Sterling Hawkins

Business, E-commerce, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Retail, Trends

Travels from California, USA

Sterling Hawkins's speaking fee falls within range:
$15,000 to $20,000

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Sterling Hawkins Profile

  • Co-founder of the business solution platform and consultancy, CART, Hawkins is a 5th generation retailer and prominent business leader working to close the "retail innovation gap."

  • An internationally sought-out speaker and consultant, Hawkins offers a unique retailer perspective on emerging technologies, helping start-ups, brands, and legacy retailers pick out hidden opportunities, reinvent the way they do commerce, and compete with online giants like Amazon and Alibaba.

  • Hawkins' Fortune 500 clients include P&G, Mitsubishi, Zebra Technologies, and Stater Bros, and he has also collaborated with Stanford, Cornell, and the University of Texas to better prepare future business leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors for the 4th Industrial Revolution.
  • Entrepreneur and 5th generation retailer, Sterling Hawkins works with start-ups, legacy retailers, and Fortune 500 companies to close the innovation gap in retail. Hawkins heads operations and venture relations for CART (Center for Advancing Retail & Technology), a leading edge platform and consultancy that allows brands and wholesalers to research and connect with their target customers and find the best solutions to business problems.

    Passionate about connecting online environments to the real world, Hawkins has consulted for P&G, Mitsubishi, Zebra Technologies, Stater Bros., and many other companies. In the academic sector, he’s collaborated with Stanford, Cornell, and the University of Texas in crafting curricula that better equips future business leaders and creators for the 4th Industrial Revolution. As part of his work, Hawkins evaluates over 1,000 emerging technologies each year from a retail perspective first, asking himself how they can reinvent and improve the way we do retail.

    Hawkins’ mission to re-envision commerce and create a better experience for customers has been featured in Inc. Magazine, The New York Times, ABC Money, AlleyWatch, Yahoo Finance, Forbes and other major media outlets.

    Sterling co-founded, launched and sold his first retail technology company, Convena in 2004. He grew up working in his family’s New York state-based supermarket, Green Hills Farms, which evolved from his great-great grandmother’s roadside produce stand.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Sterling Hawkins is a business leader, entrepreneur and investor living at the intersection of in-store and online. Currently running operations and venture relations for CART, his legacy is that of a 5th generation retailer whose family name is synonymous with retail. From that springboard, he has worked with clients on best practices in consumer marketing, loyalty and retail technology including Mitsubishi, M&M Meat Shop, Procter & Gamble and many others. Through CART, he has also partnered with universities including Stanford, Cornell and the University of Texas to incorporate the future of retail into their curricula and provider a go-to-market channel for relevant startups.

      In 2004, Sterling co-founded, launched and sold his first retail technology company, Convena. Since, he has been actively involved in the community speaking at business conferences around the world. He has been seen in ABC Money, Comstock, RetailWire and Forbes.

      Sterling lives in Los Angeles and spends his time mobilizing a network of startups, investors and retailers to bring together online and in-store for the betterment of business, communities and the human condition.

    Sterling Hawkins Speaking Videos

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    Sterling Hawkins's Speech Descriptions

    From 3-D printing to AI, technology’s exponential explosion offers limitless potential to reinvent retail, yet most businesses are only scratching the surface of what’s possible. Business leader and entrepreneur, Sterling Hawkins helps audiences view emerging technologies from a retailer perspective first so that your business can vet the best ones to invest in. In addition to showing you how to raise your ROI, Hawkins works with your group to craft an innovative mindset, meaning that you’re not just making something better – you’re creating something new.

    When Sterling shows up to speak, he shows up to deliver value to an audience. To give his all and really make a difference for attendees and make the conference director look like a rockstar for bringing him in. Specifics are customized to the audience for the most impactful experience possible and include technologies and demonstrations of 4th industrial revolution technologies as it forwards the intention.

    Creating the future of Commerce: trends, technologies and tools that are shaping how we buy

    Freedom to Innovate: How to unlock your ability to create something new

    Innovation thinking: Perspective, clarity and how to think in the 4th industrial revolution

    Sterling Hawkins on Speaking

    I get to make a difference for people and that’s the number one reason why I do it. Inside of a keynote I’m able to create entirely new possibilities for an audience that light up actions for them to take in their businesses.

    SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations and why do you do it?

    HAWKINS: I get to make a difference for people and that’s the number one reason why I do it. Inside of a keynote I’m able to create entirely new possibilities for an audience that light up actions for them to take in their businesses. It has a ripple effect inside of conferences that really leaves the event and attendees with tangible results.

    There is so much technology out there that not only works, but is also economically viable and can entirely change what retail (and the world) looks like. Inside of a keynote, we start to create that change and give people the tools and knowledge so they can start making that difference as well.

    SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

    HAWKINS: It’s funny — I often hear I’m such a natural speaker, but that has only come with practice, practice and more practice.

    I have a lot of material to draw from so I spend time understanding who event attendees are and what they’re currently dealing with. Then I orient my message, stories, and content in a way that’s not only relatable, but furthermore, inspires action.

    SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

    HAWKINS: There have been bomb scares in Melbourne, flight cancelations in New York, and countless adventures in and around speaking engagements like diving with great white sharks or sailing the Galapagos.

    One of my favorite stories though is about a speech I gave in Japan years ago. It was to a larger audience and one of my first keynotes so I was overly prepared. Since I don’t speak Japanese, there was consecutive translation set up, which I loved since it afforded me a few seconds between each thought for the translator to translate. I got up there after a big applause, delivered my first sentence and the translator started right on queue.

    30 seconds went by. 60 seconds. 90 seconds.

    A full two minutes later the translator started to wrap up and the entire audience broke out laughing. I was confused; I hadn’t told a joke. I stumbled through the rest of the presentation, found the translator afterwards, and asked him what he had said out there that had everyone laughing. “Oh,” he replied, “don’t worry — I told them you were here to talk about the future of commerce, but that you were really here to find a Japanese wife.”

    SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

    HAWKINS: Audiences that want to make a difference themselves. We have the toolsets to unlock innovation thinking and unleash action to produce measurable results.

    Of course, it’s particularly relevant to crowds that have to do with retail and commerce; however, it’s a message that resonates with entrepreneurial groups, business managers, and even more traditional companies that want to start taking steps toward change.

    What I love most is talking about innovation thinking because it opens people and businesses up to so much potential.

    SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?

    HAWKINS: I love everything that I get to speak about. What I love most is talking about innovation thinking because it opens people and businesses up to so much potential. Not only is it a blast to share — it’s something that people take with them and put into use. I continually get updates from past attendees on how take-aways from my programs are impacting their businesses and lives.

    SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

    HAWKINS: There’re countless quotes on how powerful language can be. Our future is literally created through the conversations we’re having now, which is why I felt I had to speak. I was scared in the beginning; to start speaking meant to be vulnerable and be willing to embrace the unknown in myself. Yet it has ultimately led to more fun than I could have imagined, impacting more businesses than I would have ever believed, and giving me more fulfillment than I ever thought possible.

    There’s a difference between speaking to an audience and speaking with an audience. My audiences are engaged because I’m talking with them, not just talking at them.

    SPEAKING.COM: How do you keep your audience engaged and actively listening during your keynotes? Do you use case studies, personal stories and/or in your speeches?

    HAWKINS: Yes, yes, and yes. There’s a difference between speaking to an audience and speaking with an audience. My audiences are engaged because I’m talking with them, not just talking at them. Of course there’s interaction, vivid stories, case studies, and take-aways, but they’re delivered in a way that gets up under the audience where they know that I know that I’m talking with each of them, be it 10 people or 1,000 people.

    SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients achieve?

    HAWKINS: We’ve kicked off successful corporate meetings by shaking up the conversation. We’ve launched conferences with record-breaking attendance and engagement. We’ve even shifted corporate cultures from resistant to change to a culture that actually creates change.

    One of the things I’m most proud of is a success at a business event relatively recently. We kicked off the program and lit up a very traditional crowd with more energy, more excitement, more possibility than they’ve ever seen at this conference, which has been running for about 50 years. The keynote spurred more engagement than they’ve ever logged throughout the program – such as record early registrations for the following year’s event and the most positive feedback they’ve seen so far. Exclusive Interview with Sterling Hawkins
    Driving Retail Innovation, with Sterling Hawkins
    In this interview, innovation speaker Sterling Hawkins discusses:
    • Why retail hasn't changed as much as we think it has.
    • The coming revolution in retail and why customers will be the big winners.
    • Building a culture geared for innovation.
    Read the Full Interview

    "You don’t need technology for technology’s sake. Done right, technology works for people. Right now there’s an incredible opportunity to use all these emerging technologies to further real customer relationships at scale."
    - Sterling Hawkins

    What People are Saying about Seeing Sterling Speak

    Rating Entries

    Sterling’s Tedx Chula Vista speech was excellent. His admonition for us to find our MacGyver moment was a perfect way to end a wonderful event. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Hawkins’ telling how he pushed through his fears and started to tell his story. And, it was his ability to tell that story that totally connected with his audience. Well done!


    Over my many years running events around the world, few if any of my 2,000+ speakers delivered as remarkable a performance as Sterling did at Seamless Asia 2017.

    — Oliver Arscott, Director, Terrapinn

    I highly recommend him and we’ll definitely have him back!

    — Ravi Kanniganti, Zebra Technologies, Product & Program Leader

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