Small business owners may be looking to brighter days ahead with a new sense of mission and understanding on what it takes to grow a business—from navigating inflation and labor shortages to new ways to secure funding.
The CNBC Small Business Playbook virtual summit will offer expert advice on how to manage businesses in this new landscape and examine lessons in leadership and case studies in crisis management to help small business owners thrive in 2022.
For CNBC Small Business Playbook editorial coverage, stories and video, visit www.cnbc.com/small-business-playbook/.
Stacey Abrams is the three-time New York Times bestselling author of While Justice Sleeps, Our Time is Now, and Lead from the Outside, an entrepreneur; and a political leader. A tax attorney by training, she served eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives and seven as Minority Leader. Abrams has launched multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at the state, national, and international levels. She is the founder of Fair Fight, Fair Count, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project. A small business owner, Abrams co-founded the financial services firm NOW Corp. and Sage Works Productions, Inc., a media company. She has received degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School.
Ramiro A. Cavazos is President and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), America’s largest business advocacy organization for Hispanics. He is a trusted economic development expert and champion for bipartisan solutions that generate wealth to advance economic opportunity for the Hispanic community. Prior to his role at the USHCC, Ramiro was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SAHCC), the nation’s first Hispanic Chamber of Commerce founded in 1929. During his time at the SAHCC, he fought for the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), was recognized as a 5 Star Accredited chamber, and also led numerous annual trade missions to Spain, Israel, Mexico, Canada, Cuba and Italy.
Ramiro previously served as the Director of Research and Economic Development at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where he advanced public-private projects promoting entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation. He was also the past Director of Economic Development for the City of San Antonio, where he oversaw projects that focused on business expansion, retention and trade that led to the creation of more than 20,000 higher paying jobs for the seventh largest city in America. Cavazos also taught Economic Development at the Institute of Law and Public Affairs for The University of Texas at San Antonio.
His global perspective was honed by his experience working in the private sector for the Levi Strauss Company and Levi Strauss Foundation as Manager of Global Public Affairs & Contributions, where he was responsible for the Texas, Mexico, and Latin American regions. Additionally, he spent 15 years as a Bank Director at InterContinental Bank Shares Corporation (InterCon). His passion for small business is also fueled by his experience running his own public affairs business for 3 years serving clients such as AT&T, Valero Energy and H-E-B. Ramiro began his career in public service, where he worked in city management for the cities of San Antonio and Helotes, served as a Special Assistant to former U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas and as a legislative researcher for State Representative Irma Rangel, the first Hispanic woman elected to the Texas Legislature.
Today, Ramiro proudly serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), based in Washington, D.C., that advocates for Fortune 500 companies to invest in more equity and fair representation for Hispanics on corporate boards and publicly traded companies.
Ramiro has shared his views on Latino entrepreneurship, small business growth, trade, and commerce on: Fortune, Forbes, Time, Newsweek, CNN, the Associated Press, The Economist, The Washington Post, El País, El Heraldo, and many other media outlets. He has also been recognized by Latino Leaders Magazine as one of America’s “101 Most Influential Latinos” for the last four years. In 2015, the Kingdom of Spain named Ramiro the Honorary Consul of Spain for San Antonio and South Texas. His efforts brought His Majesty King Felipe VI and Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain to San Antonio’s Tricentennial events celebrating its founding by Canary Islanders in 1718. The King of Spain bestowed upon Ramiro the Order of Isabel the Catholic (Orden de Isabel la Católica), its highest honor given to a non-Spanish citizen for his service as a business advocate to expand the binational economic relationship between the United States and Spain.
Ramiro earned his master’s degree in Public Administration from St. Mary’s University, where he received the honor of Distinguished Alumnus, and served as a member of the Board of Trustees. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Government from The University of Texas at Austin in three years. A native of Weslaco in the Rio Grande Valley, he is a 7th generation Texan. He and his wife Christa are the proud parents of two boys.
Barbara Corcoran’s credits include straight D’s in high school and college and 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country: She borrowed $1,000 and quit her job as a waitress to start a tiny real estate company in New York City. Over the next 25 years Barbara would parlay that $1,000 loan into a $5 billion real estate business, building the largest and best-known brand in the business.
Corcoran is the author of the best seller “Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business!” and host of top podcasts “Business Unusual with Barbara Corcoran”.
Corcoran is a motivational and inspirational speaker. She is a frequent small business and real estate contributor on every major network. Corcoran has been an investor/Shark for the past twelve seasons on ABC’s four-time Emmy award winning show, Shark Tank, investing in over 80 businesses to date. Follow Barbara on Twitter and Instagram @BarbaraCorcoran.
Joe De Sena is the founder and CEO of Spartan, the world’s leading endurance sports and wellness brand. De Sena has demonstrated his entrepreneurial drive since his pre-teens. After building a multimillion-dollar pool and construction business in college and creating a Wall Street trading firm, De Sena set his sights on transforming 100 million people through the Spartan lifestyle.
