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Denver

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Speaker Bio

Sterling Hawkins has become a master of innovation through massive changes and obstacles as a business leader, entrepreneur investor and futurist, Sterling is an internationally renowned keynote speaker.

He has overcome in his own life. From flat broke to selling the first company he founded in 2004, from a broken family business to a successful one, and from fear of public speaking to keynoting at conferences around the world, Sterling’s story is a perfect example of how anyone can take any situation and create anything from it.

As a 5th generation retailer and still very active in retail innovation, he has worked with the likes of Stanford, Cornell and the University of Texas to create the future of commerce, Today evaluates over 1,000 innovative technologies annually which are looking to dynamically transform retail and how people fulfill on their wants and needs.

He has worked with countless startups, investment groups, retailers, brands and Fortune 500 companies including P&G, Mitsubishi, Zebra Technologies, Stater Bros. and more to ignite innovation and innovation thinking inside their organizations.

Sterling has been seen in Inc. Magazine, The New York Times, ABC Money, AlleyWatch, Yahoo Finance, Forbes and other major media outlets.

Living at the intersection of in-store, online and the 4th Industrial Revolution, Sterling is actively shaping the future of commerce by helping others create and respond to innovation in a way that betters businesses, communities and the human condition.

A list of speech topics with descriptions

The Innovation Puzzle: Examine the puzzle of innovation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most businesses don’t: people aren’t built for change.

Sterling’s family grocery store went from a local market on to become the benchmark of innovation in the industry as the culture transformed to not just embrace change, but to actually cause it.

Recognizing in a traditionally human-centric retail industry, where fear of change can be high and morale low, Sterling Hawkins created an atmosphere of freedom to innovate with concrete methodology which not only encouraged everyday people to embrace change by involving them in the process.

He ignited their spirit to actually become agents of change and facilitators of the innovation process to ignite the spirit in others.

This moving talk is based on the lessons learned as Sterling worked to create a culture free to innovate first at his family’s store and then with leading companies around the world.

Sterling learned along the way that before you can embrace change, you have to give up the status quo and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Creating the Future of Commerce: In a culture of consumerism and technology, how did we get here and the surprising place we’re headed in the future to fulfill on our wants and needs.

Retail used to be different when Sterling was growing up in his family’s supermarket — it was all about customers and all about community. Walmart, Amazon and others broke that traditional mold making it all about scale, mass and technology. With venture dollars and startups flooding the market, Sterling first worked in his family’s store and now across the global retail industry to shape how emerging technologies such as robots, drones, artificial intelligence and countless other technologies will transform how people fulfill on their wants and needs.

For those in retail or interested in retail, this is a hands on roadmap of what technologies will be part of the future, who is using them already, and how to inspire a culture that that embraces change.

Sterling Hawkins Leadership Innovation and vision enabled retailers and their teams to step past the hype of traditional retail being dead to empower them to use technology to unify experiences and redefine what retail is.

Great Leaders Inspire Innovation (And Big Business Kills it): People aren’t built for change, they’re built for survival. In today’s fast-paced world, change is necessary and learning how to first accept it and get out ahead of it is the only competitive advantage.

The only constant is change.

Sterling Hawkins learned that first hand as he worked with retailers and brands to embrace the technologies of the 4th industrial revolution including robots, IoT and Artificial Intelligence.

At the same time it required him and the companies he worked with to think differently to truly embrace technology coming together with humanity to unlock something new.

And to do that, it was a special kind of skill to let go of everything we think we already know to discover what’s possible.

He shows how inside of a leadership style that embraces change, transformational performance is possible and proven.

Sterling shows audiences, by example, how to develop innovation thinking to gain perspective, clarity and take profits to the next level inside the 4th Industrial Revolution where anything is possible.

Keynote Topic #1

    The 5 Step System to Achieve Results in Life and Business Regardless of the Circumstances

    Everyone should have access to the radical idea behind achieving breakthrough growth #NoMatterWhat. Now it’s your turn. From having come back from the brink to sell companies, finish ultra-marathons and achieve results #NoMatterWhat it took, Sterling has integrated those experiences with extensive research to create a system that unlocks the potential inside of anyone and any company. Meaningful growth, regardless of circumstances, is driven by one thing and one thing only: your culture. You’ll learn the most important systems that have been at the core of — multi-billion dollar wins, industry disruptions and even hardened criminals transforming their lives to get out of jail — to take and implement as soon as you walk out the door. Getting this unique perspective will forever change how you approach business and life.

