Kristin Hadeed

Kristen Hadeed is the founder of Student Maid, a successful cleaning company that has employed thousands of students over the last decade and that is known for building the next generation of leaders.

When Kristen started her journey, she had no idea what she was in for: The average turnover rate in the cleaning industry is 75%, and profit margins hover around just 15%. But even with the odds stacked against her, she built a company that blew the industry benchmarks out of the water. Her people love coming to work, they stick around for years, and some have even turned down dream jobs to join the executive team and build careers at Student Maid.

Kristen believes Student Maid’s success boils down to one thing and one thing only: creating a place with humanity at its core. A place where people feel accepted for who they are, where they are encouraged to fail and embrace their imperfections, and where they are empowered to reach their potential. Now she spends most of her time helping leaders and organizations around the world create similar environments for their people.

In 2017, she published her first book, Permission To Screw Up, in which she offers an unapologetic account of her biggest mistakes in leadership. She hopes that her vulnerability will give others the courage to open up about their own “perfectly imperfect” moments and proudly embrace them as the tremendous learning opportunities they are.

Kristen and Student Maid have been featured in news outlets including PBS, FOX, Inc., NBC, TIME, and Forbes. Her first TED Talk has more than three million views on YouTube.

To learn more, visit You can purchase Permission to Screw Up at

About the Session

Permission to Screw Up

Perfection is unattainable. So why do we feel pressure to have it all together? In this session, Kristen shares the story of how she learned to see her failures in a new light and built a successful business where everyone—even the “boss”—has permission to screw up. 

When Kristen launched her company, Student Maid, more than a decade ago, she was still a college student with zero leadership experience. She failed left and right. Embarrassed by her mistakes, Kristen did what so many people do: She pretended she had everything under control. But as Kristen grew her business and gained experience, she came to an important realization: When she hid her mistakes and imperfections, things tended to get worse. But when she got up the courage to be open and honest about them, they turned into invaluable lessons in leadership and growth. Kristen is the strong, confident, sought-after CEO she is today because of the things she’s gotten wrong, not despite them. 

Building on the themes in her book, Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead By Doing (Almost) Everything Wrong, Kristen will urge you to strive for your natural best rather than perfection. You’ll leave inspired to rethink what “good leadership” looks like. It isn’t knowing all the answers and getting it right on the first try; it’s having the courage to admit when you’re unsure, when you need help, and when you don’t feel strong. Good leadership is about being more human and inspiring others to be the same.



  • Reframe failure as an opportunity to grow and learn
  • Gain an understanding of the courage, commitment, and intention it takes to truly be a leader
  • Understand the connection between authenticity, vulnerability, and good leadership
  • Learn how to be more human as a leader and inspire others to do the same
  • Understand how to extend grace and empathy to both yourself and those you serve
  • Learn how to thrive in uncertainty and in times when you lack confidence

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