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Sterling Hawkins, speaker

Sterling Hawkins

    • Master of Innovation, Tech Entrepreneur & Transformational Leadership Expert
    • Co-founder of the business solution platform and consultancy, CART
    • Break the status quo & create what’s possible
Full Bio
Fee Range, In-Person:

$20,000 - $30,000

Fee Range, Virtual: Please Inquire
Travels From


Highlight Reel

Highlight Reel

Discomfort is Necessary for Innovation | Sterling Hawkins | TEDxChulaVista

Discomfort is Necessary for Innovation | Sterling Hawkins | TEDxChulaVista

Creating the Future of Commerce

Creating the Future of Commerce

Innovative Thinking and The Human Experience

Innovative Thinking and The Human Experience

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.

His journey has been non-traditional right from the beginning. Sterling grew up a fifth-generation retailer, having to master the intersection of human behavior 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 the 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 the 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 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.

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.

Why Book Sterling? 

- Involved with the launch, growth or investment in over 50 companies to understand what breakthrough innovation takes to be realized

- Fifth-generation retailer background, having to master the intersection of human behavior and technology under extreme competition

- Works with Fortune 500 companies (P&G, Synchrony Financial, United Nations) to drive adoption of new technology, making better decisions, faster

- Found in Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, The New York Times and Forbes


There’s a difference between what we plan on (or what we accept) and what’s actually possible: The Innovation Gap™. 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 that 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.


- 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 vs. what’s not.
- Leadership in the future needs to be a 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 ignites 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.



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 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.


- 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 access to impacting organizational culture minimizes limited thinking which leads 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 will make the biggest difference.


How Leaders Innovate

The only constant is change. Sterling’s background in working with hundreds of startups and fortune 500 companies has led to a discovery. Told as a story inside the 80s 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.


- 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.


We live in a culture of consumerism and technology.  In this talk, 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 wants and needs. When Sterling was growing up in his family’s supermarket, business was all about customers and all about community. Walmart, Amazon and others broke that traditional mold, making it all about scale, expansion and technology.

Venture dollars have accelerated startups flooding the market. Sterling began with his family’s organization and has now spanned the global retail industry shaping how emerging technologies such as robots, drones, artificial intelligence and countless other technologies can and do transform businesses and their people fulfill on their wants and needs.

For those in retail or interested in retail, this talk is a hands-on roadmap of which technologies are part of the present and the future, which organizations are already engaged in using them. He explains how leaders can inspire an organizational culture which embraces the change necessary to keep pace and to eventually become the innovators. 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

- Look at the power shift in the supply chain. Hint, customers are now in charge.
- Opening up new possibilities for a retail group can be based on case studies and real results.
- Create new possibilities and potential for your retail and brand operations.

Speaking Topics:

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