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Brexit & the New Geopolitical Order – Moving Forward, Charting the Economic Relationship Between the UK, EU and the US

On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the BABCPHL hosted a Brexit update seminar. Attendees included members of the British, German, Italian and Swedish Chambers of Commerce, the World Trade Center of Delaware, and the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. The event was sponsored by BABCPHL Club Level member, McConnell Johnson Real Estate. Networking and the panel discussion took place in the Atrium at the iconic Wilmington landmark building – Hercules Plaza.

Emanuel Adam, Director of Policy & Trade, BritishAmerican Business, who is based in the London office, joined the BABCPHL in Wilmington to moderate the Brexit discussion. Emanuel develops and executes the BritishAmerican Business’ policy advocacy and trade and investment portfolio for British American Business Council (BABC) chapters throughout the world, representing 2000 member companies in the US and the UK. His current key engagements include Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU and, in this context, the future trade and investment relationship between the UK and the US. He regularly publishes articles, and represents the network and its members in the media. Emanuel was the perfect moderator to lead the more than 50 global professionals who participated in the BABCPHL Brexit seminar through this timely discussion. He commented about the historic relationship between the UK and the US. The countries are each other’s strongest allies, and both the UK and the US are champions of free trade. Emanuel mentioned the UK is committed to addressing global challenges and its willingness to build on the foundations established within a successful EU. He spoke on behalf of the BABC network, and said we will continue to advocate for an outcome that best serves the UK, US, and the EU economies, its citizens, and our businesses, many which operate daily across borders. As companies continue to assess the impact of Brexit to the UK’s attractiveness as a destination for business and investment, it is crucial that parties continue to engage in a constructive and on-going dialogue with the business community, and deliver the best possible Brexit outcome available.

After providing a brief summary of the topic, Emanuel introduced the first speaker – Freya Jackson, Counsellor and Head of the Global and Economic Policy Group at the British Embassy. Freya joined the Embassy team in July 2016. She leads the Embassy’s teams covering a wide range of issues including trade, investment and economic policy, environment and energy, transport and science, research and innovation. Prior to this role, Freya led the Foreign Policy Team in the National Security Secretariat of the UK’s Cabinet Office (NSC equivalent). Before that, she was the Senior Foreign Policy Adviser during the UK’s Presidency of the G8 in 2012. From 2007 to 2011, Freya led the Climate Change and Global Economy negotiating team in the UK’s Mission to the United Nations in New York. Prior to that, Freya worked as the Head of Nuclear & Missile Defense Team for the Security Policy Department, and at various assignments with the FCO across the globe including Buenos Aires, Casablanca, and Mumbai.

Freya spoke about how Brexit came to be, and what potential scenarios lay ahead with respect to negotiated trade deals and the “new world order” the Brexit will create. She commented on Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in Florence, delivered on September 22, 2017, and explained the UK will seek to establish a transition period of implementation after Brexit. This period will minimize disruption to business during an agreed upon time frame, therefore avoiding a “cliff-edge” scenario. This arrangement will be crucial to our community, and includes major American investors and leading British firms. Freya talked about how we ended up where we are now; touched upon Article 50 being triggered; and mentioned that four rounds of negotiations with the EU have already been completed. Currently the UK is determining how they are going carry out the Brexit. “A few things are clear – the UK plans to: (1) take care of their citizens; (2) protect the Belfast Agreement; (3) protect the rights of EU citizens; and (4) budget – the UK is expected to pay their way.” Freya carefully explained there are two sides of the equation – the economic side and the societal side. Regulatory standards are high, and custom built dispute regulations will need to be established. From a security standpoint, the UK doesn’t want anything to change; the UK would like to continue to support freedom of movement, and access to global markets.

Andrea Montanino, the C. Boyden Gray Fellow on Global Growth and Finance, and the Director of Global Business & Economics Program at the Atlantic Council focused on the transition from multilateral to bilateral trade agreements; geopolitical issues; and what all of this will mean for labor and trade. Andrea leads the Council’s work on global trade, growth, and finance. He formerly acted as executive director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), representing the governments of Italy, Albania, Greece, Malta, Portugal, and San Marino. Before joining the IMF, he was a career officer in the Italian Ministry of Finance from 2006 to 2012. As director general at the Treasury Department, he worked extensively to alleviate the impact of the great recession on the business sector, drafting and implementing a number of laws. He also spent four years (2001-2005) at the European Commission in the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs. During those years, he worked on the reform of the EU budgetary rules and was responsible for the long-term sustainability analysis of European countries.

