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Winter 2023 Human Interest Feature – Meet the 2023 BABCPHL Executive Committee

At the dawn of the new calendar year, we are thrilled to introduce our 2023 Executive Committee, a select group of eight individuals with a very active role on the BABCPHL Board of Directors. While some of our current officers have been with us since nearly the beginning, several are newer to the Group. Notwithstanding when each person joined the BABCPHL, every officer strives to promote the business relationship between the Greater Philadelphia region and the UK. Everyone brings passion and unique skills to the table. We are fortunate to have a dynamic, accomplished, entrepreneurial and creative group leading the BABCPHL! For more than three decades, the BABCPHL has grown and thrived by promoting increased trade and investment between the UK and Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and the State of Delaware. The BABCPHL Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee in particular, is the backbone of the organization, providing guidance and leadership. Individuals serving in this capacity help the BABCPHL flourish by promoting and advancing our mission.

Howard Silverstone, recently re-appointed President for a third, non-consecutive term, began his involvement with BABCPHL shortly after the organization was formed more than 30 years ago. As an expatriate British national making his way professionally and socially on this side of the Atlantic, the BABCPHL offered just what Howard wanted. Today, Howard is a Managing Director of a firm he co-founded in 2004, Forensic Resolutions. He is a CPA with more than 40 years’ experience in public and forensic accounting. Howard is also a Chartered Accountant (England and Wales) and has experience in the UK and US. As Howard’s career progressed and as the BABCPHL developed its extensive business-to-business network, the Organization became a valuable resource for Howard and also allowed him to help others build their network on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. When asked about a specific BABCPHL activity or event that stands out, Howard said, “the prior visits of members of the Royal Family have been particularly meaningful as this emphasizes our standing as a leader in promoting Transatlantic business. Also, our events with members of the British Government have also stood out as they demonstrate that the BABCPHL is a well-respected chapter.” As one of the oldest and most active British American business groups in the 22-chapter network, Howard feels fortunate to be able to forward the mission of the BABCPHL. His tenure and experience on the Executive Committee assist members in advancing their businesses through the organization, by helping them expand their contacts. 

Another long-serving British national on our Executive Committee is Ian Cross, a creative entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience growing and managing start-ups in technology, entertainment, and hospitality. Since 2008, Ian has served as the BABCPHL Vice President of Marketing & Communications. Ian joined the organization when he was considering expanding his client base to the UK. “The contacts and expertise of other members helped me evaluate the potential and pitfalls. Ultimately, I decided to stay focused on the USA, but would not have made such an informed decision without my BABC peers.” Ian, like several other Executive Committee members, maintains a decades-long active engagement with the Organization. “I just like to help however I can by bringing an entrepreneurial and creative industries perspective along with ideas for how we can use tech to grow and support our members. I love the BABC mission and see it as so much more than sharing business knowledge, there is also sharing cultural DNA. We all started out by asking ourselves the same questions and ended up joining.” Ian is also quoted as saying, “the high level of engagement throughout the membership group and board of directors builds a community of respect and consideration. Like any organization you will get out what you put in, so be prepared to be stimulated and challenged, and enjoy the social aspect of course!” 

The BABCPHL is a connector Association. The Group’s bread and butter is offering networking opportunities and creating valuable contacts between entities operating in both the public and private spheres on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Our current UK/US Government Liaison, past President, and long-serving Board Member, Neil Boyden Tanner, said, “through contacts made via the BABC, I had the opportunity to serve as a non-executive director of a British government trade and investment group, and was asked by the Scottish government to provide overviews for Scottish companies interested in expanding to the US, both of which experiences led to new business. Most recently the Mayor of London asked me to meet with a number of London based health technology startups. My colleagues and I learned a great deal from these companies and are in ongoing discussions with a few, and they also had the opportunity to ask questions and learn from a Fortune 20 US health services company. It was a win-win all around.” Neil, General Counsel for International Markets at Cigna, strongly believes in promoting Philadelphia as a global city. “Perhaps no international connection for our city is more important than that with the UK. By helping UK companies see the benefits of basing their US or North American operations in our area, we further advance Philadelphia as a global city, and in return help these key UK companies with access to: our amazing talent pool (fueled by 127 colleges and universities), a major technology hub (voted the #1 emerging startup ecosystem in the US), one of the most diverse and inclusive workforces in the US, the lowest office rental of 10 major metropolitan areas in the US, and a location within 40% of the US population. Plus, who can beat our great restaurants, sports teams, concerts, art museums, theaters, and the amazing Philadelphia Orchestra?!” Through his continued involvement with the BABCPHL, Neil hopes to help Philadelphia area companies see the benefits of partnering or expanding to the UK. “Like Philadelphia, the UK is a mature market, with high-spending consumers in an open economy, world-class talent, and a business-friendly regulatory environment. We are a great match for one another, and my goal is for the BABC to help British and Philadelphia area companies capitalize on this to both their advantage.” 

