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Sterling Hawkins

Los Angeles, CA

Expert in retail innovatios

Co-Founder and CEO at CART

Fortune 500's consultant

“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 Retail Managing Director, Innerworkings, Inc.

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

Speaker topics:

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 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. His leadership 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 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

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