Andrea’s expertise perfectly positioned him to explain how looking at what happened with Greece and the “Grexit” is an important example of how to proceed. The world should take away four lessons learned from the Greece experience: (1) Brexit is a very complicated matter and leaders need to be creative and imaginative to solve the problem; (2) due to the complex nature of the situation, sufficient time is required for a positive outcome; (3) both sides need trust and confidence in the other party; and (4) strong political leadership is key.

After Andrea’s comments about the best case scenario of how to proceed with Brexit, Howard Kass, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for American Airlines, who oversees American’s regulatory compliance, policy development, corporate security and international affairs and works closely with regulatory authorities in Washington, D.C., and around the world, spoke about how Brexit will impact business, specifically the aviation sector. Howard joined US Airways in 2003 as a director and associate general counsel and most recently was vice president, legal and government affairs for the Airline. Before joining US Airways, Howard worked for the Transportation Security Administration, where he held deputy director and director positions. Prior to the TSA, he was a senior associate with the management consulting firm Booz, Allen, Hamilton in McLean, Virginia. He was also a consultant with GKMG Consulting Services where he advised airport and transportation industry clients on Department of Transportation and FAA regulations. During Howard’s presentation he explained how the aviation industry will be affected by Brexit.

Howard focused his discussion on what needs to happen for a smooth transition to ensure minimal disruption to supply chains, transport of people and goods, and global regulations. He explained the interesting challenges Brexit poses, especially for the airline industry, in which travel plans are made at least one year in advance. Aviation is extremely engaged in Brexit discussions. Separate agreements between the UK and US and the UK and the EU will need to be negotiated to ensure people and goods can continue to fly across borders. Brexit poses both political and philosophical challenges.

Currently there is still a great deal of uncertainty. Brexit is unchartered territory, and the UK exit from the EU is forcing the world to rethink future global relationships. Europe will be redefined, and leaders will need to focus on the important relationships between trade groups and companies of all sizes, including a special focus on small and medium sized enterprises. Despite the current ambiguity of the situation, attendees were actively engaged in the seminar, and asked a series of questions after the panelists’ presentations. As Brexit continues to evolve, it is clear that creativity, time, trust, and strong leadership are the way forward.

The BABCPHL extends special thanks to event sponsors without whom this program would not have been possible: 1313 Innovation, American Airlines, Atlantic Council, and McConnell Johnson Real Estate.

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Cybersecurity – Protecting the Crown Jewels of Your Business

On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, the BABCPHL hosted a cybersecurity seminar outlining the threat landscape; presenting the mitigation responses; and discussing the complexities of the topic. Technology is both a blessing and a curse, and cyber criminals do not need visas or passports to travel between countries.  Cybercrime permeates the globe, and humans are the weak link.  Social engineering plays a big role in the cybercrime equation.  More than 50 people from the British, French, German and Italian Chambers gathered for this dynamic discussion at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

Dr. Robert D’Ovidio, Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology and Justice Studies and an Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel University, framed and introduced the subject matter. “Online safety is a very complex problem, and it is highlighted by the diversity of the people engaged in using the very technology.”  Rob explained no comprehensive solution exists to protect businesses and people.  Companies and individuals must have responsible environments and promote dialogue about conscientious behaviors.  He set the stage for each of the panelists to discuss what constitutes a breach notification; the importance of prevention plans and education; the current risks; and the variation of laws and standards depending upon jurisdiction.  To kick things off, Rob asked Larry Hershman, Partner at Black Cipher Security to lead the audience through a two minute split screen user/hacker example.  Watching silently, attendees squirmed and blood pressures rose.  The dramatic hacking demo showed just how sneaky a cybercriminal can be, posing as a helpful security measure update, when in fact they are anything but that.  Hackers often rely on social engineering to gain access to valuable data without the compromised individual ever even knowing their information was breached.  This visual example showed how easy, quick, and simple a cyberattack can be executed.

In addition to walking the audience through the hacking demo, Larry talked about the types of cyber threats that are currently out there. He discussed what can be done to mitigate risk, and how to manage complex digital forensic and data breach investigations. Mitigation includes five steps (1) determining if what happened is an incident or a breach; (2) containing it; (3) eradicating it; (4) restoring information; and (5) comprehending lessons learned. Larry also focused his discussion on personally identifiable information (PII); how it is regulated; and the latest tools and techniques available to protect data.

