Today’s episode of True Grit and Grace is about a side of resilience that is easy for some people and really hard for others. I’m talking about optimism! It’s a game changer when you learn how to harness it, and I’m so excited to bring you this conversation with the queen of optimism, Jess Ekstrom. As she told me in our interview, “Let the wonder be louder than the limits.”

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. 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. She is the Founder of Bright Pages, a guided online journal for the doers with daily prompts based on your goals.

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, and  donating over half a million headbands to every children’s hospital in America and 15 countries. Jess and her husband, Jake, travel around the country in their Airstream with their dog, Ollie.


Here’s what you will learn:

  • Why Jess was inspired to found Headbands of Hope (4:24)
  • How to find the optimism to do big projects (13:17)
  • How sharing her uncle’s story helped her to live what she was teaching on turning frustration into inspiration(18:39)
  • The importance of leaving the future open for possibility (26:55)
  • How an internet journal can help you flesh out your thoughts (33:48)
  • A great resource to help you get started with writing a book (39:48)

What did you learn from this episode? Share on Instagram and tag us at @amberlylagomotivation and @jess_ekstrom so we can see!


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