Villanova Commencement Speaker 2019: Bert Jacobs
- Launched Life is Good with $78 by selling T-shirts in the streets of Boston and on college campuses—it is now a $100 million positive lifestyle brand sold by over 2,000 retailers
- Has been featured on CNNMoney, ABC News’ Nightline, NBC’s The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many more
- Explains how to foster a “yes, and” culture focused on opportunities (not obstacles) and brand-building that will stand the test of time
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Bert Jacobs is the co-founder and CEO (Chief Executive Optimist) of Life is Good, which spreads the power of optimism through inspiring art, a passionate community, and groundbreaking non-profit work.
Bert and his brother John launched their business with $78 in their pockets, selling T-shirts in the streets of Boston and at college dorms up and down the East Coast. Today, Life is Good is a $100 million positive lifestyle brand sold by over 2,000 retailers across the US and Canada.
Early on, Bert and John were inspired by stories of people, mainly children, facing great adversity. These stories illustrated that optimism is most powerful in the darkest of times and inspired the creation of a fully integrated business model dedicated to helping kids in need. Life is Good donates at least 10% of its annual net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation to positively impact over 1 million kids every year facing poverty, violence, and illness.
Bert focuses his energy on guiding overall vision and creating the art and message for the brand across categories. He enjoys live music, travel, and surfing. His shoes do not always match.
To inspire others to choose optimism and grow the good in their lives, Bert and John wrote, Life is Good: The Book/ How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride, published by National Geographic in September 2015.
Bert has been awarded honorary doctorates from several universities for entrepreneurship, business innovation and philanthropy. He and Life is Good have been featured on CNNMoney, CNBC’s Business Nation, ABC News’ Nightline, NBC’s The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and Men’s Health Magazine, among others.
Life is not perfect. Life is Not Easy. Life is Good. Bert & John Jacobs founded Life is Good to inspire people to celebrate the good around them. Over time, a vibrant community grew that taught them that optimism is the most powerful strategy to living a happy and fulfilling life, especially in the hardest of times. In times of uncertainty, fear, loss, and tragedy, we still have the choice to focus our energy on what’s right in our lives and the world around us and find the opportunity instead of obstacles. We have the ability to use these times of darkness to come together, to see each other as humans (not just co-workers or clients), build unbreakable bonds, and innovate like never before. Through this virtual keynote experience, Bert Jacobs will share the inspiring business story of Life is Good, from the humble beginnings selling T-shirts out of a van, to finding opportunity in the face of hardships like the Great Recession and unthinkable tragedies like the Boston Marathon Bombing, which took place steps from the Life is Good Headquarters. Audience members will leave this keynote with a renewed sense of optimism and with the tools and inspiration needed to find and grow the good around them – in business and in life.
Embracing The Power Of Optimism To Innovate & Thrive In Times Of Change. Business leaders see significant change ahead for their companies as 71% of CEO’s expect the next three years to be more critical for their industry than the last 50. Jacobs dives into creating a “yes, and” culture focused on opportunities (not obstacles) and brand-building that will stand the test of time.
Cultivating A Culture Of Optimism From The Inside Out. Jacobs shares experience from Life is Good to help audiences discover their own sense of optimism to uncover a deeper meaning to the work they do. Lessons on gratitude, openness, and compassion show how simple mindset shifts can transform company culture that can be felt by your customers and beyond.
Positive Purpose. More than ever, consumers are demanding brands they buy from are socially responsible. Jacobs shares the LiG story and inspires audiences to integrate a deeper meaning into their work... the authentic way.
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