Dan Castle, Information Protection Director at Cigna focused on identity and access management (IAM) – ensuring the right people have the right access to the right systems for the right reasons at the right time. Dan explained IAM is a core business function, not a technical one.  Entitlements are generally grouped into roles, and individuals are not granted entitlements directly, but rather through roles.  These roles need to be managed as employees join, move within, or leave an organization.  The challenge of being globally consistent while also regionally respective is tricky to navigate.  Dan described the area of IAM as complex in nature.  Much depends upon how well educated the users are; who has access to what information; and how data is stored and secured. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has to be the way forward.

Michael Davis, Principal at Ernst & Young LLP focuses his practice on integrating cyber solutions and controls into business processes and technical operations for life sciences and health care industry clients. Michael laid the groundwork for his discussion by explaining how companies need to start by identifying what is most important to protect, and understanding how regulations and compliance mandates are addressing cyber risk.  Michael stated, “People are the weakest link.  Attackers, while sophisticated, are lazy.  They go for the easiest targets.”  The financial services industry, buying and selling credit card information for example, used to be the easiest group to hit.  Currently, the health care industry is a soft target.

Criminals target an individual within an organization to stealthily capture third party information, and then use very basic internet research skills to obtain additional details about a person. For example, cyber attackers steal personal information such as name, social security number, email and mailing addresses, etc. and then do a comprehensive search of social media and other sites where people willingly give away their identity, including things like children’s and pet’s names, to round out a person’s identity.  If an individual’s personal healthcare record falls into the wrong hands, the aforementioned personal data isn’t the only information obtained.  Now medical issues, such as diseases, medications taken, etc. are in the hands of an unauthorized individual.  A breach can suddenly turn into a question of life and death if a medical record is altered, and a wrong prescription is filled, and administered.

Presenters provided extremely valuable information, and painted a truly alarming picture of the threatening landscape we all traverse on a daily basis. Cybersecurity is undoubtedly a global top of mind issue affecting individuals, companies of all sizes, and every industry sector throughout the world – no one is exempt.  Before inviting audience questions and answers, Rob ended the presentation portion of the seminar by asking each panelist what keeps them up at night.  Michael said the speed at which everyday life is being integrated with technology.  Dan said the internet of things – technology creating a trail.  And Larry said the lack of awareness and understanding that everyone is a target.  Every person in the room left the seminar with the clear realization that cybersecurity must be at the forefront of business practices as modern technology continues to evolve and develop.

The BABCPHL extends special thanks to event sponsors without whom this program would not have been possible: Black Cipher Security, Cigna, Ernst & Young LLP, and the Welsh Government.

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Click here to read E&Y’s Article: When Privacy is Not Something to Keep Quiet About


New British American Business Council head hopes to enhance local ties with the U.K.

After spending much of his career handling cross-border deals, Morgan Lewis & Bockius partner Michael Pedrick has been appointed president of the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (BABCPHL).

Pedrick, a founding member of the organization, will serve a two year term. During that time, he said he hopes to provide key programming for local businesses on hot topics such as Brexit while also spreading the organization’s reach.

Pedrick, a New Orleans native, joined Morgan Lewis in 1988 and represents borrowers in financing transactions and corporate clients in strategic acquisitions and internal restructuring. Many of his transactions are cross-border in nature, with a good number of clients either emanating from the United Kingdom or U.S companies seeking to do business there.

Pedrick has been involved for about 15 years with BABCPHL, which is one of 22 chapters in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. He said membership includes over 250 companies and individuals that have businesses in the region.

There are “club level” members offered by invite only to companies interested in a more committed relationship with the organization. They include law firms Drinker Biddle & Reath, Duane Morris, Morgan Lewis and Pepper Hamilton, TD and HSBC banks, American Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways, Cigna and all of the Big Four accounting firms.

Pedrick said he met with Philadelphia Commerce Director Harold Epps and the department’s Director of International Investment, Lauren Swartz, to discuss how he can work with them to facilitate more business activity with U.K entities.

“I met with them so if they have something that requires recruiting a U.K. business, we will work with the city and state to help those businesses understand the atmosphere here,” Pedrick said.

