2019 Signature Annual Holiday Luncheon

On Thursday, December 12, 2019, the BABCPHL hosted our Signature Annual Holiday Lunch, which included a Penderyn whisky tasting during cocktail hour in the Grand Ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton.  We are living in a time of transformative change throughout the world.  Nearly 200 guests gathered for this special annual event to celebrate the strong ties between our region and the UK.  The US’ historic connection with the UK and our many shared cultural, economic and political values bind our two nations together and enable us to support one another throughout transition.  Michael Pedrick, BABCPHL President welcomed attendees and introduced special guest, Mayor Jim Kenney who commented on the auspicious date.  December 12th was the day of the General Election in the UK.  Mayor Kenney stated, “As the birthplace of the American democracy, Philadelphia values and encourages everyone to use their right to vote. I wish the UK a smooth process.”

Mayor Kenney talked about how the relationship between the US and UK extends way beyond the polling stations.  The UK is the largest foreign direct investor and ranks first for the number of jobs from foreign investments, in our region and state. Many representatives of those UK companies participated in the BABCPHL Holiday program.  There are also 15,000 UK passport holders in our region – one of the most sizeable foreign-born communities.  Additionally, the UK is our top overseas visitation market.  Mayor stated, “Despite our history nearly 250 years ago, we remain great allies.  We are such good friends and partners that my first trip overseas was to the UK – also supporting the Birds against the Jaguars in Wembley Stadium at the time!”

The City of Philadelphia receives numerous visitors from the UK – from investors to high ranking diplomats.  Mayor Kenney recognized and thanked Oliver Franklin, our local diplomatic representative for the UK.  For more than 20 years Oliver has worked tirelessly to create ties between Philadelphia and the UK including business programs, high school exchanges, and more. He’s been distinguished by the Queen for his services.  Mayor emphasized Philadelphia as a global city, welcoming people from all over the world – and most certainly, from our oldest partner, the UK.

Michael thanked Mayor Kenney and the hard work he and his team deliver on a daily basis, enabling all of us and our businesses to thrive.  Michael formally introduced BABCPHL 2019 Honoree – Oliver St. Clair Franklin – someone who is very important to maintaining UK/US diplomatic relations in the Greater Philadelphia region.  Oliver has been a BABCPHL Board Member for more than two decades.  He was appointed by the UK Government in 1998 to represent British interest in the Philadelphia region.  Oliver is the 3rd British Honorary Consul in Philadelphia.  In this role Oliver liaises with the Consul General in New York and the British Embassy on providing advice to businesses, solving consular issues in the region and engaging in public diplomacy.  Oliver’s relationship with the UK started as a college student in 1966 after graduating from Lincoln University.  In 2002 Her Majesty the Queen bestowed the OBE Honour in recognition of his services to British business.  In his public diplomacy role Oliver has hosted senior members of the British Royal Family as well as government ministers and members of Parliament.  He created a program for Philadelphia public high school students to visit London and founded another initiative to provide opportunities for mid-career American minorities to work in UK investment banks.  Most recently, Oliver received ‘The Distinguished Friend of Oxford’ Award in September 2019, and last month was elected an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford where he studied as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.  Honorary Fellows are expected to enter the intellectual life of the college and university.  Oliver, thank you for all that you do to promote the diplomatic, business and cultural ties between our region and the UK.

Following a delicious lunch, event sponsors: Simon Hawkins, Director, US/UK Sales Alliance & Market Development from Virgin Atlantic Airways; Nick Lotz, Head of Mid-Atlantic Corporate Banking for HSBC Bank USA, N.A.; Mark Carrow, Regional Managing Partner for Citrin Cooperman; and John Hodge, Managing Partner, Americas, Miramar Global each spoke for a few minutes about their companies and their commitment to the BABCPHL.

It would not be a BABCPHL holiday event without some fun and good cheer.  Christmas crackers were popped, paper crowns were donned, and Howard Silverstone, BABCPHL Membership Chairman and Raffle Draw Master of Ceremonies Extraordinaire oversaw our coveted gift giving tradition.  Our program concluded with more than 20 raffle prizes given to lucky business card draw winners from local retailers, restaurants, hotels and sports teams, including roundtrip Virgin Atlantic Upper Class tickets to the UK.

Special thanks to BABCPHL 2019 Holiday Lunch headline sponsors, without whom this program would not have been possible: Citrin Cooperman; HSBC Bank USA, N.A.; Miramar Global; Virgin Atlantic Airways; The Welsh Government, and Penderyn Distillery.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous holiday season.  We are thankful for your support and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.


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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