"So often I get caught up in the 'whats next' phenomenon you referred to that I forget to enjoy the moment. I take 15 credits, work 30 hours, and hold leadership positions in two important organizations… and I seem to think that the daily grind is all that matters. Your speech totally put things into perspective for me, so I just wanted to say thank you."
- Kelsey, Slippery Rock Univ.
- The Real Story: What's Behind Our Perfect Profiles
- Inspire, Not Require
The Real Story: What's Behind our Perfect Profiles
When Jess first started her company, Headbands of Hope, as a college student, she had a rough start. She wired $10k (of all the money she had) and a loan from her dad, to a manufacturer for her first round of production. After the money was wired, she never heard from them again and the money disappeared. She thought about giving up, but realized she believed in the business too much to let it go before it began. She brushed herself off, got a $300 grant from her university, and created a million- dollar company that has impacted hundreds of thousands of kids with cancer.
Jess was discouraged in the beginning when she saw other people’s success stories on social media or in articles. She thought, ‘why is it so easy for them and so hard for me?’ She didn’t understand why she was running into so many hurdles and didn’t feel like anyone else was until her mom forwarded an article from the founder of Airbnb. He leaked five investor rejection emails who passed on the opportunity to get in early on Airbnb. The emails showed rejection after rejection, stating the potential market opportunity isn’t big enough or they just flat out weren’t interested. Airbnb is now a $31 billion-dollar company. The article showed Jess that it wasn’t just an ‘aha’ moment that exploded overnight into a household name (which is how a lot of people paint their story). In fact, each failure made her stronger. When people are honest and disclose the real story about their start before their success, it humanizes the hustle.
You don’t have to graduate from a top school or have years of high-level experience to do great things. You can make mistakes (big ones, too) and still make it. But when we pretend it’s smooth sailing or blame our success to luck or being in the right place at the right time, it paints a false picture that can make people turn around at the first sign of adversity. This keynote will tell an honest tale of Jess and others who went for their dreams, whether that’s starting a business, getting your dream job, running a race, or becoming the school mascot. Students will learn to humanize the success by honoring the struggle.
- that every expert they know was once a beginner,
- how failures are not opposite of success, they’re part of the success,
- that in order to be resilient, you have to believe in the end result.
Inspire, Not Require
Has community service become a requirement? Something we have to do to please those evaluating us? From college applications to campus awards, so many students are engaging in service projects within their organizations. But, are they really making the connection to the good work they are doing?
In this keynote, Jess Ekstrom encourages student leaders to “redefine philanthropy” from a requirement to a lifestyle. “We’re so worried about crossing philanthropy and service requirements off our list that we forget the purpose behind it. We forget to feel the passion.”
Jess uses examples from her own development as a student leader and philanthropic professional. As founder of Headbands of Hope, she has learned the amazing power of service – changing thousands of children’s lives. She understands that service often means doing grunt work, but she knows how a connection to those who are served makes all of it extremely worthwhile.
If students at your campus need to make a stronger connection between their service activities and the ethics of service, this program will open their eyes and hearts. If you are planning a large campus service event (dance marathon, Relay for Life, etc.), Jess will get your coordinators better equipped to communicate the crucial messages to other students.
· Treat philanthropy as a lifestyle, not a requirement
· How to inspire your peers to take action instead of forcing them
· Don’t stop at awareness of social issues, focus on action
For bookings, contact here.