Jess Ekstrom is the energetic CEO and founder of Headbands of Hope, and the developer of the Mic Drop Workshop. I had the pleasure of meeting Jess in Atlanta last year, and knew from the moment she shared the mission of her company (and it only further made me love her when she quoted Will Ferrell) that I wanted to talk to her more, and to have her on the show.
Jess’ story of creating Headbands of Hope is one that resonates on all three of the Inspiration, Intention, and Action tenets that have been a part of Season 4 on Jump Start Your Joy. In her time working with the Make a Wish Foundation, she noticed that children didn’t like to wear a wig after having gone through chemo, and that many of the little girls preferred to wear a headband instead. Inspired by seeing an unmet need (there was no central place offering headbands for kids), Jess created Headbands of Hope with a “buy one, donate one” business model similar to Toms Shoes, and created a simple and impactful business that’s brought hope to children in every children’s hospital in the US.
It was Jess’ intention to make an impact through a simple but powerful way – to brighten the day and provide a boost of confidence to children going through chemo. And it was her own action to bring this idea to life that now feeds back to the inspiration and support of others.
Jess Ekstrom and I talk about:
- Her earliest sparks of joy: food, and going on a scavenger hunt for a new skateboard that had her name spray painted on it
- How she started Headbands of Hope
- The insights she learned working for Make a Wish, and having met the owner of Toms shoes as she was creating her company
- Sometimes the things that are most earth shattering and game changing are the simplest
- How to get to inspiration from frustration
- Her Mic Drop workshop, and how it fills the need of having more women speakers at conferences and conventions
- Why we both love Will Ferrell and how we feel that he creates connection with others through humor
- What schools and parents can do to provide children with a more well rounded point of view and better life skills
- Her upcoming book, which is due out in November 2019
- How to jump start joy in your life: unplug: remove yourself from the screen, play more, and develop a writing habit