Sterling Hawkins

Co-founder, CART
Sterling Hawkins is out to break the status quo to create what’s actually possible for humanity in our time. He has spent his career igniting new views and inspiring people to act on them. His journey has been non-traditional right from the beginning. Sterling grew up a fifth-generation retailer, having to master the intersection of human behavior and technology under extreme competition. In 2004, Sterling co-founded, launched and sold his first technology company, Convena, where he developed innovative approaches to beat competition, handle high-growth and achieve performance no matter the obstacles. He went on to be involved with the launch, growth or investment in over 50 companies. Today, Sterling reviews over 1,000 new technology companies every year further refining the keys to realizing breakthrough innovation and giving back that experience as a mentor to leading entrepreneurs working through exponential growth. He is the co-founder of CART, a platform to drive adoption of emerging technologies at fortune 500 companies. And he speaks and runs workshops around the world for clients such as Samsung, Criteo, Synchrony Financial and the United Nations. Sterling is an internationally-recognized thought leader and top-rated keynote speaker on innovation, transformational leadership and exponential growth. His keynotes share meaningful strategies to drive change delivered with the inspiration to leave attendees in action. Sterling is a certified yoga teacher and adventure seeker regularly pushing his own boundaries of what’s possible by skydiving, century bike riding, shark diving, and even camping in the Sahara. He brings that energy of maximizing human potential and breaking past limiting beliefs to everything he does. Currently living in Los Angeles, he has been seen in Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, The New York Times and Forbes. Sterling is inspiring a network of entrepreneurs, investors and fortune 500 companies, actively shaping the future for the betterment of business, communities and the human condition. Of course, he’s still regularly found on adventures.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    Can Barnes & Noble afford to take it easy over the holidays?

    With only a few months of runway the new CEO should get a little breathing room. Sure there's some holiday benefit that's being sacrificed; but that could be small in retrospect to the changes coming. Rushing something incomplete to market might have been the bigger loss. Smart move and I look forward to what's coming.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Will its ‘culture of recognition’ be a game winner for Dick’s Sporting Goods?

    Investing in people pays off every time. Creating a culture that develops team members gives them a path towards meaningful growth and connection beyond just collecting a paycheck. The best part is there's no hurdle beyond breaking the existing status quo and empowering associates. It's not a surprise that this translates into better service and better sales.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2019

    Will 2020 be the year retailers digitally transform their supply chain ops?

    Fast/free delivery and customer service have to be at the top of the list. Whether that's delivered via third parties, with a CSCO or anything else is secondary as it delivers on a great customer experience. This isn't a 2020 phenomenon though -- it's a new normal in the future of commerce.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2019

    Will IoT reinvent the supply chain?

    IoT in the supply chain is a natural -- supply chain is all about optimization and IoT throws off lots of new data to be able to do that with. That's already established to a large degree. The larger opportunities come with integrating IoT into the store as that hasn't been done (at scale) effectively yet.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Can a Soho pop-up relaunch Tupperware’s party?

    This is a good start. Opening an instagram-ready pop-up gives Tupperware some extended visibility within a newer market segment for them. Simply trying this one thing and then going back to what they've already done will lose whatever impact they do generate. Tupperware's access to reinvention is only to take more new actions and new paths like this to develop their team to be capable real change.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    Dunkin’ introduces online holiday pop-up

    The operative piece here is: limited edition. In-store or online is secondary; no matter the channel, giving consumers something exciting, new and special (limited) is a tremendous opportunity.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2019

    Study: Consumers don’t enjoy doing their holiday shopping online

    Consumer expectations evolve over time and it's interesting that we've reached a point where great experiences online are cost of entry. Given how accessible everything else is online (ordering an uber, buying flights, etc.) it's no wonder consumers want retail to keep pace. I think retail's biggest miss online is unmet promises: setting a delivery date and then changing it, or saying something is in stock when it's not. Technology is in a place today where we should be able to keep promises to consumers ... and consumers know it.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2019

    Express Launches digital-first DTC wellness brand

    Digital first is usually best for new brands (with few exceptions) since it's a lower barrier to entry and there's so much data available to understand where to put eventual stores, how they should be merchandised, etc. I like the UpWest positioning; if Express can develop a separate brand/company culture for UpWest, it stands a good chance. However, it has to be real for the people that work there and not simply a marketing gimmick.
  • Posted on: 10/28/2019

    What makes voice assistants creepy?

    Privacy is a value exchange. It wasn't long ago that posting family pictures and life events on Facebook was insane; today it's the status quo. The value outweighed the privacy cost. The same thing will happen here. As voice assistants become more useful (personal) and integrated in our lives, we'll start to accept all the ways we surrender our privacy to get it.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    Can b8ta do for fashion what it’s done for consumer tech?

    There's plenty of room in the fashion and lifestyle space to innovate the stores. b8ta definitely has a track record to do these kinds of things; they did for consumer electronics what Sephora did for makeup. But I do think lifestyle and fashion is a little more difficult as it doesn't naturally lend itself to interaction in a new way (most clothing stores let you touch, feel and try on the clothes). The banner will create interest from many; however, service in the store will be the key to making it successful.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2019

    Should Amazon be charging for ‘curated’ toy guide placements?

    Sometimes products can be both thoughtfully curated AND sponsored. It doesn't have to be one or the other. It's up to Amazon in this case to keep those lines clear. If they're totally driven by advertising dollars, consumers will catch on pretty quickly -- whether it's called out directly as advertising or not.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Does Target need to address its associate morale problem?

    Team morale is everything and it translates directly into customer experience in store. If the employees aren't happy, customers will be less happy over time. Of course Target has to make smart business decisions, but with the cuts store managers should be granted some autonomy to take care of individual employees as needed to keep morale high. Communication is the most important thing here so everyone on the team feels part of the conversation, not at the effects of it.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Will customers give Walmart the keys to their homes?

    Privacy is culture and it changes over time. 15 years ago it would be ludicrous to post all our family pictures and trips online; now it's almost standard. I expect we'll see that same thing over time for these kinds of services. Is the value exchange worthwhile? Consumers will increasingly answer: yes.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Personalized promos add up to a ‘win-win’ for retailers and consumers

    Personalized pricing is inevitable. We see it in our credit card rates, our airline tickets and increasingly we see it as a standard in retail. Done right, not only do the economics work, but it's a better customer experience all around.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2019

    REI opens outdoor adventure gateway concept

    This is a great idea! And the next step in experiential retail. Not something contrived to create an "experience" but a real place consumers can launch their experiences from. It adds a lot of value for consumers and I'm willing to bet this concept will be successful for REI.

Contact Sterling

  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.