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The Future of Business Immigration


The Future of Business Immigration

with Jonathan Grode, Esq., U.S. Practice Director
Green and Spiegel LLC, Immigration Law Firm
and Ralf D. Wiedemann, Esq., Of Counsel to
Green and Spiegel LLC and German Honorary Consul

REGISTER HERE

With the new administration’s policy changes to visa qualifications, there is also the potential for significant changes to business immigration.

This program led by Jonathan Grode, Esq., U.S. Practice Director for Green and Spiegel LLC and Adjunct Professor of Law at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, will cover in detail the potential changes and how they will affect businesses that employ foreign nationals. Honorary Consul of Germany Ralf D. Wiedemann, Esq. will also speak about U.S. immigration considerations particular to European companies.

Hosted by:
The German American Chamber of Commerce & Green and Spiegel

Location:
The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
200 South Broad Street #700, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Time:
Friday, October 27th, 2017
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

 Target Audience:
Employers of International Workers
Human Resources Professionals
International Business Owners, CEO’s, COO’s
Foreign Nationals Employed in the U.S. or Seeking Employment in the U.S.

 Registration Fee:
Members: $45
Non-Members: $65

 Lunch is included with admission

Hosted By

Partners

   

 


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.

Click here for photos


Allied Integrated Marketing – Goodbye Christopher Robin Screening

The BABCPHL and Allied Integrated Marketing welcomes you to join us for a screening of Fox Searchlight’s new film, GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN. The screening will be held on Monday, October 16th at 7:30 PM at Ritz East. We will provide 50 tickets on a first come, first serve basis.

REGISTER HERE

Opens in Philadelphia October 20th

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly Macdonald, Will Tilston

Directed by: Simon Curtis

Written by: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Simon Vaughan

Produced by: Damian Jones, Steve Christian  

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin (Will TIlston), whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne (Margot Robbie), and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?

 

 

 


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.

Click here to view photos

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


September 13- Premiership Rugby Happy Hour

Join us for a Networking Happy Hour to celebrate the upcoming Premiership Rugby American Series match coming to Philadelphia!

When: September 13, 2017
Time: 6:15 pm- 8:15 PM
Where: Pyramid Club – inside BNY Mellon Center
1735 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103


September 5-16, 2017: Friends of the British Council – Premiership Rugby

BABCPHL member Friends of the British Council is supporting a new initiative in partnership with Premiership Rugby, AEG, and NBC Sports in the Greater Philadelphia region to bring innovative community outreach and youth development programing to the United States. This is an extension of a global partnership co-created and launched internationally by the British Council and Premiership Rugby in 2011, and is already achieving tremendous impact, supporting the growth of the game and its associated social values around the world. The initiative includes capacity-building programs for coaches, clubs, players and their local communities designed to bring them together, develop practical skills, and to inspire them to build sustainable pathways to introduce the sport and the power of its values to change lives.

A series of rugby player and coach clinics will be held in New Jersey (September 5 & 6), Philadelphia (September 7 & 11) and Washington DC (September 10). The players’ clinics are open to male and female participants aged 15-24. From these clinics, 20 players and 10 coaches will be selected to attend an amazing overseas rugby experience with Premiership Rugby in England next year.

Rugby players and coaches are invited to attend these clinics in Philadelphia!

September 7th Player Clinic at Penn Park located at 3000 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 from

5​:0​0-​8​:0​0 PM.

September 11th Coach Clinic at 1101 First Avenue, Media, PA 19063 from 6:30-9:00 PM.

During the week of September 11-15, several outreach events will be planned for schools and colleges, together with networking opportunities for the community in Philadelphia.

To get involved in these activities or find out more information, updates will be posted on the website:

http://www.premiershiprugby.com/usa.

To cap off the week of rugby activities in the Greater Philadelphia region, Premiership Rugby is hosting a match, Newcastle Falcons vs. Saracens on September 16, 2017, at Talen Energy Stadium, home of BABCPHL member company, Philadelphia Union.