The U.K. is the fourth-largest trade partner with Pennsylvania, behind Canada, Mexico and China — a statistic that mirrors many other states. Pedrick said the biggest industry sector in the U.K. is chemicals and two-thirds of the businesses are small or midsized.

“The sectors really match up well with Philadelphia and its strengths,” Pedrick said. “Life sciences, education, chemicals. It’s very tech oriented.”

Swartz said the U.K. is also the foreign country with the largest number of companies and employees in this region. drug companies GlaxoSmithKline and Adaptimmune both have significant operations in Greater Philadelphia.

More recently, Frank Recruitment Group, a British staffing firm focused on tech jobs, signed a five-year lease last year to take a 21,300-square-foot office at 1801 Market St. and said this summer that it was nearly halfway toward meeting its goal of creating 250 local jobs.

U.K. sandwich chain Pret A Manger expanded into Philadelphia for the first time this summer when it opened two locations at the University of Pennsylvania.

The latest entry into the market is Shout Digital, a digital marketing firm founded in 2009 that recently opened offices in One Liberty Place.

There are also U.S. companies expanding into the U.K. market. In May, Center City-based startup Curalate, which creates software that links brands’ online visual content to points of purchase, announced it’s officially launched a U.K. arm to take advantage of the growing demand it is experiencing in Europe.

At Philly Tech Week last May, BABCPHL held its annual “Uber and Out” discussion on tech in the region and how U.K. businesses play a role in its growth.

BABCPHL has two events coming up in the coming weeks. One deals with global cyber security issues and the other explores the future economic relationship between the EU and the UK, including strategic direction; steps toward Brexit; legal implications; and employment and data protection/privacy laws.

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President’s Letter

Dear BABCPHL Members and Friends,

I am honored to officially communicate with you for the first time as President of the BABCPHL. While I have served in various Executive Committee roles and on the Board of Directors for more than a decade, I am pleased to assume this new leadership position.

BABCPHL closed the books on an excellent fiscal year at the end of June. Our second quarter century of operations and success in the region is well underway. But the key to that continuing success is making sure the BABCPHL is providing value to you, its members. We want to hear from you! Please tell us how we can best serve you and the interests of your company. Is there a pressing issue or topic related to UK-business you would like us to present? Are you a member and would like an opportunity to participate more fully? Are you are not currently a member and might like to join but don’t know the next steps? Contact us with questions or comments: www.babcphl.com

While the summer is often a quiet time, the BABCPHL was very productive. We launched our new logo, published our annual membership directory, hosted a few programs, and planned our new fiscal year activities. Upcoming BABCPHL events include seminars about pertinent subjects such as cybersecurity and Brexit, and of course, our signature holiday program. Read on to learn more.

I look forward to working with you to promote the trade and commercial relationship between the Greater Philadelphia region and the UK.
Sincerely,

Michael J. Pedrick
President, British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia


Summer 2017 International Business Networking Reception

Summer 2017 International Business Networking Reception

On Wednesday, July 26, 2017 the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (BABCPHL) partnered with the Asian, French, German, Hispanic, Irish, Israeli, Italian, Russian, Norwegian, and Swedish American Chambers of Commerce for the Seventh Annual Summer International Business Networking Reception. Nearly 300 global business executives gathered at the National Museum of Jewish History for this annual meeting of the who’s who of international relations in the Greater Philadelphia region.  Councilman At-Large, David Oh was the featured speaker.

Councilman Oh began his remarks by referencing a recent injury he had suffered when returning to his Philadelphia home after a long night at work. He spoke about motivation and spirit, and how he was inspired to return home from the hospital after seeing his children’s reaction to his injury.  He then related this to the City of Philadelphia, and how the region has recently enhanced its international trade presence.  Councilman Oh credited this to the cutting-edge businesses, organizations like the International Chambers of Commerce, and people within the City of Philadelphia, and explained how they are the driving force of advancement.  He acknowledged the twelve participating Chambers, and noted organizations like these are what stimulate the Mayor’s Office to become a larger player in the international business arena.  Councilman Oh closed by thanking all in attendance, and offered an invitation into his office for anyone with any suggestions or ideas they may have, adding, “if you do not push us, we will not come together.”

Special thanks to the Chilean Chamber for organizing such an important program for the international business community and to event sponsors: Aramark, DRS, Fox Center for International Business & Research, Klasko Immigration Law Partners, Santander, and Wouch Maloney & Co. LLP.

