BABC Young Professionals Group – Mind the Gap Panel Discussion and Networking Event

On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, the BABC of Greater Philadelphia Young Professionals Group (YPG) hosted Mind the Gap, a panel discussion and networking event at The Twisted Tail. More than 25 people gathered for a dynamic discussion about cultural differences, stories and nuances between the US and the UK. Enthusiastic panelists shared inspiring anecdotes about their experiences on both sides of the Pond, and how this exposure influenced important aspects of both their personal and professional lives. Toby Wallace, BABC YPG Co-Leader from Aberdeen Asset Management welcomed everyone and introduced Howard Silverstone, prior BABC President and active board member from Forensic Resolutions who moderated the panel. Howard, a Brit having moved to the US as a young professional in the mid 1980s, kept the audience laughing at his side splitting humor and at the same time, seamlessly navigated the speakers through the informal discussion about the importance of professional development and the consequences of living and working abroad.

Mind the Gap panelists represented a cross-section of BABC member companies. Richard Bartlett, President of Bartlett & Company, Inc. was asked to go to Philadelphia for one week to learn more about the US subsidiary of the Bartlett Group, a global insurance broking and risk management family business, and four years later he is still here! Luke Butler, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development for the City of Philadelphia left London, and came to Philadelphia to pursue a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied as a Thouron Fellow. During the time of his studies Luke volunteered for Michael A. Nutter’s campaign for Mayor. Luke was recognized for his outstanding work and became Special Assistant to the Mayor of Philadelphia and Deputy Press Secretary for the City of Philadelphia, in both roles serving as a speechwriter for Mayor Michael Nutter for many years.

The British panelists joked about how much easier it is to meet people here – “all you need to do is start speaking and people take an instant liking to you because of your accent.” Ian Cross, BABC Marketing & Communications Chairman and entrepreneur and owner of –I-SITE, an internet marketing company and The Trestle Inn, Whiskey & Go Go bar, came to the US in his early 20s and has lived here ever since. Ian lightheartedly commented, “if I were to return to England now to live and work, I probably would not even know how to tie my own shoes!” All panelists unanimously agreed, once you have lived outside of your country for long enough, you almost reach the point of no return because you have been so molded by where you have lived and worked as a young professional, that returning home would be a great challenge.

James Hennessey, Executive Chef for Lincoln Financial Field, and Representative Chef, 2012 London Olympics, ARAMARK, spoke about being an American and his experience moving to the UK for a short period of time. James and several of his fellow panelists moved countries at an important turning point in their lives. For example, James left Philadelphia in the middle of planning his wedding, and Rich left England just weeks after he and his girlfriend moved into the same apartment. The story for both James and Rich ends well – James’ wedding went off without a hitch, and Rich’s girlfriend (now wife) moved to Philadelphia to be with him.

When asked, everyone agreed they would do it all again. Obviously, being young, unencumbered by family, property and other more complicated life circumstances contribute to a smoother transition in a new homeland. However, there will always be stumbling blocks to overcome, many with much greater implications than merely uttering the word “soccer” when you meant to say “football.” No doubt, as all of the panelists confided, it takes a strong person to move to a different continent, settle and feel personally and professionally satisfied. Howard lamented that when he moved to the US, it cost a $1.50 a minute to call his family and friends back home in the UK. Things have certainly changed for today’s young professionals venturing abroad. Nowadays, handheld devices easily guide foreigners through complicated city streets and subway systems, or help convert English to metric system. Chef James made the audience erupt in laughter when he exclaimed “Thank goodness there’s an app for that!”

Kara Bergman, BABC YPG Co-Leader closed the program by thanking panelists and drawing raffle donations. Many thanks to Rob Williamson for Philly Fair Trade Roasters for the generous coffee and chocolate basket raffle donation and to Alan Avidar from Philadelphia Union for donating a voucher for two tickets to any Philadelphia Union game this season.

The BABC encourages those who were unable to attend the program to visit The Twisted Tail, a Southern inspired Bourbon House & Juke Joint serving delicious food and drinks. George Reilly, proprietor, is another example of a young Brit who left England, married, settled in Philadelphia, and launched his successful restaurant business. Please support BABC member, The Twisted Tail.

Click here to view photos from the event.

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • Almac
  • American Airlines
  • Baker Tilly
  • Cigna
  • Cigna
  • Duane Morris
  • EisnerAmper LLP
  • Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Forensic Resolutions
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Olympus
  • Penn Medicine
  • Welsh Government