     

    Sterling uses heart-wrenching personal stories, hilarious anecdotes and inspirational videos that are not only informative and entertaining, but contain exactly what it takes to transform your business.

    • See how to avoid the pitfalls of transformational growth.

    • Discover that a breakthrough isn’t a place to get to, but a place to come from (and how).

    • Learn the brain science behind this radical new approach.

    • Master how to use the 5 #NoMatterWhat system to create transformational growth regardless of the circumstances.

    • Be inspired and excited to implement the tools in every aspect of your business and life.

    Audiences participate as an undeniable truth sets in, that each one of them can embody the 5 practices it takes to realize even the most audacious growth under the most difficult circumstances.

     

    Participants are left empowered, excited and equipped to change the world, #NoMatterWhat.

Keynote Topic #2

    How Leaders Innovate: Capture the Potential of the Human Experience

    We live in a world today of exponential growth and accelerating change. Changing ourselves and our businesses is more necessary than ever. But how? Delivered to global rave reviews in his TEDx talk, Sterling’s background in working with hundreds of startups and Fortune 500 companies has led to the discovery that leading innovation is about embracing our human experience.

     

    He’ll illuminate how personal discomfort gives access to breakthrough growth of any type and how to find the courage to not just accept it but to get out ahead of it to be able to lead change as the only competitive advantage. In this provocative talk, you can step back and see your leadership potential and how it's directly tied to putting yourself on the line for the benefit of those you lead.

    • The critical role our own discomfort plays in our business success (or lack thereof)

    • How using discomfort can lead to innovative thinking and breakthrough ideas

    • Experience what the human experience is with a moving and powerful example

    • Learn the methodology behind using constraints, hardships or problems as circumstances to be embraced as our access to innovation

    • Develop an ecology of people who create big goals allows for and even forces actions that were previously unthinkable

    The talk is a motivational and eye-opening experience where Sterling shares how leaders of companies of any size can embrace the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as robots, IoT and AI and create something completely new without losing who they are in the process.

Keynote Topic #3

    Creating the Future of Commerce

    Sterling was raised in his family’s supermarket, where his Dad created one of the first digital loyalty programs in the US, and together they created the first personalized marketing system for retailers.

     

    Retail today is changing faster than ever before. Venture dollars have accelerated startups flooding the market and COVID-19 has forever changed the face of modern retailing. Taking what he learned in his family’s organization about the creation of value and the importance of people and connection, then combining it with unique, completely new abilities of countless technologies, Sterling explores how we arrived at this point, the surprising future in store for us and how we can create a future which fulfills on our business essentials and delivers on our customers' wants, desires, and needs.

    • Look at the power shift in the supply chain. Hint, customers are now in charge.

    • Open up new possibilities for a retail group can be based on case studies and real results

    • Examine the latest case studies of what’s working and what’s not in the industry

    • Learn how to use the 4 steps of retail innovation

    • Create new possibilities and potential for your retail and brand operations.

    Sterling’s leadership and vision has enabled retailers and their teams to step past the hype that traditional retail is dead. He has empowered organizations to use technology to unify experiences and redefine retail as a flourishing force to be reckoned with, now and in the future.

        • WeSpeak Global
          12/07/2021 at 8:56 pm

          Sterling’s contribution to Seamless Africa 2018 was a vital part of an informative event which tackled pressing issues. His willingness to engage with other conference attendees and speakers, have honest conversations, and pledge to work together with other players to provide effective solutions will have a lasting effect on the industry. It was nothing short of a pleasure working with Sterling and his team, and I hope that I have the opportunity to work with them again some time! His positive attitude, professionalism, and enthusiasm made this conference a pleasure to host, making our time together productive and fun. It was such a pleasure meeting him and hearing what his big ideas were from his discussion!