View photos HERE.

 


Board Member Appreciation & Membership Development Dinner

On Monday, June 12, 2017 the BABC of Greater Philadelphia hosted a by invitation only, end of year Board Member appreciation and membership development dinner, featuring two UK Government officials as the keynote speakers. Freya Jackson, Counsellor, Head of Global and Economic Policy Group at the British Embassy in Washington, DC and Matt James, Managing Director, Commercial, and Acting Director USA for the Department for International Trade traveled to Philadelphia to discuss the current climate for UK/US trade.  More than 65 attendees enjoyed an active networking reception and informative evening program in the iconic Lincoln Memorial room at The Union League of Philadelphia.

Rhett Workman, Chairman of the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia and Managing Director of Government and Airport Affairs for American Airlines welcomed guests and introduced the speakers. He thanked the entire Board of Directors for another strong twelve months, and for dedicating their time and resources to the BABC.  Rhett talked about our recent 25th anniversary, and announced the unveiling our new brand which will go-live at the official start of our new fiscal year on July 1, 2017.  Rhett explained, while we are launching a more modern look to our logo, our mission will remain the same – to serve British businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region, including, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and the State of Delaware by focusing on what we do best – providing our members with valuable and timely programs and events; business development and networking opportunities; and thought leadership about current events and government regulations that affect transatlantic business.

The US and the UK are each other’s largest investors – together we have approximately $1 trillion invested in each other’s economies. There is no more important time than today to share information, create valuable business relationships, and learn current trends that will affect the transatlantic relationship.  The BABC is the go to organization to help member companies improve and grow business by introducing them to clients, customers and service providers. Rhett explained we could not do this without the dedication of our key stakeholders, our diverse group of Club Level members, representing a myriad of industry sectors as well as our partners in the British Embassy, the Consulate, and the Department for International Trade (referred to as “DIT”).  Collaborating with the UK Government throughout the year bolsters regional transatlantic business development and commerce, and enables us to better serve our members.  The BABC is grateful to the UK Government for their partnership and thanked their alignment with us in Philadelphia.

Rhett introduced Freya Jackson who joined the Embassy team in July 2016, just shortly after UK citizens cast the momentous vote to exit the European Union. Freya leads the Embassy’s teams covering a wide range of issues including trade, investment and economic policy, environment and energy, transport and science, research and innovation.  Prior to joining the Embassy, for the past three years Freya led the Foreign Policy Team in the National Security Secretariat of the UK’s Cabinet Office (NSC equivalent).  Before that she was the Senior Foreign Policy Adviser during the UK’s Presidency of the G8 in 2012, and from 2007 to 2011, Freya led the Climate Change and Global Economy negotiating team in the UK’s Mission to the United Nations in New York.  Prior to that, Freya worked as the Head of Nuclear & Missile Defense Team for the Security Policy Department, and at various assignments with the FCO across the globe including Buenos Aires, Casablanca, and Mumbai.  Freya received her BSc Honors in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia and her Master of Sciences from Kings College, London.

During dinner, Freya spoke about the unpredictability of government affairs during the past year – the momentous Brexit vote, the US election, and the snap UK election. No one could have imagined the surprises in store for us and the world.  While the elephant in the room – Brexit – was unavoidable, Freya focused her discussion on four main facts:

  1. The UK and US political relationship is as robust as it has ever been;
  2. The UK and US trade relationship is stronger than ever – the two countries are each other’s largest trading partners and employers;
  3. The UK economy is sound and growing, and employment is up – it is the highest rated economy for doing business; and
  4. The UK is a great place to live and to conduct business.

While there are definitely uncertainties, two fundamentals hold true – the strong relationship and economic ties between the two counties.

Freya introduced Matt, the Commercial Director at the Department for International Trade, a post that he has held since the department was created in 2016. Matt is currently covering for the Director of DIT USA, leading a dynamic team who assist British companies exporting to the US, and work with US companies looking to invest their business in the UK. Matt joined the UK civil service in 1995, and over the last 20 years has held roles as Commercial Director in the Cabinet Office, the National Health Service and Department for Work and Pensions. He is a qualified commercial mediator and specializes in complex deal-making and negotiation, having led on many of the UK Government’s most challenging commercial issues.  Matt has a PhD from Bath University in organizational identity, narrative and power, and an MBA and Bachelor’s degree in music. He works and lives in London, and was honored to travel to Philadelphia as his first official visit outside of New York City.  Matt echoed Freya’s comments regarding the four truths about the UK economy and the relationship with the US.  He also spoke to the important ties between DIT and the BABC of Greater Philadelphia.  DIT is grateful to the BABC for our partnership and the valuable work we do to promote trade and commercial links between the two regions.

