How Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO
He's the man who put skateboarding on the map. He's the first to land a 900 (two and a half full rotations). He's also among the richest pitchmen in any sport. And, in a sport that's especially youth-oriented, Tony Hawk, a 40-something father of four, still connects with his audience by staying true to who he is. Moving easily between the ramp and the boardroom, Tony currently runs one of the most acclaimed action sports companies, a clothing line, and video game series bearing his name that has sold over $1 billion worldwide, making it the biggest selling action sports game franchise in gaming history. With Tony's typical modesty and humor, he tells the amazing story of his unprecedented success from skateboarder to CEO. Starting his business out of the trunk of his car, he pledged to maintain authenticity in all he did, and it's served him well. He has a deep connection to his audiences, fans and customers. With over 3 million followers, Tony is as great example of the power of social media. Tony's story of building a global brand to giving back to community, his lessons of leadership, perseverance and initiative are relevant to any group. Even if they don't wear skinny pants and grind the rails in a skatepark.
Unlikely CEO Tony Hawk shares high-impact business insights about innovating, overcoming obstacles, and staying in the game
Many-time World Champion and powerhouse CEO TONY HAWK has been taking big risks and motivating himself and his fans for decades. A new documentary on HBO titled Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off takes an in-depth look at the legendary skateboarder’s lifetime of pushing boundaries. As NPR said of him in an interview, “few athletes can say they’re so good at their sport that they become synonymous with greatness.” The author of New York Times bestseller Hawk: Occupation: Skateboarder and How Did I Get Here?: The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO has been carving out the space for his skating style and perspective and inspiring others to do the same through his leadership, perseverance, and initiative.
One of the most recognized action-sports figures in the world, Hawk created a brand that includes a billion-dollar video game franchise, and his business insights resonate with corporate veterans, savvy millennials, and tech visionaries alike. Hawk has endured major injuries throughout his career, and his takeaways about overcoming obstacles and building one’s confidence back up after failure are poignant. His sport has changed significantly over the decades, but Hawk remains at the forefront of new developments in accessibility, inclusivity, and acceptance by continuing to innovate and stay in the game even as it changes – high-impact lessons he shares with audiences of all kinds.
Hawk also is known for philanthropy; his Tony Hawk Foundation – now called The Skatepark Project – helps finance public skateparks in low-income areas, giving away over $9.2M to 623 skatepark projects in all 50 states, which serve over 6M kids annually.
The most recognized action sports figure in the world, Tony Hawk was just nine-years old when his brother changed his life by giving him a blue fiberglass Bahne skateboard. By 14 he’d turned pro, and by 16 he was widely considered the best skateboarder on earth. He was world champion 12 years in a row and is a 16-time X Games medalist. In 1999, he became the first skater to ever complete a 900, the holy grail of vert skating. Shortly thereafter, he teamed up with Activision to launch Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, now a billion dollar video game franchise. He has created a Tony Hawk brand that includes Birdhouse Skateboards, Hawk Clothing, and the Tony Hawk Signature Series sporting goods and toys. His speaking engagements draw huge crowds, inspiring everyone from media savvy millennials to corporate veterans. Tony served as a correspondent at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games for NBC when skateboarding became an Olympic sport for the first time. An intuitive marketer with social networking, Tony’s fan base numbers in the millions on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram. And he recently launched a new podcast co-hosted by Jason Ellis called Hawk vs. Wolf. Tony authored a New York Times bestseller, the bio HAWK—Occupation: Skateboarder, and his book How Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO, covers the business side of his career. And in 2022, a biographical documentary film titled Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off by award-winning director Sam Jones debuted on HBO, giving an in-depth look at Tony’s legendary career and personal life. Tony also oversees his own film, television and commercial production company, 900 Films. In 2002, Tony founded The Skatepark Project (formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation), which has given away over $10 million to help fund over 650 public skatepark projects throughout the United States that serve over six million visitors a year.