American Express Held Its Business Class LIVE Conference With Issa Rae
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Issa Rae Headlines American Express Business Class LIVE 2022

(Photo: Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)

Credit card giant American Express held its tenth Business Class LIVE conference last month, which was headlined by actress Issa Rae.

Forbes reported the free full-day event was held on July 20 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City and was streamed online for free. The event aims to inspire and support small business owners and leaders from all industries with strong connections and expert insight.

American Express Business Class LIVE featured in-person panels and workshops with financial experts on topics such as cash flow management, marketing strategies, workplace wellness, and contracting opportunities for small business owners across the nation.

The event also featured a star-studded lineup of panelists including Rae, who discussed her new ventures, Hilltop Coffee+Kitchen, Sienna Naturals, and Raedio, as well as her upcoming film and TV projects.

“Just being able to look people in the eye is exciting to me. There is nothing more fulfilling than interacting with others and seeing their faces,” Rae told Forbes. “I place a lot of emphasis on leveraging the individuals in your immediate surroundings. Being small business owners, we can all learn from one another and provide one another with advice because in a sense, we’re all in the same boat. I myself run a small business. It was an honor to obtain knowledge from the interactions I engaged in with other minority business owners,”

Additionally, Jay Shetty, a best-selling author, life coach and podcaster, moderated a discussion on perseverance and harmony.

Maria Dueñas Jacobs, the director of Super Smalls and a former director for ELLE, was a guest speaker during a panel discussion on being a self-made boss and managing your own business, which,  included advice on marketing, human resources, and taking well-deserved breaks.

Clayton Ruebensaal, the executive vice president of global B2B marketing at American Express, said the company is committed to supporting small businesses. He added that supply chain issues, a high level of employment opportunities, and fears of a recession are hitting small business owners hard.

“To address the most important issues facing small business owners, we created Business Class. We were aware that when the pandemic struck, we had to step up our efforts since small businesses were struggling with previously unexplored problems and lacked information,” Rubensaal told Forbes.