Rhett thanked Matt and Freya for their kind words and reassuring commentary about the current state of affairs. “We are undoubtedly living in tumultuous times, but one thing is sure – the relationship the US shares with the UK is strong and will become more so as we develop strategies and form partnerships to navigate the changing landscape.”  Rhett explained the BABC of Greater Philadelphia is here to help our members do just that – navigate the evolving business climate.  Now that we have entered our second quarter century of operations in this region, we thought it was the perfect time to rebrand.  Rhett introduced attendees to Ian Cross, BABC Vice President of Marketing & Communications.  Ian is a creative entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience growing and managing start-ups in technology, entertainment and hospitality.  He is CEO and a co-founder of I-SITE – an award-winning Interactive Design and Technology firm specializing in web and mobile solutions for civic initiatives, business, healthcare and entertainment.  Ian has been an active member on the BABC Board of Directors since the early 2000s, and has served as Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the past ten years.  He helped the BABC transition from a traditional chamber of commerce model to one of the first Chapters to have an active website and a presence in social media.  He has been the ever present force leading the BABC through advances in technology, making it easier for us to communicate with members, share information, and stay connected with our counterparts throughout the world.

Ian opened his remarks with the definition of “rebrand.” “We all know what a ‘rebrand’ is – changing the way an organization, company or product is seen by the public or its customers.”  He explained the BABC VIP dinner was a soft launch pad for the new BABC logo.  The design will officially go live to the general public by July 1 – the start of our new fiscal year.

The BABC has spent the past quarter century positioning itself as the go to organization for UK business-related matters. That holds true – and will remain even more so as the two nations navigate the rapidly changing global landscape.  Our new logo communicates: forward motion/moving into the future; partnership between the two countries; transatlantic travel; growth, speed, prosperity, connections, and the geographies we represent.  The new logo is contemporary, clean and clear.  The BABC of Greater Philadelphia’s brand speaks to members’ trust in us to help maximize their business potential.  The BABC looks forward to helping members create valuable relationships on both sides of the Atlantic.

Before the evening concluded Ian encouraged everyone to stay connected with us, visit our website, follow us on social media for current BABCPHL news, and attend our upcoming events. He then drew a winning business card for two complimentary tickets to our next program, thanked people for attending the dinner, and reminded everyone to pick-up their branded BABC gifts before departing.

The BABC fiscal year is ending on a high note. Optimism is in the air and as Matt so clearly stated, while there is uncertainly, and transition is afoot, the UK will ensure Brexit is a success as a result of partnerships with the BABC and other organizations.  We would like to extend sincere thanks to our current members for their support throughout the fiscal year.  If you are not a member of the BABC of Greater Philadelphia we hope you will become one.  We look forward to upholding our promise to serve you.

Click here for photos.


2016 President’s Letter

 

Dear BABC Members and Friends,

Happy New Year! As they say in my trade, I hope 2016 is off to a flying start!  I am honored to communicate with you early this calendar year, and introduce myself as the new BABC Chairman.  I have big shoes to fill as I take over from Howard Silverstone who recently concluded his second stint as President.  Join me in thanking Howard for his incredible dedication in serving the BABC not only as President on two separate occasions, but as an active Board Member involved in various Vice Presidency and Committee roles ensuring we continue to meet our mission and success in all that we do.  There is no other more dedicated individual than Howard.  His creativity, wit and good humor enabled us to achieve our goals and keep our members engaged.  Fortunately for us, Howard will continue to work with the BABC and serve as Programs & Events Chairman.

2016 is an exciting year for the BABC and the region. The new calendar year beckons various BABC initiatives including two days of volunteer service projects with the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.;  a meeting with David O’Sullivan, European Union Ambassador to the United States to discuss the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership – the world’s largest free trade agreement; the BABC’s 5th annual young professionals group panel discussion – Immigration & Integration, Who Does it Better, the EU or the US?; and the BABC’s 25th anniversary celebration taking place in the American Airlines hangar at Philadelphia International Airport, highlighting the region as a hub for international business exchange.

