Changing The World With Her Brand, Jess Ekstrom, TBJApodcast 162
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Jess Ekstrom was only a junior in college when she founded a company that is helping children fight cancer across the country. She shares how her brand is making a difference in children’s lives & changing the world one headband at a time.

This is a special Dedication episode to, Serm Chongchua, my dad, who passed away due to prostate cancer and to “Coach C”, from Torrey Pines High School, who also died from a form of cancer, and to all those whose lives have been taken by cancer, to those currently struggling with cancer, and those who’ve been blessed and won the cancer battle. As you listen, keep in mind the young children who are fighting cancer…September is pediatric cancer awareness month…My dream and wish is that we may we one day no longer have to fight cancer.

They didn’t want to hide what they were going through.

Jess Ekstrom founded her company, Headbands of Hope, as a junior in college in 2012. For every headband sold, a headband is given to a child with cancer. The company has been featured on the TODAY Show, Vanity Fair, Seventeen, Lucky Magazine and more. But more importantly, they’ve donated headbands to every children’s hospital in the United States. Jess is also a professional speaker and author of The Freshman Fabulous: The Girl’s Guide to College.

Think Like A Journalist Quote

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Success Quote

“I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all just living.” –Richard Branson

Career Highlight

Hear Jess tell an emotional story about how a headband impacted a child and the family.

When It Didn’t Work

Jess took her brand into a partnership with a store. Hear what happened and why this particular partnership didn’t work and what she does to keep herself inspired.

Changing The World With Your Brand

Ask yourself, “Am I passionate about this work?”
How do you know it’s the right idea?  Jess says, she knew her organization was the right thing to do because, “I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”
Jess recommends working with professors and mentors. “Being a college student really helped answer all those questions and build a really strong foundation for what Headbands of Hope is today.”
She says joining online communities helped her successfully grow.

One of things, Jess says helped her the most is realizing, “Don’t ever wait for the perfect time.”

She encourages all brands to build key relationships.

One of her most successful social media tools is Instagram. Jess says the social media platform has been a huge success in connecting her brand with bloggers.
“Pictures tell our story,” says Jess because the photos “humanize our cause” and share a story of what happens next.

Multimedia Resource



Start With Why by Simon Sinek


Headbands of Hope

Mentioned In This Episode

TBJA 035 Katie Kerr: Helping Businesses Do Good For The World

TBJA 023 Sue B. Zimmerman: Instagram Tips For Insta-Success

Colors Over Cancer

Welcome To Happiness Trailer

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Phoebe Chongchua
Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist, Brand Consultant & Marketing Strategist who is revolutionizing brand communication with consumers. She makes companies remarkable using brand journalism storytelling to grow their online presence, build a community, and gain greater market share. Phoebe is a former TV News journalist who helps brands gain a competitive advantage by learning to "Be the Media". Phoebe is the host of "The Brand Journalism Advantage" podcast and a "Top 50 Podcaster To Follow". Listen in iTunes or at

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