          — Molly Newman, Conference Director, Seamless

          Keynote Talk - Live

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        • WeSpeak Global
          11/06/2021 at 8:55 pm

          Excellent Talk! Sterling Hawkins gave a riveting presentation at our first annual BizTech Symposium held near our USA headquarters here in New York City. The audience was a wide-ranging mix of retailers, investors, political leaders and partners from a dozen different countries. Sterling was able to curate his presentation so that it captured the interest of the varied audience members. […] Sterling also served up thoughtful answers to questions poised to him on our speaker’s panel, where he shared the stage with General Michael Hayden and other prominent speakers.

          — Tom Haley, Senior Vice President, E1 Marketing Lab

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        • WeSpeak Global
          09/17/2021 at 8:49 pm

          Sterling was very easy to work with, start to finish! He was available to take our calls to learn more about our company and our audience before speaking at our Annual User Group Conference, Reflexions. He was great at keeping our attendees attention and getting them excited for the rest of our event. Sterling even offered to attend our Welcome Reception to introduce himself and meet our attendees for more in depth conversations.

          — Hillary Fogle Global Event Manager, Reflexis Systems, Inc.

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        • WeSpeak Global
          09/12/2021 at 8:46 pm

          Sterling was not only a delight to work with, but had rave reviews from our audience of executives! His energy was contagious, and he provided real strategies for success and inspiration, to send us out with a bang after three full days of content. Highly recommend Sterling as your next keynote!

          — Maddie Rollason Senior Manager, Event Content & Design, Winsight, LLC

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        • WeSpeak Global
          04/11/2021 at 8:45 pm

          Sterling combines powerful storytelling with meaningful information and tools leaving listeners excited and empowered to take action. He’s one of only a few speakers I’ve seen that actually makes a real difference. We’ll definitely have him back!

          — Michael Mikyska, Managing Director, Innerworkings, Inc.

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        • WeSpeak Global
          12/04/2020 at 8:51 pm

          Sterling was the keynote speaker at Syndigo’s first-ever IGNITE eCommerce leadership conference. As industry disruptors, it was critical for us to find a speaker that understood the importance and value of innovating at a fast pace. Sterling did a great job captivating our audience and aligning his presentation with the key takeaways of the conference. He was very engaging and was a great kick-off to the rest of the event!

          — Patrick Niersbach Vice President & Head of Marketing, Syndigo

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        • WeSpeak Global
          10/09/2020 at 8:54 pm

          Sterling’s keynote was spot on…it was very thought provoking and challenged the team to think in different ways

          — Mark Spinks, President, Beauty Systems Group, LLC

          Keynote Talk - Live

        • WeSpeak Global
          09/09/2020 at 10:00 am

          TAKEAWAY VALUE

          Sterling was not only a delight to work with, but had rave reviews from our audience of executives! His energy was contagious, and he provided real strategies for success and inspiration, to send us out with a bang after three full days of content. Highly recommend Sterling as your next keynote!

          — Maddie Rollason Senior Manager, Event Content & Design, Winsight, LLC

          Keynote Talk - Live

        • Duncan Hesketh
          08/18/2020 at 9:58 am

          Over my many years running events around the world, few if any of my 2,000+ speakers delivered as remarkable a performance as Sterling did at Seamless Asia 2017.

          Oliver Arscott, Director, Terrapinn

          Keynote Talk - Live

        • WeSpeak
          07/11/2020 at 9:49 am

          Sterling combines powerful storytelling with meaningful information and tools leaving listeners excited and empowered to take action. He’s one of only a few speakers I’ve seen that actually makes a real difference. We’ll definitely have him back!

          — Michael Mikyska, Managing Director, Innerworkings, Inc.

          Keynote Talk - Live

        • WeSpeak Global
          10/12/2019 at 8:51 pm

          Sterling delivered an outstanding keynote focused on “Retail Tomorrow” during our GM19 Marketing Conference. As always, Sterling was engaging, provocative, and optimistic about the opportunities ahead. Sterling is a credible and genuine thought-leader, and we’ll look forward to using him at future events.

          — Patrick Spear, President/CEO, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow

          Keynote Talk - Live

        • WeSpeak Global
          06/27/2017 at 8:46 pm

          Over my many years running events around the world, few if any of my 2,000+ speakers delivered as remarkable a performance as Sterling did at Seamless Asia 2017.

          — Oliver Arscott, Director, Terrapinn

          Keynote Talk - Live

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