I hope you will take the time to participate in these activities and to help us spread the word about the BABC. Please visit our website and follow us on social media for constant updates and to register for upcoming programs.

Thank you,

Rhett Signature

 

Rhett D. Workman

President, British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia


A World Class Region – British Business, Arts & Culture – Thursday, December 10, 2015

 On Thursday, December 10, 2015, the British American Business Council (BABC) of Greater Philadelphia hosted the 2015 Annual Holiday Luncheon: A World Class Region – British Business, Arts & Culture featuring the Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia and Derick Dreher, Ph.D. John C. Haas Director, The Rosenbach.  Approximately 175 people gathered for the BABC’s signature event in the Grand Ballroom of The Ritz Carlton, Philadelphia.  Danny Lopez, HM Consul General & Director General, Trade & Investment USA joined the event to hand deliver and present Mayor Nutter with a special recognition letter from the UK government for his remarkable partnership in building UK/Philadelphia business ties during his two term tenure.  Danny called on all attendees to stand and give Mayor Nutter the proper recognition as he made his way to the podium.  The entire room was on their feet, donning colorful paper Christmas crowns and cheering the BABC’s special guest.

When our star studded Mayor took the stage he spoke at length about international business ties between the UK and Philadelphia; the Philadelphia/London trade mission; and emotionally reflected about his eight years in office. His remarks were informative, engaging and touching.  As a result of the work that Mayor Nutter and his administration have completed, Philadelphia has been recognized as one of the greatest international City’s in the world.  Historic, recent and upcoming activities will undoubtedly continue to buoy Philadelphia’s reputation as a leading player in global politics, economics and social issues.

Derick spoke about our creative connections to the UK, specifically Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript, for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which was flown in from London and temporarily part of a special current exhibition.  In keeping with our holiday lunch theme, in honor of Alice’s 150th anniversary and the BABC’s 25th anniversary we were granted special permission by Penguin Random House London to reprint a special anniversary limited edition of the book.  One copy was gifted to each attendee and Mayor Nutter, Derick and Danny received hard copy, leather bound, embossed books.  This exclusive holiday gift was made possible by the generous sponsorship of BABC Club Level member Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP.

The BABC holiday program also included remarks from headline sponsors: Rhett Workman, Managing Director, Government & Airport Affairs, American Airlines who introduced Derick Dreher, and discussed the Airlines’ connection to The Rosenbach and the Alice manuscript; Nick Lotz, Senior Vice President, Large Corporates, HSBC Bank USA, N.A. who talked about the milestone year for the BABC, the Bank and the theme of the luncheon – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; and Michael Pedrick, Partner, Business & Finance, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, introduced Danny Lopez, and thanked the Consul for support and partnership.  BABC President, Howard Silverstone was the Master of Ceremonies.  He kept attendees on their toes by spicing up the entire program with his clever humor.  Howard candidly discussed his sadness as his second stint as BABC President was coming to an end at the end of the month.  Howard has been actively involved in the BABC Board of Directors for approximately two decades.  As a Brit, who has made the region his home, he has always enjoyed dedicating time to the BABC and is deeply committed to the Organization.  Howard promised he was leaving members in good hands with the announcement of his successor, Rhett Workman who will assume the role on January 1, 2016.

The program concluded with more than two dozen raffle prizes given to lucky business card draw winners from local retailers, restaurants, hotels and sports teams, including of a pair of round trip Aadvantage miles for a pair of round trip, Business Class tickets on American Airlines’ non-stop service from Philadelphia International Airport to London, England.

Special thanks to our lead sponsors HSBC Bank USA N.A. and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP; the exclusive airline sponsor American Airlines; premium sponsors PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and UK Trade & Investment; and to all of our corporate table supporters for their generous support.

To view pictures from the event click here.

 

 

 

 

 


Fashion Forward – Executive Fundraiser, Whiskey Tasting & Networking Event – Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On Wednesday, November 4, 2015, the BABC of Greater Philadelphia hosted an international fashion event at the world renowned, iconic clothier, Boyds Philadelphia. Attendees spent an unforgettable evening in the magnificent, five story building raising money for an important local charity. Guests enhanced valuable business connections while shopping for global designer apparel, shoes and bags, and enjoyed a whiskey tasting sponsored by Edrington Group and food by the Victoria Freehouse. Everyone received a special shopping discount, and 100% of Chamber net ticket sales revenue and 5% of Boyds’ total retail sales from the evening were donated to The Ronald McDonald House. The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House supports families of seriously ill children by creating a community of comfort and hope. Our event donation went toward supporting families traveling from outside of the United States for treatment. We are proud to report a donation amount of more than $2,500.

