Jess Ekstrom


While interning with a wish-granting organization for kids with life-threatening
illnesses, Jess spent her junior year at North Carolina State University
developing her company, Headbands of Hope. The company partners with
retail stores and for every item sold, a headband is given to a child with cancer.
By the time she graduated, she had donated thousands of headbands to kids
with cancer and was elected to give the commencement speech at her
graduation. Today, Headbands of Hope is in more than 2,000 stores across
the U.S. and Canada, including all Ulta locations. In addition to serving as CEO
of her business, Jess speaks more than 40 times a year at campuses, corpora-
tions and conferences. Jess believes that you shouldn’t have to
choose between making a living and making a difference.

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