Another longstanding Board Member, prior BABCPHL President and current Vice President of Strategic Development, is Hope Krebs who became involved with the BABCPHL in the early 2000’s. Hope connected with the Organization when the annual global meeting of BABC chapters worldwide was being held in Philadelphia as a way to showcase the Philadelphia-London connection of her law firm, Duane Morris, which had just opened its London office. Hope’s current role as BABCPHL Vice President of Strategic Development is truly essential to our success as we navigate operations in the region and continue to enhance trade and commercial ties on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Hope is an International Tax Partner, Co-Chair of Duane Morris’ International Practice Group, and a past Chair of Multilaw, the global elite legal network with 10,000 members in more than 150 commercial centers around the world. Hope said, “over the years the BABC has helped advance my business in two key ways: (1) it has been a direct source of client referrals for me and my firm for BABC members (and their contacts) who need excellent legal and tax services throughout the US, in London and around the world and (2) it has connected me with BABC members whose assistance and services I have sought to supplement legal and tax services we are providing for our clients.” Hope brings extensive expertise, knowledge, and creativity to her current role on the Executive Committee. She is dedicated to helping the BABCPHL “accomplish its objectives and provide insights into the business community and networking, especially as we come out of our COVID-related cocoons.”  When asked why someone should be involved with the BABCPHL, Hope answered, “the BABC is the leader in providing effective cross-border business networking in the Philadelphia area. Our sole purpose for existing is to facilitate the connections that are designed to help your business succeed.” 

The pandemic impacted business operations throughout the world. Networking organizations like the BABCPHL will assist in the rebuilding process as everyone re-emerges. The BABCPHL was lucky to have an outstanding group of people serving in leadership roles to guide the Organization through such a challenging time. Navigating the post-pandemic world also creates obstacles. Current BABCPHL Treasurer, Jason Walker, Managing Partner for Cross Border Financial Planning USA, provides financial planning and investment advice for globally mobile individuals and families, including Americans abroad and British expatriates residing in the USA. Jason and his team, work with accountants and attorneys who provide advice to similar clientele. “By referring within our network, we ensure the client receives complementary advice from financial, tax, and legal perspectives. The BABC has been invaluable to me in developing this network locally and engaging with other member firms whose expertise and service is highly regarded in the cross-border space.” Jason is looking forward to taking on a new role in 2024 as the next BABCPHL President. When asked about what he hopes to accomplish serving on the Executive Committee, he stated, “My goal is to assist the BABC move forward in a post-pandemic world, in which the networking and the business environment has changed greatly. I want to continue the excellent work of the people who served before me, who grew the organization to become one of the most respected international networking organizations within Philadelphia. By supporting the BABC, we are supporting international trade and business between the UK ad USA, and specifically the Greater Philadelphia area.” As an expatriate British national residing and working in Philadelphia, Jason says, “there is an element of pride in helping UK businesses establish themselves in the US and supporting the local economy.” 

Another newer board member is Remy Nshimiyimana, Partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath. Remy works with domestic and foreign clients to ensure their strategic objectives in mergers and acquisitions and equity financing transactions are executed timely and effectively. Remy has been affiliated with the BABCPHL since 2019. He was born in Rwanda and emigrated to the United States in 2004. Remy’s educational portfolio includes degrees from Rowan College, The University of Pennsylvania, and Sciences Po in Paris, in addition to a Doctor of Law from The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. The opportunity to collaborate with a community that fosters transatlantic partnerships between businesses and civic leaders was something Remy sought when joining the BABCPHL. Having Remy on the Executive Committee with his vast knowledge and background is an asset to our organization. Remy brings fresh ideas and a positive outlook to the BABCPHL Executive Committee. He stated, “the pandemic brought many new opportunities for firms to think ‘outside the box.’ At Faegre Drinker, we harnessed the power of technology and collaboration to focus on innovation, efficiency and, most importantly, connecting with clients and colleagues in new and creative ways.” 

The BABCPHL thrives due to a dedicated core of involved businesses and individuals who actively serve on the Executive Committee. In 2023, this group is comprised of a dynamic group of people, some who are newer to their roles, and some who have been involved for many years. Vice President of Membership, Michael Pedrick, Partner at Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, one of the founding member Firms of the BABCPHL, is another example of someone who has supported the organization for multiple decades. Focusing primarily on finance, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate restructuring, At Morgan Lewis, Michael represents borrowers in financing transactions and corporate clients in strategic acquisitions and internal restructuring. Throughout his tenure, Michael has served as Secretary and President. He is the BABCPHL Board Member most familiar with our bylaws, legal operations, and our affiliate relationship with the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Currently, Michael stepped into the role of Vice President of Membership. As the BABCPHL returns to normal operations, membership development is a key factor for stability and growth. Michael’s extensive experience and dedication to the Organization perfectly position him to help us retain current members and to grow.  

Another integral member of the Executive Committee is Efe Izilein Sokol. In her role with the Welsh Government, Efe represents Wales’ interests in the Northeast of the United States. Efe has been an active board member for nearly ten years, and currently serves as the Programs & Events Chair. BABCPHL programing is a vital part of our organization. Events about current issues affecting the trade and commercial relationship between our region and the UK keep our members engaged, current, and connected with one another. The BABCPHL serves both public and private entities. Collaboration between for profit businesses and government groups are particularly important in the post-pandemic world. Efe is helping us vigorously reinstate our in-person programing with relevant and engaging topics. With Efe’s guidance, we can offer our members valuable strategic information and leading expert connections to help our members navigate the current UK-US business climate.  

The BABCPHL is extremely grateful to the Executive Committee and the entire Board of Directors for continuously offering their support and counsel to the organization. We are excited to embark on a new calendar year of operations in collaboration with the 2023 leadership committee. We look forward to growing membership and offering in-person events. Many thanks, and welcome to the 2023 BABCPHL Executive Committee! 

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • Almac
  • American Airlines
  • Cigna
  • Cigna
  • Duane Morris
  • EisnerAmper LLP
  • Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Fisher Phillips
  • Forensic Resolutions
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • KPMG
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Penn Medicine
  • https://www.santanderus.com/
  • Welsh Government