Following a successful career on Wall Street, De Sena moved his family to Pittsfield, Vermont to operate an organic farm, a bed and breakfast, and a general store for hikers. It was here that his passion for ultramarathons, adventure races, and endurance events grew, and thus the idea for Spartan was born.
De Sena has grown Spartan into a global experiential sport and wellness brand encompassing all things “tough fitness.” With its 10 million+ strong community, Spartan creates transformational experiences, products, and content to help people, companies, and teams tear down boundaries and expand what they believe is possible. Spartan’s portfolio of tough fitness brands has expanded beyond its signature obstacle racing events into Spartan Training, Spartan Trail, DEKA, La Ruta, Tough Mudder, and HIGHLANDER.
De Sena is a New York Times Best Selling author with three books, Spartan Up, Spartan Fit, and The Spartan Way. His fourth book, 10 Rules for Resilience: Mental Toughness for Families, hit bookstores in October. He also hosts the Spartan Up! podcast, which features weekly interviews with some of the world’s greatest minds in business, sports, and leadership. Joe is a founder of the Spartan Kids Foundation, that supports better fitness and healthy lifestyles for children in underserved communities. The Spartan Foundation has contributed over $250,000 to local schools and youth organizations to support its mission. (spartankidsfoundation.org)
Throughout his lifetime, Joe has competed in any and every extreme sports adventure that he could find, testing his mental and physical endurance against nature. Joe turned an interest in endurance racing into a passion. His racing resume is the stuff of legend, with 50 ultra events overall and 14 Ironman events in one year alone.
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., is the Steven A. Tananbaum Distinguished Fellow for International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the Immediate Past President and CEO of TIAA. Prior to joining TIAA, Mr. Ferguson was head of financial services for Swiss Re and Chairman of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation. Mr. Ferguson is the former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. He began his career as an attorney at the New York City office of Davis Polk & Wardwell and was an Associate and Partner at McKinsey & Company. Mr. Ferguson is a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He serves on the boards of Alphabet, Inc.; Corning, Inc.; Blend, Inc.; and International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. Mr. Ferguson is also active as an advisor and board member with various private fintech companies. He serves on the boards of The Conference Board, the Institute for Advanced Study, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and other non for profits. Mr. Ferguson holds a B.A., J.D., and a Ph.D. in economics, all from Harvard University.
Lara Hodgson is President and CEO of NOW Corp, and has served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School. Prior to Now, Lara co-founded Nourish (a children's products company), and Insomnia, LLC, a firm specializing in investment, development, and management of complex and innovative “world- changing” projects. Her background also includes 5 years with Dewberry Capital Corporation, an Atlanta-based commercial real estate development and investment firm, where she served as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Lara received an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a BS in Aerospace Engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Today, she serves as a Trustee of the Georgia Tech Foundation in addition to other Boards. E&Y recognized Lara as a 2018 Finalist for the Southeast Entrepreneur of the Year. and named her to the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2019.
Ravin Jesuthasan is a recognized futurist, global thought leader and author on the future of work and human capital. He has led multiple research efforts on the global workforce, the emerging digital economy, the rise of artificial intelligence and the transformation of work.
Ravin is the Global leader of Transformation at Mercer and a partner of the firm based in Chicago.
He has led numerous research projects for the World Economic Forum including its ground-breaking studies; Shaping the Future Implications of Digital Media for Society, Creating a Shared Vision for Talent in the 4th Industrial Revolution and HR 4.0: Shaping People Strategies in the 4th Industrial Revolution. He is a regular participant and presenter at the World Economic Forum’s annual meetings in Davos and Dalian/Tianjin and is a member of the forum’s Steering Committee on Work and Employment.
He has been recognized as one of the top 25 most influential consultants in the world by Consulting Magazine, one of the top 8 future of work influencers by Tech News, one of the top 100 HR influencers by HR Executive and was named to the Thinkers 50 Radar Class of 2020.
Ravin is the author of Transformative HR, Lead The Work: Navigating a World Beyond Employment and Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach to Applying Automation to Work. Transformative HR and Reinventing Jobs were winners of the Axiom silver and gold awards for business book of the year in 2012 and 2018 respectively. His latest book Work without Jobs came out by The MIT Press in spring 2022.
He has authored over 150 articles including 14 for the Harvard Business Review and his article in the HR People and Strategy Journal entitled Performance Management as a Business Discipline received the Walker Award for the most original and valuable contribution to the HR profession. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine.
Ravin is a frequent guest lecturer at universities around the world including Oxford University, Northwestern University, University of Southern California and New York University and an advisor to and featured prominently on PBS’s highly acclaimed documentary series “Future of Work”.
