. Keep up the great work you do, what an inspiration you are! Thank you again!” Dena, Lee’s Summit Nutrition Services

“Your motivation Mondays are so great and have given me the strength and motivation to go for my dreams! :)” - Ginger Meritt, Editing by Ginger

"I am so proud of you.  You truly are an inspiration.  May God continue giving you the "light" to continue shining thru your wonderful Monday Ignite-the-Passion." - Jose Quinones, J.T.M. Food Group National School Business Development

 “THIS IS WONDERFUL! Thank you for bringing this to us to share with others... What an inspiration YOU are!!!” Patti Turner, FSD Kirbyville Public Schools

“I have used many of your Monday Morning Ignitions both personally and to share as pieces of professional development. LOVE THIS ONE!” Von Gulliford, FSD Liberty Public Schools

“I love this part in your email (Monday Morning Ignition).  I will pass this advice on to the managers here at Pattonville.  Thanks so much for your words of wisdom Matthew.”Teree Davis, Pattonville School District

Matthew E. Essner
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