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 company has donated over 100,000 headbands to every children’s hospital in the United States and 6 countries.  The day after she spoke at ETS2017, she was on good Morning America with Michael Strahan and was given a $10,000 check.  You can view a video clip of this here.

Key Takeaways of Presentation

      • Jess talked about how she didn’t immediately start out with an idea for her company Headbands of Hope.  It came from a summer job at Disney World where she worked with the cleanup crews.  While there, she worked with people who hated their job and with people who loved their job, yet they all did the same job.  In other words, the attitude toward the same exact work was starkly different between people because of their attitude toward the work and the meaningfulness (or lack thereof) of that work to that particular person.
      • It was also at Disney World where she was exposed to the Make a Wish Foundation, which eventually led her to finding ways to help terminally ill children, and with that her company Headbands of Hope was started.
      • Jess believes there are 3 ways of finding meaning in your work:
        • Create. When you create solutions, you learn the value of your work.
        • Learn. Learn from everything…from your mistakes, from your interactions, from everything.
        • Finish.  Execute with purpose, not perfection.  Don’t let perfection stand in the way of completing something.
        • Bottom Line: All work can be meaningful.  It’s about finding what’s meaningful to you.


A few select slides from her presentation are displayed in the slider below.  Click the button to download the presentation.