Jill Martin is an Emmy Award-winning television personality and New York Times bestselling author. Martin is the Lifestyle Contributor on NBC’s TODAY show known for her wildly popular “Steals and Deals” segments. She also serves as a guest co-host for the 3rd Hour of Today. After writing three fashion self-help books, Jill wanted to create a line of products for women to bring ease, comfort, and accessible elegance into their lives. Jill created a lifestyle brand for QVC that is coveted by the world’s most famous celebrities and adored by women (& men) across the world.
Asahi Pompey is Global Head of Corporate Engagement and President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation. She is a member of the Management Committee, the Global Inclusion and Diversity Committee and a sponsor of the Firmwide Black Network.
Prior to assuming her current role, Ms. Pompey was Co-Chief Compliance Officer of Goldman, Sachs & Co and Global Head of Investment Banking Division Compliance, and had responsibility for conduct risk. She joined Goldman Sachs in 2006 and was named Managing Director in 2010 and Partner in 2018.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Pompey was an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, where she worked in the New York and Frankfurt offices.
Ms. Pompey serves on the Board of Managers for Swarthmore College. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of Forbes’ Next 1,000, Glamour Women of the Year and the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream.
David (Dave) Simnick is the Managing Partner of Impact Driven Brands. Impact Driven Brands owns and operates Soapbox, goodnest, Bushwick Kitchen, and Fresh Science. Their brands sell their mission-driven, clean ingredient products in Walmart, Target, Amazon, Kroger, Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, Wegmans, Grove and various other retailers across the country. Soapbox is a company that sells natural, high-quality personal care products. With every product purchased, they donate a bar of soap to someone in need and have provided over 22 million bars across the world. Soapbox was founded in 2010 and is located in Washington D.C. Simnick and his team are 5x Inc 5000 Award Recipients and have been featured on major media outlets including Entrepreneur, BuzzFeed, The Washington Post, and Refinery 29. Simnick graduated from the 10,000 Small Businesses National Cohort in 2014.
Victoria Thomas is the owner at JOURNEYFIT, a full fitness training studio that offers personal training, group fitness classes, sports performance sessions for athletes, nutrition education, and physical therapy. JOURNEYFIT has partnered with Nike, Venus Williams, Essence Festival and Walmart to serve as a catalyst to bring about healthy changes in various communities. JOURNEYFIT was founded in 2016 and has four locations in Texas. Thomas graduated from the 10,000 Small Businesses cohort 17 in Dallas in 2020.
Bridget Weston is the CEO of the SCORE Association, where she provides executive leadership and works directly and collaboratively with the Board of Directors to establish the vision and direction of SCORE. In her 10 years with the organization, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the needs and challenges of our volunteers and has established significant relationships on the Hill. Through her unwavering commitment and passion for SCORE’s success, Ms. Weston motivates, directs and provides guidance to SCORE’s staff, its 300+ chapters and over 10,000 volunteers.
During her 10 years at SCORE, Ms. Weston has been involved in every aspect of the organization. Not only has she led the Marketing & Communications team, but she has been the change management leader for both Centralized Accounting and Engage, has overseen the Help Desk after the former VP of Technology departed and has been integrally involved in nearly every major Foundation partner project. Additionally, she has served as a member of the Futures task force that created SCORE’s Vision for 2025 and has been a leader on the FY2020 tactical plan for SCORE.
She has publicly represented SCORE on numerous occasions including testifying in front of the House Small Business committee and appearing on MSNBC’s “Your Business.” Ms. Weston earned her Master of Business Administration from Temple University and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Amy Steel Vanden-Eykel is the Chief Marketing Officer for Staples, Inc., which includes Staples.com and Staples Advantage, Staples' B2B business. She has held this role since November of 2021 and is responsible for Brand & Creative Strategy, Customer Acquisition & Development, the Loyalty Program, and Marketing activation channels like Field Marketing, Email, and Direct Mail. Prior to her role as CMO, Amy was the Senior Vice President of Merchandising & Marketing for Staples, Inc. Here, she gained eCommerce expertise leading the Sell Side Merchandising organization, which was responsible for eCommerce and seller enabled sales. In addition, she led multiple Marketing teams, including Email, Direct Mail, Catalog, Field, and Customer Lifecycle Marketing. She was also responsible for the promotional strategy, prioritizing sellers' time via the Commercial Plan, and Vendor Programs.
In addition, Amy spent almost a decade in positions of increasing seniority in Merchandising for Staples.com, StaplesAdvantage.com, and Staples’ Retail stores where she built her capabilities in P+L management, eCommerce, Retail, and Omnichannel customer experiences. These various positions included category responsibility for Office Supplies & Paper, Tech Services, Warranties, Software, Computing, and 3rd party gift cards.
Amy started her career with Staples 14 years ago in Corporate Strategy. Before joining Staples, Amy was a Vice President at the strategy consulting firm Kaiser Associates and graduated with honors from Harvard Business School. She received her undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College, where she majored in Economics and Mathematics.
Sharon Epperson, named one of “12 to Watch in TV News,” can be seen regularly on CNBC television and other media platforms.
