Co-founder, “#makeitawkward campaign”
Actor and Producer
Jesse Lipscombe is an actor, producer, entrepreneur and activist based in Edmonton, Alberta. Born and raised in St. Albert, Jesse started his acting career at age 14 alongside Sidney Poitier in the Calgary-shot film Children of the Dust. At 18, he received a full track-and-field scholarship to Martin Luther King Jr.’s alma mater, Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia. Jesse went on to win multiple national high-jump championships in both Canada and the U.S., and was ranked 6th in the world in his sport. Back in Edmonton, Jesse launched a full entrepreneurial and artistic career, opening fitness studios and restaurants, while continuing to act and produce in award-winning film and television productions. Jesse has been nominated for several Canadian Screen Awards and Alberta film and television awards. This year, Jesse was the recipient of the Obsidian Award for Top Business Leader in Western Canada, and he was named Community Man of the Year by Diversity Magazine. Through it all, Jesse’s top priority has been giving back to his community, which he’s done through multiple annual fundraisers and partnerships with Edmonton charities such as WIN House and iHuman. In September, Jesse and his wife Julia launched the #MakeItAwkward campaign to combat racism, misogyny, homophobia and hatred of all kinds. Jesse and Julia are parents to three young boys.
We seem to take two steps forward and fifty back when it comes to living in peace and harmony with each other. Lipscombe will provide the necessary tools to turn everyday people into ambassadors of change. Just showing up isn’t enough. We want people who are committed to being courageous when most back down; who will stand up for the dignity and human rights of everyone; and who, most importantly, will take what they’ve learned into their own workplaces, schools and lives — ultimately creating a more fair, equal and inclusive society. With his unique style of fluid storytelling, Lipscombe will connect and relate how to incorporate the #MakeItAwkward mantra into your life. Change is never easy and being a part of it will often feel awkward. Lipscombe will drive home how important the little things are. You will discover how small micro-aggressions have created a dangerous and unsafe landscape for many marginalized individuals. In addition, you will leave empowered to know that YOU are the change-maker we have all been waiting for.
While reflecting on his “heyday” as a professional athlete, it dawned on Lipscombe that failure and success are very closely related. Every win, every celebration only occurred AFTER a failure. This sporting lesson transferred to other parts of life, and he observed this same phenomena in several other highly successful individuals. Successful failure is when you push your limits to the absolute max. It’s not until one fails that they have a realistic notion of where they are and what they can do at any particular moment.
Lipscombe will explain what his life theory of “batting 1000” means in relation to failure. The term “failure” itself will have a new meaning and become the very thing we strive for. For just on the other side of failure, is success. Join Jesse as he unpacks “failure” and lays out — step-by- step — the very thing we’ve been avoiding all of our lives.
When Jesse walked away from a company he founded and ran for over seven years to sell cars on a lot, the reaction was pretty much what you’d imagine: “have you lost your f$ckin mind?” What started as a way to make some quick cash soon turned into rapid schooling and lessons that helped his business and others in similar situations. Lipscombe’s company needed money and needed it fast. He knew one thing: In order to create more cash flow, he needed to increase sales or reduce overhead. He found a way to do both.
Jesse opted to leave his business so that you will not have to. Instead, use the lessons from this keynote to benefit where you are — and give yourself space to grow.