Keynote Speaker - 2021

Jess Ekstrom

Jess Ekstrom is the founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope, a company she started as a junior in college in 2012. For every headband sold, a headband is given to a child with cancer.

Her first brush with success was selling all of her toys on eBay when she was twelve. Since then, Jess has been featured on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, the Hallmark Channel, Inside Edition, Vanity Fair, Forbes, and People Magazine ran an exclusive on her when her book released. Jess is a regular guest on QVC.

More importantly, Headbands of Hope has donated over half a million headbands reaching every children’s hospital in the United States and in fifteen countries.

Her book Chasing the Bright Side debuted as a #1 New Release on Amazon and Apple picked her audiobook as their Must-Listen of the month. She thinks it’s because of her Bill Nye the Science Guy impression she did when she was narrating.


Jess is also a professional speaker and founder of Mic Drop Workshop, an online course with the mission of empowering more women to share their message as a speaker.

Some of her career highlights have been...

Hosting proms at Children's Hospitals

Being dubbed "The Ultimate Game Changer" by Women's Health Magazine

Making the Under 30 Women to Watch list by Business Insider

Being named a “top motivational speaker” by Forbes

Donating over half a million headbands to every children's hospital in America and 15 countries

Making it on CNN when she finished The Krispy Kreme challenge (where you eat a dozen donuts and run 5 miles)

and teaching her dog to sit, stay and shake

Jess and her husband, Jake, travel around the country in their Airstream with their dog, Ollie.

Social Media links:


In this keynote, Jess will talk about how uncertainty and times of need can actually be breeding grounds for innovation. Uncertainty is what we make it: it can feel like an impending doom or an opportunity to create a future we want to live in.

“Hard times give us a choice: the excuse to do less or the reason to do more.” – Jess Ekstrom in Chasing the Bright Side

In Jess’ bestselling book, Chasing the Bright Side, she talks about how optimism isn’t about eliminating the negativity, it’s about using it to create something better. Even the spark of her business, Headbands of Hope, was started because of a problem she saw: kids with cancer wanted to wear headbands after hair-loss. Now, her company has donated over 600,000 headbands to kids with illnesses and has reached every children’s hospital in the United States and 22 countries.

But it all began because there was a problem. Problems are where a lot of great ideas begin if we let them.

If you’re looking to find a keynote speaker who can deliver inspiration infused with humor and entertainment, then Jess is your choice. In this keynote, she aims to ease the anxiety around the future, mobilize people to innovate, and reimagine the answer to what’s next?


*New problems also mean new solutions

*Recognizing discomfort around uncertainty and learn to work with it

*How to use optimism as grit

*Reimagine the future and your place in it



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