As CNBC’s senior personal finance correspondent, Epperson covers the many facets of how people manage, grow and protect their money. Her expertise includes saving and investing for retirement, paying for college, managing mortgage, student loan, credit card and other debt, and building a financial legacy through estate planning.
Preparing your finances for the unexpected is another critical (and personal) aspect of her reporting. In September 2016, Epperson sustained a ruptured brain aneurysm and she nearly lost her life. She has become a staunch advocate for health and wellness issues, raising awareness about brain aneurysms and funding for research. In September 2018, she and her family established “The Sharon Epperson Chair of Research” through the Brain Aneurysm Foundation to provide grants for research on early detection and innovative treatments.
Epperson is a lead contributor to “Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow.,” a multi-platform financial wellness and education initiative at CNBC in partnership with the micro-investing app Acorns, and developed its companion 8-week learning course and weekly newsletter, “Invest in You: Money 101.” She also contributes to NBC’s TODAY and NBC Nightly News as well as Today.com and NBCNews.com.
Her book, The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money-and Live Richly Ever After, was a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Awards, honoring works that have “changed the lives of millions.” She also was a contributing writer for The Experts’ Guide to Doing Things Faster. Her personal finance expertise has been featured in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, USA Weekend, Self, Essence, Ebony and TIME, where she had covered business, culture, social issues and health as a correspondent prior to joining CNBC.
Epperson has numerous industry and civic awards, including the Special Achievement Award from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Savvy Inspiration Award from the non-profit, financial empowerment group Savvy Ladies. She won an Alliance for Women in Media’s Gracie Award for Outstanding Online Host for her “Financial Advisor Playbook” video series on CNBC.com. She has received the Vanguard Award for her distinguished career in business and personal finance reporting from the National Urban League Guild, and the All-Star Award from the Association of Women in Communications. She also has won awards from the New York Festivals, the New York Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.
Epperson is committed to improving financial literacy, particularly in underserved communities. She was invited to the White House during President Obama’s administration to speak about financial literacy and to moderate a public meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability at the U.S. Treasury Department. She also speaks frequently at conferences and events for local and national organizations, colleges and universities about many facets of personal finance.
An adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Epperson has also taught courses at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. She enjoys teaching the importance of budgeting and building long-term savings as part of her professional development courses for graduate students.
Epperson received her bachelor’s in sociology and government from Harvard University, a master of international affairs degree from Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from Carlow University in Pittsburgh. A Pittsburgh native, she has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame at Taylor Allderdice High School, her alma mater.
She currently lives with her husband and two children in Westchester County, N.Y.
Tyler Mathisen co-anchors CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running program franchises. He is also Vice President, Events Strategy for CNBC, working closely with the network's events team to grow the rapidly expanding business.
Previously, Mathisen was co-anchor of "Nightly Business Report," an award-winning evening business news program produced by CNBC for U.S. public television. In 2014, NBR was named best radio/TV show by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW). Since joining CNBC in 1997, Mathisen has held a number of positions including managing editor of CNBC Business News, responsible for directing the network's daily content and coverage. He was also co-anchor of CNBC's "Closing Bell."
Mathisen has reported one-hour documentaries for the network including "Best Buy: The Big Box Fights Back," "Supermarkets Inc: Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine" and "Death: It's a Living." Mathisen was also host of the CNBC series "How I Made My Millions."
Prior to CNBC, Mathisen spent 15 years as a writer, senior editor and top editor for Money magazine. Among other duties, he supervised the magazine's mutual funds coverage, its annual investment forecast issue and its expansion into electronic journalism, for which it won the first-ever National Magazine Award for New Media in 1997.
In 1993, Mathisen won the American University-Investment Company Institute Award for Personal Finance Journalism for a televised series on "Caring for Aging Parents," which aired on ABC's "Good Morning America." Mathisen served as money editor of "GMA" from 1991 to 1997. He also won an Emmy Award for a report on the 1987 stock market crash that aired on New York's WCBS-TV.
A native of Arlington,Va., Mathisen graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia.
Ylan Q. Mui is CNBC’s Senior Congressional Correspondent based at the network’s bureau in Washington, D.C., reporting on Capitol Hill and economic policy. She also plays a key role covering the power struggle between Big Tech and Washington as they continue to debate on Capitol Hill. Her reporting appears on television and CNBC’s digital platforms. Mui joined CNBC in February 2017 as a reporter focusing primarily on economic and regulatory policy.
Prior to CNBC, Mui spent nearly 15 years at The Washington Post, most recently as White House economic policy correspondent. She previously covered the Federal Reserve and the macroeconomy, subprime lending, consumer finance, retail and education. In addition, Mui reported on major international stories, including the Greek financial crisis and Brexit, as well as national disasters such as the BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.
Mui began her career as a receptionist and obituary writer at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, where she was born and raised.
