Sterling Hawkins


About Sterling Hawkins - Leading Speaker on Breakthrough Innovation, Tech Entrepreneur and Leadership Expert:

Sterling Hawkins is out to break the status quo to create what’s actually possible for humanity in our time. He has spent his career igniting new views and inspiring people to act on them. He is an internationally-recognized thought leader and top-rated keynote speaker on innovation, transformational leadership and exponential growth. His keynotes share meaningful strategies to drive change - delivered with the inspiration to leave attendees in action.

His journey has been non-traditional right from the beginning. Sterling grew up a fifth-generation retailer - having to master the intersection of human behaviour and technology under extreme competition. In 2004, Sterling co-founded, launched and sold his first technology company, Convena - where he developed innovative approaches to beat competition, handle high-growth and achieve performance no matter the obstacles.

He went on to be involved with the launch, growth or investment in over 50 companies. Today, Sterling reviews over 1,000 new technology companies every year - further refining the keys to realizing breakthrough innovation and giving back that experience as a mentor to leading entrepreneurs working through exponential growth. He is the co-founder of CART, a platform to drive adoption of emerging technologies at Fortune 500 companies. And he speaks and runs workshops around the world for clients such as Samsung, Criteo, Synchrony Financial and the United Nations.

Sterling is a certified yoga teacher and adventure seeker - regularly pushing his own boundaries of what’s possible by skydiving, century bike riding, shark diving, and even camping in the Sahara. He brings that energy of maximizing human potential and breaking past limiting beliefs to everything he does. Currently living in Los Angeles, he has been seen in Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, The New York Times and Forbes.

Sterling is inspiring a network of entrepreneurs, investors and Fortune 500 companies, actively shaping the future for the betterment of business, communities and the human condition. Of course, he’s still regularly found on adventures.

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What Sterling Hawkins Talks About:

The Innovation Gap™
There’s a difference between what we plan on (or what we accept) and what’s actually possible. In this talk, Sterling first explores Innovation Thinking™ to see that gap in our businesses and our lives – and then, with the audience, steps into the gap. Starting with the fact that social scientists know but most businesses don’t: people aren’t built for change. Amazon, Facebook and Apple are some organizations who have figured this out and experienced exponential growth at times. Learn the keys to developing a culture of  innovation to take advantage of the growth potential all around us.

Key takeaways:

  • Access to The Innovation Gap™ requires a special kind of skill. This
    skill is letting go of everything we think we already know – to discover what’s possible. Learn to develop a perspective that looks for what’s possible – versus what’s not
  • Leadership in the future needs to be leadership that embraces change – a world where transformational performance is possible and proven. Gain insight on how leaders, agents of change and facilitators of the innovation process ignite that spirit in others
  • Sterling shows audiences, by example, how to develop innovation thinking – to gain perspective, clarity and take profits to the next level inside the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where anything is possible

The Illusion of the Impossible™
Our action (or lack of action) determines our results. If we see something as impossible – we don’t do anything about it. This wouldn’t be a problem other than the fact that most of what we see as impossible is an illusion. It’s not actually impossible. It was impossible to fly before the Wright Brothers. It was impossible to go to the moon with the computer processing power of a desk calculator before JFK. The same limiting “impossibilities” occur within our businesses. In this talk Sterling unveils the illusion of the impossible – opening up new possibilities for everyone in attendance. He brings case studies such as IBM, Amazon and Apple together with pop culture references – to give attendees valuable takeaways they’re excited to do something about.

Key takeaways:

  • There are key tools to unmask the illusion of the impossible. Learn how to distinguish those limits – to open up new thinking, ideas and possibilities within your business
  • Our companies only work because of the people. Every company has a group of people – and every group of people develops a culture. Developing accesses to impacting organizational culture minimizes limited thinking which lead to unleashing the organizational potential
  • Seeing an action to take is easy. Seeing the most effective action to take is not. Thinking that there is only one option will stop everything. Lifting the veil of the impossible gives us access to seeing ALL the actions, products, services or solutions that will make the biggest difference

How Leaders Innovate
The only constant is change. Sterling’s background in working with hundreds of start-ups and Fortune 500 companies has led to a discovery. Told as a story inside the 80’s TV show MacGyver, innovation isn’t about money, who you know – or even being in the right place at the right time. It’s about discomfort – and embracing that discomfort as our access to breakthrough growth. People aren’t built for that, 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. Sterling learned that first-hand as he worked with clients to embrace the technologies of the Fourth 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.

Key takeaways:

  • Intentionally creating discomfort in your current situation in the workplace leads to innovative thinking
  • See constraints, hardships and problems as not something to rid ourselves from – but as the access to innovation
  • An ecology of people who create big goals allows for and even forces us to take actions that were previously unthinkable to us

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 Recent Publications

    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 a great kick-off to the rest of the event!

    Vice President & Head of Marketing at Syndigo

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