Also on September 16th a Flag Rugby tournament for boys & girls in grades 2-8 will take place on the outside fields of Talen Energy Stadium from 1:00-3:00pm, alongside a Premiership VIP Clinic for selected players. Bring your kids to this wonderful event by contacting Angela Johnson at ajohnson.aeg@gmail.com to sign-up!

The curtain-raiser match inside Talen Energy Stadium at 2:30PM is between the famous Oxford University Rugby Club from England and the USA Collegiate All-Americans. This is followed by the Newcastle Falcons vs. Saracens at 5:00PM.

All BABCPHL members will receive 20% discount on match day tickets using the promo code: FOBCRUGBY17. Click here to buy tickets! Type the promo code on the right-hand side of the website where it says “Enter Promo Code” then click “GO”.

ABOUT

Friends of the British Council’s mission is to collaborate with global corporations, foundations, organizations and individuals, identifying synergies, sharing knowledge, leveraging resources and contributing financially to British Council programs. Their goal is to customize and add value to these partnerships and projects, resulting in meaningful relationships between the British Council and its key stakeholders.  The British Council works in 110 countries touching 600 million lives each year through programs in education, the arts, English, sports, skills, and community development. They engage all levels of society, including civil and community leaders, influencers, educators, scientists, artists, business leaders, and the media, working extensively with marginalized and vulnerable populations. The British Council is also involved with secondary and higher education sectors and with young people beginning their careers.

 


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

REGISTER HERE

This seminar will explore 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.

Freya Jackson, the Counsellor and Head of the Global and Economic Policy Group at the British Embassy in Washington, DC will be the keynote speaker. Emanuel Adam, Director of Policy and Trade at BritishAmerican Business will moderate the discussion.

Speaker Biographies (Confirmed Speakers)

DATE: Thursday, October 5, 2017

TIME: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

LOCATION:  The Hercules Plaza

1313 Market Street

Wilmington, Delaware 19801

Corporate Sponsors

 

Partners

asdfa

 

 

 

 


2017 Signature Annual Holiday Luncheon

REGISTER HERE

The Honorable Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia will be our special guest and will introduce our keynote speaker, the new UK Consul General, Antony Phillipson. Join us for cocktail hour and a formal sit-down lunch, including a very special Bushmills whiskey tasting provided by Almac Group. Traditional British “Christmas Crackers” will be popped, crowns will be donned, and valuable holiday raffle gifts will be given away, including two United Airlines Roundtrip Polaris Business Class Tickets to/from US48, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, and Europe. Come one come all to celebrate international business and ring in the holiday season! A portion of revenue will be donated to the Philadelphia Youth Network to benefit the WorkReady summer program.

DATE: Thursday, December 7, 2017

TIME: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

 •11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Business Networking Reception

 •12:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Luncheon Program

  LOCATION: The Ritz Carlton, Philadelphia, PA

Lead Sponsors:

 

Exclusive Airline Sponsor:

Premium Sponsors:

Corporate Table Supporters (To Date):

  • American Airlines (2)
  • Cigna
  • Duane Morris LLP
  • McConnell Johnson Real Estate LLC
  • Pepper Hamilton LLP
  • TD Securities USA LLC
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Welsh Government

Raffle & Gift Donors (To Date)

  • AKA: Rittenhouse Square
  • The Arden
  • The Balvenie
  • Bellevue Sporting Club
  • The British Chip Shop
  • Dr. Martens
  • HSBC Bank USA, N.A.
  • Inis Nua Theatre Company
  • Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • The Palm
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
  • Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
  • Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Philadelphia Eagles LLC
  • Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Philadelphia Union
  • The Ritz Carlton
  • The Rosenbach
  • The Trestle Inn
  • United Airlines
  • The Victoria Freehouse

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.

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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