Boston Public Library Lowell Lecture - John Jacobs

MON, MAY 2, 2022 (1:03:35)

Life Is Good Co-Founder John Jacobs in conversation with Boston Public Library President David Leonard will instruct on the power of optimism, sharing how a Boston-based family business grew into a million-dollar lifestyle brand that changes lives through its charitable foundation and simple wisdom. An audience Q&A session will follow the discussion.

When John and his brother Bert started the now $100 million company in 1994, they had $78 in their pockets, lived out of their van, and sold t-shirts on the streets of Boston. Was this their way of avoiding the “real world”? You betcha. Did it turn into something much bigger? Absolutely. It has been 25 years since they sold their first t-shirt, but John and Bert champion the same mission: to spread the power of optimism. On their journey, they’ve been inspired by a vibrant community of resilient optimists — people from all walks of life who identify deeply with the brand and who constantly demonstrate the depth and meaning behind the three simple words “Life is Good.”

+ BIO: David Leonard

David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library, leads the 170-year old institution, one of Boston’s great educational, cultural and civic treasures. David began working at the BPL in 2009, bringing a wealth of experience from the technology, management and consulting fields. Appointed president by the Library’s Board of Trustees and Mayor Martin J. Walsh in June 2016, David’s focus is on developing the BPL as a twenty first century institution providing dynamic library experiences to the residents of Boston, of Massachusetts and beyond.

Prior to his appointment as President, David served as Interim President for one year. During that time he focused on the completion of the $78 million renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, which opened in July 2016, as well as a significant number of branch and collections management improvement projects, enhancing access and the customer experience; collaborating with city departments and with local cultural institutions; and supporting Mayor Walsh’s arts and culture vision. During his time at the Boston Public Library David has also served as Director of Administration & Technology, acting Director of Administration & Finance, acting Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Technology Officer. He led the Library’s capital improvement project for the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, worked to modernize the library’s technology infrastructure - including the migration to the new Integrated Library System, and deployment of new Pay-for-Print Systems system wide - and oversaw master planning and design for the renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square.

David initially pursued an academic career, transitioned to the non-profit sector, and then spent ten years in the private IT consulting world in roles that spanned business development, management, and technology consulting, working on both strategic and tactical projects and services. David is currently enrolled in a PhD program in Library Information Science at Simmons College. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from the University College Dublin. Photo Credit: Boston Public Library

+ BIO: John Jacobs

John is the co-founder of the $100 million lifestyle brand Life is Good. When he and his brother Bert started the company in 1994, they had $78 in their pockets, lived out of their van, and sold t-shirts on the streets of Boston. Was this their way of avoiding the “real world”? You betcha. Did it turn into something much bigger? Absolutely.

It has been 25 years since they sold their first t-shirt, but John and Bert champion the same mission: to spread the power of optimism. On their journey, they’ve been inspired by a vibrant community of resilient optimists — people from all walks of life who identify deeply with the brand and who constantly demonstrate the depth and meaning behind the three simple words “Life is Good.”

But here’s the thing: While John and Bert believe life is good, they also know life isn’t perfect, which is why Life is Good donates 10% of its annual net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation. Through its signature Playmaker Program, the Life is Good Kids Foundation helps over 1 million kids overcome the impact of poverty, violence, and illness each year. In making their company a fully integrated for-profit/ non-profit model, the brothers hope to use their business as a vehicle to do good in the world.

As the co-host of the Life is Good Ping Podcast, John interviews some of the world’s most influential thought leaders about using optimism as a practical way to overcome adversity and lead a fulfilling life—all over a game of ping pong. Naturally. Guests include Ringo Starr, Katie Couric, Scott Avett, and more.

Because of his unique perspective that ties rational optimism to business, John has been asked to share his transformative message at a wide range of corporate and thought leadership conferences including Inc’s ICONIC Tour, SAP Sapphire, Indeed Interactive, Discover, Bose, and more. He and Bert have been featured in Forbes, NPR’s How I Built This, 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.

Partner
Boston Public Library
Series
Boston Public Library Lowell Lecture Series