5th Annual BABC Young Professionals Group Panel Discussion & Networking

The British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia Young Professionals Group Fifth Annual Panel Discussion & Networking Event: Immigration & Integration – Who Does it Better, the EU or the US?

On Wednesday, April 27, 2016, the BABC of Greater Philadelphia Young Professionals Group (YPG) hosted the fifth annual panel about a current topic.  Five years ago the BABC YPG was launched, and today is a flourishing subgroup of the Organization.  This year’s discussion was the hotly debated Immigration & Integration – Who Does it Better, the EU or the US?  Throughout history immigration has been a controversial subject because of the economic, political and social pressure it places on regions directly affected by migratory patterns.  This very serious and oftentimes polemic subject was addressed in an unconventional business meeting venue – Philadelphia’s famous whiskey and go go bar, The Trestle Inn – owned and managed the BABC’s very own Marketing & Communications Chairman Ian Cross.  The event was filled to capacity with 50 attendees and professionals from various sectors representing the international business community who were eager to talk about this widely debated subject.

The program explored the experiences of a unique group of highly educated, young professional immigrants, and those who work with them.  Panelists openly talked about moving throughout the European Union and the United States for work and/or higher education.  Jason Gosselin, panel moderator and BABC Secretary from Drinker Biddle & Reath, moderated the discussion.  Jason explained the focus of the meeting – economic mobility – the ability of professionals to move between countries to assist companies and gain invaluable work and cultural experience. He guided panelists from the private and public sectors to talk about the advantages and disadvantages posed by this fluidity across borders and cultures. The young professionals discussed the legal, tax and business implications of a professional move from one country to another.

Tess Smith is one of the managers of the International Co-op program at Drexel University.  As a member of the International Team, she manages international programs in more than 15 countries, and meets with approximately 300 students a year who are interested in an international co-op experience.  Tess is in charge of program administration for the International Co-op Team, including reporting and auditing.  She conducts job development and meets with employers worldwide.  Tess talked about the challenges of international work abroad experiences such as securing proper visas, the more recent need for FBI background checks, and the “CNN effect.”  When something happens in a foreign country and it is publicized throughout the world, it causes a stir that can shift ties and affect job placement and the ease of navigating the host country.

Bertrand Guillotin who joined the Fox School of Business this past July, as Assistant Professor of Instruction & Academic Director of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, discussed the Schengen Agreement, a treaty which led to the creation of Europe’s borderless Schengen Area. The Schengen Treaty was signed in 1985 by five of the ten member states of the then European Economic Community near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg. It proposed the gradual abolition of border checks at the signatories’ common borders.  In 1990, the Agreement was supplemented by the Schengen Convention which proposed the abolition of internal border controls and a common visa policy.  The Schengen Area operates very much like a single state for international travel purposes with external border controls for travelers entering and exiting the area, and common visas, but with no internal border controls.  It currently consists of 26 European countries covering a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometers (1,664,911 square miles).  Originally, the Schengen treaties and the rules adopted under them operated independently from the European Union. However, in 1999 they were incorporated into European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty, while providing opt-outs for the only two EU member states which had remained outside the Area: Ireland and the United Kingdom. Schengen is now a core part of EU law and all EU member states without an opt-out which have not already joined the Schengen Area are legally obliged to do so when technical requirements have been met. Several non-EU countries are included in the area.  The free movement of persons was a core part of the original Treaty of Rome and, from the early days of the European Economic Community, nationals of EEC member states could travel freely from one member state to another on production of their passports or national identity cards.  Bertrand, a Frenchman, studied and worked in Europe and the US.  He explained the ease of moving within Europe and the difficulties in obtaining the proper permission to work and study in the US, even despite working with an attorney and doing everything right.  As a result of this complicated process, the US is losing a competitive edge.  People end-up going elsewhere to further their educational degrees and for professional development.

Christopher Morton a Sales & Relationship Manager with Goal Group of Companies, joined the London-based financial services firm as a software developer in June 2009 before transferring to the Operations Division in January 2011. While in the Operations Division, Chris headed the Securities Class Actions team and worked closely with the Director of Operations to facilitate the continued growth and success of the company. Chris is responsible for all sales and relationship activities in North and South America. His first US assignment was on the West Coast; he was based in San Francisco.  Chris discussed the differences between the East and West Coasts of the US, explaining the East Coast is more similar in culture, overall lifestyle, and business practices to the UK.  Chris also talked about the incredible difficulties he faced in obtaining the proper work visa.  He needed a very specific type of visa to move and work in the US.  The room erupted in laughter when he said his lawyer told him he had two options: his company could secure the visa or he could join and get married!

Luke Butler, Strategy & Operations Manager at Curalate, a fast-growing visual commerce technology company headquartered in Philadelphia with offices in New York City and Seattle is originally from the UK.  Prior to joining Curalate, Luke spent eight years in Philadelphia city government working for Mayor Michael Nutter as Deputy Press Secretary and Special Assistant to the Mayor before serving as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. In his role as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor, he led a number of economic development and strategic initiatives including developing the City’s support for Philadelphia’s startup community and organizing a number of international trade missions for Mayor Nutter. Luke has also worked on political campaigns and in political consultancy in the United Kingdom and United States. Luke studied at the London School of Economics, and the University of Pennsylvania.  Luke is hopeful the continued growth of the high tech sector and the expansion of dynamic, innovative companies will make it easier for people to move more freely from one country to another.

Lee Jankauskas is a Manager in PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) Global Mobility group in Philadelphia.  He has been with the firm since 2008.  During his tenure at PwC, Lee has focused the majority of his time specializing in the global mobility needs of partnerships, specifically law firms, and high net worth individuals.  He has taught multiple sessions with clients regarding cash flow management for foreign partners and the international tax impacts of working in a global partnership. To avoid complicated visa and legal issues Lee talked about the corporate shift toward outsourcing and how going digital is very popular.  Call centers and help desks manned by large teams in Asian countries is common.  One US executive is moved for example to India to set-up and manage the operation, rather than bringing the entire team to the US for work.

While each of the panelists relates to the topic in a different way, one common thread is the desire of this highly educated and specialized segment of the global young professional population to obtain international business experience.  Despite visa and other immigration issues, this group is lucky, and so is the region in which they operate.  There has been a tremendous shift in migration during the past six to twelve months.  The UK and other countries have tightened their policies.  It will be interesting to see how things continue to evolve.  Culture and business practices play a big part in the shift.  Audience questions highlighted some of these important factors.  The conversation flowed freely and both presenters and audience members chimed in to answer questions and talk about their personal experiences.  This particular event created a feeling of great pride for the BABC.  Looking around the room and seeing it filled with a dynamic group of young professionals speaking about a widely discussed and important topic affecting business throughout the world highlights the BABC’s expansion and success during the past five years.

Attendees networked long after the formal part of the program ended.  Everyone enjoyed their signature whiskey sours, while developing new and enhancing old business ties.  The BABC encourages those who were unable to attend the program to visit The Trestle Inn.

Special thanks to the French, German and Irish Chambers of Commerce and the Welcoming Center for Pennsylvanians for partnering with us.

Click here to view photos from the event.

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

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