Howard Silverstone, BABC President welcomed guests and introduced Lawrence Jacobson, Director of Leadership Giving, Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. Lawrence presented a short story of the first House That Love Built in Philadelphia, and discussed why the House is uniquely suited to serve families.  Currently, more than 2,000 families are served annually, and there are plans to expand during the next few years.  Lawrence explained how the House is funded and discussed ways people can help from volunteering to cook meals to hosting, listening, nurturing, or by simply being there and helping out in any way they can.

After Lawrence talked about the House and how it serves children and their families who need support while fighting life threatening illness at area hospitals, Alex Gushner, the fourth generation family member to be involved in managing Boyds Philadelphia spoke on behalf of the business. Alex provided a brief history of Boyds’ 75 years of operation and the family’s commitment to serving and supporting the local community.

Boyds, the newest BABC Club Level member company, is regarded as one of the world’s greatest clothing stores. The Store is recognized for providing customers with exclusive merchandise, and offering one of the country’s largest selections of fine men’s and women’s designer fashions.  Alex concluded the speaking portion of the evening by thanking everyone for attending and encouraging attendees to shop to support a great cause – The Ronald McDonald House.

As guests departed each person was presented with a Boyds gift bag with goodies from the evening.

Special thanks to Boyds Philadelphia for providing the venue; the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce for partnering with us on this program and for providing the wine; Edrington Group for hosting the whiskey tasting; and Peroni for donating the beer.

Click here to view photos from the event.


Global Mobility – How To Ensure A Win-Win for Employer and Employee – Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, the BABC of Greater Philadelphia presented a global mobility seminar at Duane Morris’ Philadelphia office. Attendees represented a diverse cross section of executives operating across various industry sectors. Duane Morris graciously hosted the breakfast meeting and Jonathan Segal, a Partner with the Firm in the Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group, and the managing principal of the Duane Morris Institute (DMi), seamlessly led presenters through a discussion about the tax, healthcare benefits, and legal aspects of moving employees outside of their home offices.

Tim Lung, Partner in KPMG’s Global Mobility Services practice group provided a tax overview of US taxation, specifically for outbound expats and inbound inpats. He talked about different levels of tax and various tax developments. Tim also discussed global mobility trends, policies, types of assignments, and the integration with talent management strategies. Lastly, Tim directed people to KPMG’s Global Assignments Policies and Practices survey distributed during the event.

Jeffrey Walsh, a Senior New Business Manager in the Eastern Region for Cigna Global Health Benefits focused his presentation on trends in the healthcare space. Healthcare reform is top of mind for many US and Global HR directors, and Jeff explained how this reform has affected expatriates and business travelers. He also addressed the rise of corporate short term assignees and business travelers, and the increasing need for employers to cover them. Jeff provided insight about what businesses are doing with respect to their approaches to benefit offerings (centralization vs. regional approach) in terms offering benefits to their expatriates and business travelers. He also touched on compliance issues, US healthcare, and Obama Care.

Elena Cooper, Partner from Duane Morris London flew in for the seminar. Elena and Johnathan volleyed back and forth about the legal differences between UK and US employment law. Elena provided attendees with clear examples of how laws vary between the US and the UK. Both countries may speak the same language but the words used to describe or to refer to different scenarios, time frames, and levels of representation can be dramatically different. Their discussion included various legal differences between the US and the UK, which law applies, is there a double application, etc.

Each panelist could have spoken at much greater length about their area of expertise. Unfortunately the three main topics addressed during the seminar were limited due to the brief time frame of the program. CLE and CPE credits were offered. Speakers answered questions throughout the program and remained long after to speak individually with attendees.

Special thanks to sponsors: Cigna, Duane Morris LLP and KPMG LLP.

Click here for link to moderator and presenter bios.

View photos here

 

 

 

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • American Airlines
  • Bartlett
  • Cigna
  • Deloitte
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Duane Morris
  • Ernst & Young
  • HSBC
  • KPMG
  • McConnell Johnson Real Estate
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Law Firm of Pepper Hamilton
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • TD Bank
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic