Sterling Hawkins

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Master of Innovation, tech entrepreneur and expert on leadership to break the status quo

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2 Video(s) By This Presenter

Sterling Hawkins Speaker Highlight Reel
TEDx: Discomfort is Necessary for Innovation

3 Programs By This Presenter

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 any one 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’s not only informational and entertaining, but contains exactly what it takes to transform your business. 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.

Learning Objectives:

  • 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 systems to create transformational growth regardless of the circumstances.
  • Be inspired and excited to implement the tools in every aspect of your business and life.

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 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.

Learning Objectives:

  • 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

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 and needs.

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.

Learning Objectives:

  • 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 delivered an outstanding keynote […] 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.

— GMDC & Retail Tomorrow

“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!

— Syndigo

“Sterling was not only a delight to work with, but had rave reviewsfrom our audience of executives! His energy was contagious, andhe provided real strategies for success and inspiration, to sendus out with a bang after three full days of content. Highlyrecommend Sterling as your next keynote!

— Winsight LLC

“He was very engaging and even attended one of our parties to get to know our guests!”

— Reflexis

“Thank you Sterling for a breath taking speech on Innovation!! Your mindset and delivery is epic and amazing and I am ever so grateful for your presentation at City Summit! Riveting!!”

— City Summit & City Gala

“I highly recommend him and we’ll definitely have him back!”

— Zebra Technologies

“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!”

— Seamless Africa

Thank you very much for your inspirational presentation! We have never heard a talk like Sterling’s before. Interesting examples to drill in the message, really nice how he understood BMS and pulled in the BMS behaviors, etc. Well done! Sterling was an instrumental part of the US Medical National MeetingL Innovating the Future Together.”

— Bristol Myers Squibb

” Your keynote presentation on the #NoMatterWhatSystem was very inspirational and had provided us with the insight and tools needed to be effective leaders at the command. As we embark on a transformational journey in creating a culture of learning, know that your #NoMatterWhat System will help us build on the belief that we can achieve success no matter what obstacles we face. Your knowledge, insight and motivation is invaluable and we look forward to incorporating your system into our everyday actions as leaders.”

— America's Navy

“Sterling delivered a keynote address to our audience of customers and associates that was inspiring and impactful. He did an excellent job of tailoring his material to our audiences which helps the audience connect to his message. HE brings an authentic and positive energy to his speaking that captures the attention of the audience connect to his message. He brings an authentic and positive energy to his speaking that captures the attention of the audience. What a great way to kick off our virtual event! Sterling was a pleasure to work with and was full of ideas to elevate the customer experience. I would highly recommend Sterling to any event organizer looking for a keynote speaker.”

— SpartanNash

“Sterling was engaging, impactful, motivating and tailored his presentation to meet the needs of his audience and the challenge the healthcare industry continues to face during these uncertain times #NoMatterWhat. His presentation helped set the stage to a successful conference. I would highly recommend Sterling for a future event.”

— Tennessee Hospital Association

” Sterling… challenged all of us to think differently in these times. With the tools he provided me. I was able to reframe my goals and the roadblocks I was putting up to achieve them. Within a few weeks and leaning into the #NoMatterWhat mindset, I was able to grow into areas that I felt were outside of my comfort zone. When we look back at 2020, we will remember the leaders and partners that inspired all of us to achieve the impossible in an environment that was challenging and unknown. Sterling has been one of those leaders for me and I am grateful to have kicked off 2020 with a casual introduction to him…”

— Intel

” Transformational growth in the times of COVID may seem an oxymoron, Sterling took the audience on a journey, integrating his experience and research, to deliver a powerful and thought provoking #NoMatterWhat presentation. Combining powerful storytelling with meaningful content and thought leadership the presentation was a highlight of our conference. Working in the hybrid world of physical and virtual Sterling’s delivery was exemplary. Thank you Sterling.”

— Australian Food and Grocery Council
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