Mui graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans with a major in communications and a double minor in biology and philosophy. She is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association, where she is a past vice president of the Washington, DC chapter. She is also a graduate of AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program.
Jen Rogers is an award-winning financial reporter and anchor. Most recently, she was the host of The Final Round, Yahoo! Finance’s live daily close-of-market show and Time for Change, its program focused on issues of diversity and social justice in the business world.
Before joining Yahoo! Finance, Jen spent more than a decade in television -- at CNN, MSNBC, and Reuters. She has had a front row seat for the biggest tech and finance stories of our time and has interviewed a who’s who of business leaders, including Warren Buffett and Elon Musk.
Jen is a runner, a reader, and a cancer survivor. She co-founded Comedy vs Cancer, an annual event which raises money for cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she also serves on the Patient and Family Advisory Council.
Kate Rogers joined CNBC in September 2014 as a reporter based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Rogers covers small business and entrepreneurship for the network appearing on CNBC's Business Day programming and providing daily stories and videos to CNBC.com. She will also contribute to the network's overall markets coverage.
Previously, Rogers was a personal finance and small business reporter for FOX Business and FOXBusiness.com. While there, she reported across FBN's and FOX News' daily programming. She also created and hosted a web series on entrepreneurship and startups called "Growing Your Business" for FOXBusiness.com.
Prior to FBN, Rogers was a reporter at the Nonprofit Times covering the business aspect of nonprofit management, and was an editor at the Union County Local Source.
Rogers holds a bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Women's Studies from the University of Delaware.
Jane Wells develops features, special reports and series for CNBC and CNBC.com. Based in Los Angeles, she also contributes to CNBC’s breaking news coverage.
Wells assumed her current role after more than 20 years as a CNBC reporter. Most recently, she covered retail, agriculture and defense as well as reports on California’s economy, West Coast real estate and Las Vegas for the network. Wells joined CNBC in 1996, providing special coverage of the O.J. Simpson civil case for “Rivera Live.” During her career at the network, Wells also served as a senior correspondent for CNBC’s “Upfront Tonight.” She also helped create the “Strange Success” franchise for CNBC Make It, and produces a companion podcast.
Prior to joining CNBC, she was a correspondent for the Fox News Channel and Los Angeles reporter for NBC’s flagship television station, WNBC, in New York. Her television news career includes reporter positions with KTTV, Los Angeles; WTVJ, Miami; and KOB, Albuquerque. She has also contributed international reports for CNN.
Wells has received numerous honors for her work, including a 1992 Peabody Award and duPont Award for her role in the live coverage of the Rodney King Trial. That same year, she earned a Los Angeles Emmy Award for her investigative reporting. She also has received UPI, Press Club and Emmy Awards for feature reporting; three Florida Emmy Awards for news reporting; and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for team reporting.
Wells holds bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism and philosophy from the University of Southern California, where she graduated with honors. She and her husband have two children and live in Los Angeles.
Tyler Mathisen, CNBC “Power Lunch” Co-Anchor & Vice President, Events Strategy
Inflation is hitting small businesses particularly hard, and it ranks as the top concern for owners in every sector. We’ll breakdown the latest numbers, and examine the road ahead.
Roger Ferguson, Former Fed Vice Chairman
Interviewer: Tyler Mathisen, CNBC “Power Lunch” Co-Anchor & Vice President, Events Strategy
With the small business landscape continuing to shift, how do you navigate problems like inflation and labor, and transform challenges into new opportunities?
One Shark is here to offer tips, and answer your questions on all things small business.
Barbara Corcoran, Shark Tank Investor & Shark
Interviewer: Jane Wells, CNBC Special Correspondent
A growing number of small businesses are turning to robotics and automated technology to help ease the burden of the ongoing labor crisis, particularly when it comes to streamlining inefficient tasks. We’ll examine the pro’s and cons of this movement, and what it means for the future of work.
Ravin Jesuthasan, Mercer Senior Partner & Global Leader for Transformation Services
Interviewer: Kate Rogers, CNBC Restaurant and Small Business Correspondent
The three most pressing challenges small businesses face are sustainable growth, hiring, and staying ahead of the competition, according to two successful entrepreneurs. They’ll share their stories of conquering the obstacles that held their businesses back, and offer tips for others to do the same.
Stacey Abrams, NOW Corp. Co-founder & GA Governor Candidate
Lara Hodgson, NOW Corp. CEO
Moderator: Sharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
A new report examines a range of bi-partisan solutions to meet the needs of today’s small businesses. We’ll discuss the findings, strategies, and a program that provides support services and a pathway for growth for small business owners.
Asahi Pompey, Goldman Sachs Global Head of Corporate Engagement
Victoria Thomas, JOURNEY FIT Owner
Dave Simnick, Impact Driven Brands Managing Partner
Moderator: Ylan Mui, CNBC Senior Congressional Correspondent
SPONSORED AND PROGRAMMED BY STAPLES, INC.
Businesses have had to adapt to new ways of working since the start of the pandemic. Leaders, employees, and customers have had to be flexible with when, where, and how work has gotten done, navigating increasing complexities along the way. Small businesses continue to search for unique solutions as they work to overcome the ongoing challenges this hybrid work model has thrown their way. This session explores how, as we emerge from the pandemic into a new way of working, businesses can ensure maximum employee productivity and capture new business growth opportunities in the face of adversity.
Amy Steel Vanden-Eykel, Staples, Inc. Chief Marketing Officer
Interviewer: Jen Rogers, Financial Reporter
TODAY Show Lifestyle & Commerce Contributor Jill Martin brings us the inspiring story of one business owner who beat the odds and is now bringing about change to her community.
Jill Martin, TODAY Show Lifestyle & Commerce Contributor
There are three critical elements that are at the core of successful businesses: teamwork, communication, and leadership skills. A former Wall Street broker turned entrepreneur will discuss how to improve all three to create meaningful change for your organization and boost the bottom line.
Joe De Sena, Spartan Founder & CEO
Interviewer: Tyler Mathisen, CNBC “Power Lunch” Co-Anchor & Vice President, Events Strategy
Here’s your chance to engage with fellow business owners and share ideas on overcoming the obstacles that are holding you back. Plus, we’ll answer your questions, and offer up pro-active steps you should take to navigate the challenges of today, and successfully plan for tomorrow.
Ramiro Cavazos, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President & CEO
Bridget Weston, SCORE Association CEO
Moderator: Sharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
With over 20 years in the game, Staples is here to help our customers feel confident navigating the ever-changing world of work. With a wide selection of quality products and services specifically designed for how you work, and a knowledgeable team dedicated to our customers, our mission is to ensure you can get the job done and done right wherever and however you work.
Get your favorite products through our effortless site, with most orders delivered next day to businesses and homes.
StaplesAdvantage.com (for business)
Purchasing programs tailored for business needs with customized pricing and member-only features and services.
Kevin O’Leary was born in Montreal, Canada on July 9th, 1954. As the son of a United Nations ILO official, he had the opportunity to live and be educated in Cambodia, Cyprus, Tunisia, Ethiopia, France and Switzerland.
Kevin attended the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada where in 1977 he received an Honors bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and Psychology. He attended the University of Western Ontario where he received his MBA in 1980.
After working briefly as an assistant product manager at Nabisco Brands, he left to pursue a career in television production and became a founding partner in Special Event Television, an independent production company that produced original sports programming such as “The Original Six”, “Don Cherry’s Grapevine” and “Bobby Orrand the Hockey Legends”.
Kevin co-founded SoftKey Software Products in Toronto, Canada in 1986. SoftKey was the first software company to apply the principles of consumer goods marketing to the software industry. SoftKey grew quickly as the price of personal computers declined and millions of North American families began to buy software for family education and entertainment.
In January of 1994, SoftKey became a catalyst of consolidation in the software industry, raising over $ 1 billion in a series of debt and equity financings and completing the first trans-border three-way pooling, merging with Spinnaker Software and WordStar International. As a result of this merger the company moved its headquarters to Boston, Massachusetts. In late 1995, SoftKey acquired Compton’s New Media and The Learning Company. In early 1996, SoftKey completed the acquisition of the Minnesota Educational Computer Company. In late 1997 and early 1998, the company acquired three more of its competitors, Creative Wonders, Mindscape and Broderbund making SoftKey the world leader in the development of educational, reference and home productivity software and the world’s second largest consumer software company with annual sales over $800 million, two thousand employees and subsidiaries in 15 countries.
In 1996 SoftKey changed its name to The Learning Company. In early May 1999, The Mattel Toy Company acquired The Learning Company for $4.2 billion.
In 2003 he became co-investor and a director in Storage Now, a leading developer of climate-controlled storage facilities. Through a series of development projects and acquisitions, Storage Now became one of Canada’s largest owner/operator of storage services with facilities located in eleven cities serving such companies as Merck and Pfizer when it was acquired by the In Storage REIT in March 2007 for $110 million.
In July of 2007 Kevin became a founding investor and Director of Stream Global Services Inc., focused on the growing outsourcing business services market.
Kevin O’Leary is the Chairman of O’Leary Funds the Manager of the publically traded family of O’Leary Global Equity and Income Funds. He also serves on the board of The Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. He is a member of Boston’s 107 year old Hamilton Trust. Kevin O’Leary is a contributing columnist to CTV, BNN and the Bell Media Radio Network. He is a contributor to CNBC, ABC News and Good Morning America and an entrepreneur/investor co-host for the Discovery Channels Project Earth series that explores innovative ways man could reverse global warming implementing large scale geo-engineering infrastructure projects. He is also an investor/host of ABC Television’s Emmy Award winning venture capital reality program “Shark Tank” produced my Mark Burnet/Sony/ABC.
Kevin O’Leary is an active photographer, guitarist and author of three number #1 best selling books “Cold Hard Truth”, “Men, Women and Money” and “Family Kids and Money”.
Isabella Casillas Guzman serves as the 27th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and was sworn in on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Administrator Guzman represents the more than 30 million U.S. small businesses and is committed to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs start, grow and be resilient.
A lifelong proponent of small businesses, Guzman grew up as the daughter of a small business owner and learned at a young age how important small businesses are to the communities they serve, the people they employ, and the economies they help power.
Administrator Guzman previously served as Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, a position she held after being appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in April 2019. In that role, she served as the voice of small businesses and innovative startups in the 5th largest economy in the world. She administered and advocated for programs and initiatives to help small businesses access capital, markets, and networks for stronger outcomes. She and her team helped connect entrepreneurs in every community with the resources needed. As the economic recovery support function coordinator for the state, she focused on resilience and most recently worked to help small businesses access relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In California, Administrator Guzman oversaw a network of small business centers focused on expanding assistance to underserved business groups. She launched new public private partnerships and collaborated to deliver cutting edge resources to small businesses, including through initiatives like Get Digital CA to increase technology and e-commerce adoption and Source Diverse Source Local to strengthen supply chain readiness. She advocated fiercely for financial relief for small businesses, leading to the expansion of state supported lending and the largest COVID-19 grant relief program in the nation at over $2.5 billion. Guzman's office launched the Entrepreneurship Task Force to serve as a bridge to small businesses and create content and programs to help strengthen the competitiveness of startup and small firms.
Administrator Guzman has previously served in leadership at the SBA as the agency’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor during the Obama-Biden Administration, where she oversaw policy and new program implementation. She was a small business entrepreneur herself, and an advisor to fellow founders including in accelerating technology commercialization and in helping small business contractors leverage the federal marketplace. Administrator Guzman earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
Sheryl Sandberg is Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.
Gary Vaynerchuk is the chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients across the company’s 4 locations.
In addition to VaynerMedia, VaynerX also includes Gallery Media Group, which houses women’s lifestyle brand PureWow and men’s lifestyle brand ONE37pm. In addition to running VaynerMedia, Gary also serves as a partner in the athlete representation agency VaynerSports, cannabis-focused branding and marketing agency Green Street and restaurant reservations app Resy.
Gary is a board/advisory member of Ad Council and Pencils of Promise, and is a longtime Well Member of Charity:Water.
Gary is a highly sought after public speaker, a 5-time New York Times bestselling author, as well as a prolific angel investor with early investments in companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo, and Uber.
Gary is currently the subject of DailyVee, an online documentary series highlighting what it’s like to be a CEO and public figure in today’s digital world, as well the host of The GaryVee Audio Experience, a top 100 global podcast, and host of #AskGaryVee, a business and advice Q&A show which can be found on both YouTube and Facebook.
Gary also appeared as judge in Apple’s first original series “Planet of the Apps” alongside Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba and Will.i.am.
Melissa L. Bradley is Founder of 1863 Ventures, a business development program that accelerates New Majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth. Melissa serves as General Partner of 1863 Venture Fund, Venture Partner at NextGen Ventures and serves an advisor to Reign Ventures, New Voices Foundation, as well as the Halcyon Fund. She is also a member of the Milken Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Asset Management Initiative, Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women Advisory Council, Launch with GS Advisory Council, Fast Company Executive Board, Square & Forbes Small Business Advisory Team, as well as the Target Accelerators Entrepreneurs Advisory Council. Melissa is the former Co-Chair, National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and was named one of The Most Entrepreneurial Women Investors in 2018.
Melissa is a professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University where she teaches impact investing, social entrepreneurship, P2P economies, and innovation. In 2021 she was awarded Peter W. Gonzalez, Jr. Award for Excellence in Adjunct Faculty Teaching. In 2020, Melissa received The Ideas Worth Teaching Award which celebrates exceptional courses that are preparing future business leaders to tackle society’s largest challenges and create a more inclusive, just, and sustainable version of capitalism.
Melissa's educational background includes graduation from Georgetown University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the School of Business, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration in Marketing from American University in 1993.
Margaret is head of the Urban Investment Group (UIG), a domestic, multi-asset class investing and lending business that provides equity and debt to real estate projects and social enterprises to benefit underserved communities, within the Merchant Banking Division (MBD). Established in 2001, UIG has committed nearly $8 billion to community and economic development investments, serving as a catalyst in the revitalization of distressed urban neighborhoods. Margaret serves on the MBD Real Estate Investment Committee and is chair of the Urban Investment Group Investment Committee. She is also on the Board of Advisors of Launch With GS, Goldman Sachs’ $500 million commitment to invest in companies and investment managers with diverse leadership.
Previously, Margaret worked in Equity Derivatives in the Securities Division. She joined Goldman Sachs as an analyst in 2003 and was named managing director in 2013 and partner in 2018.
Margaret serves on the boards of several community and economic development nonprofit organizations, including the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, Center for an Urban Future, Core Innovation Capital, Low Income Investment Fund and Food Bank Of New York City.
Margaret earned a BA in Computer Science from Harvard College in 2003.
George "Monk" Foreman III is an entrepreneur, boxing trainer/coach, and son of the legendary businessman and former two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman Sr. In addition to being his father’s business manager for seven years, George spent his entire youth working at the George Foreman Youth & Community Center where he not only developed the habit of giving back but his ability to use boxing a platform to to effect change in individuals from all walks of life. After earning a degree in kinesiology from Rice University, George went on to pursue his own professional boxing career in 2009 and finished with a perfect 16-0 record.
In 2013, George III founded a chain of luxury boxing fitness gyms called EverybodyFights, which now has locations in Boston, NYC and Chicago. In 2018, the company started their National expansion with over 30 new locations planned to open by 2022. George’s mission is to fight for people who fight for others. In 2013 he published his first book The Fighting Spirit which includes his original 12 Fight Laws.
Robert Herjavec is one of North America’s most recognizable business leaders. Born in Eastern Europe, he arrived in Canada on a boat with his parents after escaping Communism in the former Yugoslavia. From delivering newspapers, and waiting tables, to launching a computer company from his basement, his drive to achieve has led him to the fulfillment of a better life for himself and his family. A dynamic entrepreneur, Robert has built and sold several IT companies. In 2003 Robert founded Herjavec Group, and it quickly became one of the world’s largest, privately held cybersecurity firms. His inspiring books all appeared on bestsellers’ lists: (1) Driven, (2) The Will to Win and (3) You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success. Robert’s motivational business advice has received millions of impressions through TV, print, radio and digital media. He shares his expertise with other entrepreneurs each week as a leading Shark on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning hit show, Shark Tank.”
Bert is the co-founder of the $100 million lifestyle brand Life is Good. When he and his brother John 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 Bert and John 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 Bert and John 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, Bert 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, Bert has been asked to share his transformative message at a wide range of corporate and thought leadership conferences including Inc 5000, Morgan Stanley, SAP Sapphire, Discover, and more. He and John 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.
Sharon Miller is the head of Small Business at Bank of America with over 25 years of bank, wealth management and payments leadership experience, and is a member of the company’s Management Operating Committee. Her team is responsible for providing over 12 million business owner clients a full range of financial products and services through Bank of America’s network of approximately 4,400 financial centers, 17,000 ATMs, and its award winning digital banking platform. Miller has built Small Business at Bank of America to become the #1 lender to small businesses in conventional loans, the #1 small business bank for deposit growth, and the #1 small business Digital bank, with the highest Digital adoption amongst clients in the industry. Miller’s team delivers advice and guidance on merchant services, cash management, business financing, personal lending, investments and retirement to business owners in local markets throughout the United States. Miller began her Bank of America career in 1996 as a financial advisor in Houston, Texas, and has since held various leadership positions across Bank of America and Merrill. Miller was named to American Banker’s “Most Powerful Women to Watch in Banking” in 2019 and 2020. She appears regularly on national and local TV and radio, discussing small business issues and advocating for the nation’s entrepreneurs as the engine that drives the U.S. economy. She serves as a council member on Bank of America’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council and is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment within the company. She is also a member of Bank of America’s Corporate Benefits Committee and the Dean’s Advisory Council for The University of Texas McCombs School of Business. Miller earned her bachelor’s degree from University of North Texas and her volunteer commitments include United Way and March of Dimes. She resides in San Antonio, Texas.
Eric Siu is an investor, founder and advisor. He is the Chairman of digital marketing agencies ClickFlow and Single Grain, which have worked with companies such as Amazon, Uber, and Salesforce.
He also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School with Neil Patel and Leveling Up, an entrepreneurial podcast where he dissects growth levers that help businesses scale.
In his youth, Eric was not academically or socially successful, but he was a serious high-level eSports and poker player.
He ultimately found how to convert his focus and success in gaming into a very successful career in marketing.
Nina Vaca is Founder and CEO of Pinnacle Group, a global workforce solutions provider focused on IT/Professional solutions for the Fortune 500. Pinnacle is among the largest and most successful firms in the industry and has twice been named the fastest growing woman-owned company of any kind in the US. Nina is a member of the Staffing Industry Analysts Hall of Fame, has been honored as part of the Global Power 150 – Women in Staffing for each of the past six years, and was recently named as one of 50 industry leaders for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. In addition to her leadership of Pinnacle, Nina serves as a Director on three corporate boards of publicly traded companies. Nina is also a civic leader and philanthropist, working relentlessly to expand educational and business opportunities for minorities and women in STEM. In 2014, Nina was appointed by the White House as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. She is also a German Marshall Fellow, a British American Project Fellow, a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and in 2019 became a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Nina is a recipient of the coveted Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Technology & Communications and the Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneuraward.