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Code Red for Humanity – The Race to Net Zero, A Multilateral Global Approach

On Monday, October 18, 2021 nearly 100 guests from both the public and private sectors across various industry groups gathered for the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia’s (BABCPHL) second of a series of three 30th anniversary programs. We were honored to partner with the renowned World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (WAC) to present Code Red for Humanity – The Race to Net Zero, A Multilateral Global Approach. This joint global climate change webinar was planned just a few weeks before world leaders unite for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

The BABCPHL and WAC webinar highlighted the two influential nations’ multilateral global approach race to net zero. The distinguished panel of speakers from the US and UK included leading government officials and private sector executives. Presenters highlighted the collaborative effort and a few of the many programs and services involved in the race to net zero in Philadelphia, throughout the US, the UK, and the world.

Christine Knapp, Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability moderated the discussion. The first half of the meeting featured Kate Robinson, Head of Energy and Environment, British Embassy, Washington DC, and Elliot Diringer, Advisor on Climate, Office of the Special Climate Envoy to the President of the United States. Kate presented the UK’s priorities for COP26, and discussed how the UK and US are working together to lead the race to net zero. Elliot covered the US government priorities and initiatives, and catalysts for concrete action. Both government representatives emphatically stated the need to act is now, and the bilateral goal is to raise the level of ambition for concrete action, in lead-up to, during and after COP26.

Jonathan Tench, Networks and Partnerships Change Maker, Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales opened the second half of the webinar with a presentation about how Wales is taking specific action to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants with initiatives such as the “Well-being of Future Generations Act” in tandem with collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors. Ron Becker, SVP, Operations and Sustainability, Brandywine Realty Trust addressed environment social governance strategies, and the importance of staying ahead of the curve; health and wellness certifications, and the drive throughout the real estate development industry on leveraging health and wellness initiatives as part of the “return to office” plan. Mark Hillhouse, SVP, Head of Sustainable Finance, US Commercial Banking, HSBC Bank USA talked about the role of banks in helping reduce global emissions, and working with green companies to develop and commercialize technologies and maintain a reliable supply chain. Michael Hughes, Manager, Sustainability & Responsible Business, Accenture presented some of the findings from an extensive research effort with the United Nations ahead of COP26 on CEO perspectives on climate action and sustainability. Michael reported that part of tackling the climate crisis is finding ways in which technology can be used to accelerate efforts at mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.

Global environmental health and safety is influenced and dictated by myriad factors. One hour was not nearly enough to cover the multifaceted dimensions of this vital and complicated topic. The BABCPHL is honored and grateful to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia for partnering with us on this timely and important program, and to the distinguished panel of speakers for sharing their knowledge. Many thanks to BABCPHL Crown Sponsor, the Welsh Government, and Premier Sponsor, Duane Morris LLP for supporting our 30th anniversary program series. Click here for the program guide where you will find speaker biographies; click here to view photos from the event; and click here or see below for the on demand playback.

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On the Fly Travel Update: PHL/LHR & The World

On the Fly Travel Update: PHL/LHR & The World

On Wednesday, September 22, 2021 the BABCPHL hosted a global travel update. Keynote speakers, Chellie Cameron, CEO, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and John Holland-Kaye, CEO London Heathrow (LHR) headlined the meeting, featuring a panel of experts from the travel, airline, and legal sectors, including: Emanuel Adam, Chief Policy & Trade Officer, BritishAmerican Business; Lakshman Amaranayaka, Vice President PHL, American Airlines; Neil Chernoff, Senior Vice President of Networks & Alliances, British Airways; Eric Evjen, Director, Data Analytics & Insights, Tourism Economics; Stephanie Wear, Director, Air Service Development & Cargo Services, Philadelphia International Airport; Rhett Workman, Managing Director Europe & Asia-Pacific Airport Operations, American Airlines; and Andrew Zeltner, Senior Counsel, Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP.

This timely webinar focused on the recent White House announcement to end the US travel ban in early November. The halt to the ban on travel from 33 countries, will help rejuvenate the business and leisure travel industry. The ability to travel is the result of a complex interplay of airports, airlines, governments, businesses, and most importantly the people behind it. When travel throughout the transatlantic corridor – one of the busiest and most significant passages in the world – was stopped, no one could have imagined the situation.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, people within the travel industry on both sides of the Atlantic and all over the world, worked tirelessly to protect their employees’ health and jobs, to keep things running, and to deliver to their customers. They never ceased working toward finding a solution to re-open the corridor. Partnership and collaboration throughout the pandemic have been a silver lining. Industry leaders and their teams worked tirelessly with colleagues all over the globe in ways they never imagined. Speakers discussed their reaction to the news about the US lifting the travel ban; how we arrived to this point; and what we may be able to expect through the end of this year as economies navigate the recovery process.

This webinar brought together a group of travel industry leaders, including two airports that signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in May 2021. The objective of this relationship is to increase collaboration and permit greater engagement on a range of topics and issues, geared towards reinforcing recovery from COVID-19. The MoU exemplifies an initiative that contributed to this week’s announcement that the US would follow the UK, and lift restrictions for vaccinated travelers wishing to enter the US.

The themes presenters focused on were: Monday’s announcement – what it means, and what we can expect in terms of timing, the continued challenges, etc. and what changes may be in store; how airports and airlines have and will be embracing the new travel environment, i.e. what will be needed to travel, and how people will need to provide proof; what the direct impact will be on airports, travel service providers, and on the global movement of people and cargo; and the special collaboration between PHL and LHR, and how this facilitates a comprehensive and collaborative travel roadmap between the two nations.

PHL and LHR are the backbone for international business and leisure travel, moving passengers and cargo across the Atlantic Ocean and serving as a springboard for connecting flights throughout the world. The global economy and society depend upon this invaluable route. More than 20 million people travel between the US and the UK every year, delivering valuable trade, travel and tourism opportunities. Overall trade between the UK and US is more than £200 billion per year, and the US is the UK’s top investor, representing 27% of all inward foreign direct investment.

Special thanks to our speakers, event sponsor: Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP, and partners from the: Chilean, Eurasian, French, German, Irish, and Japan American Chambers of Commerce, in addition to the Consular Corps and the World Trade Centers of Delaware and Philadelphia.

If you missed the event, click HERE for an on demand playback recording.

Click HERE for photos taken during the webinar.

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Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Business Journal
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Speaker Bios

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BABCPHL Board Member Feature – Neil Boyden Tanner

Neil Boyden Tanner serves as General Counsel for International Markets at Cigna, the global health services company. He manages all legal and compliance matters for the international businesses and manages lawyers and compliance professionals in multiple jurisdictions around the world. Previously, Neil was SVP and Chief Counsel for the U.S. businesses, responsible for all US business legal matters, and served as Secretary of the Board, responsible for all Board matters, securities law, governance matters, global subsidiary maintenance and treasury law matters.

Neil has been a member of the BABCPHL for more than two decades and remains involved for a variety of reasons – from amazing events on the latest issues to transatlantic networking, it provides valuable contacts and information that pays dividends for Cigna’s business. As a past President of the BABCPHL, Neil has said that his greatest memories include attending briefings by government leaders from both sides of the Atlantic (including former Presidents and Prime Ministers), giving presentations in the U.S. and the U.K., advising the U.K. government on various initiatives, and even dining with members of the royal family. However, his most fond memories about the BABCPHL are connected to the many relationships he has made over the years with other members, many of whom have become some of his closest professional contacts and friends.

During the pandemic, Neil has missed in-person interactions the most. Neil states, “while the BABCPHL has done an amazing job of continuing to provide important content and opportunities to network, nothing can replace in person meetings.” There have been some silver linings for Neil, though. The pandemic has given him the opportunity to spend a year at home. As an international lawyer, he travels constantly, but this year he has spent more time than ever before with his family. While this has been a wonderful experience for him, when restrictions are lifted, Neil does hope to return to the U.K. to see work colleagues, relatives, and friends and to restock his British supplies!


BABCPHL Board Member Feature – Oliver St Clair Franklin OBE

Appointed in 1998, Oliver Franklin is the 3rd British Honorary Consul serving our geography. Oliver liaises with the Consul General in New York and the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. on providing advice to businesses, solving consular issues in the region and engaging in public diplomacy. He also serves as a Senior Advisor, speaks to UK business groups about US fiscal and financial policies, and has held senior level positions at financial institutions throughout his career. Recently, Oliver was appointed to an Advisory Board at the NatWest Banking Group. He is also a senior advisor to Liminal Capital a west coast Hedge Fund using machine learning.

Oliver has been affiliated with the BABCPHL since 1999. He says, “this relationship keeps me current on US/UK bilateral business relations, which is key to being a successful Honorary Consul.” Oliver’s favorite BABCPHL event is the Signature Annual Holiday Lunch. He thoroughly enjoys the diversity of each year’s speakers, and Howard Silverstone’s running commentary! Oliver’s other memorable events include official UK delegations hosted by the BABCPHL.

In September, Oliver hopes restrictions will be lifted and he will be able to travel back to the UK. He has greatly missed friendship and physical contact with his colleagues, loved ones and even strangers. He misses the ability to get caught up in conversation between meetings about life outside of the office. The pandemic did have some upsides for Oliver, though. Oliver was grateful to have the opportunity to time-space travel. He is now able to travel anywhere (virtually) without ever leaving his home.


BABCPHL Board Member Feature – Ricki Reichard

Ricki Reichard is Sales Director of Hub and Focus Cities on the East Coast for American Airlines. Ricki recently became affiliated with the BABCPHL this past year; however, American Airlines has been an active member for more than a decade. Ricki states, “It’s an honor for American Airlines to be involved with the BABCPHL. Great work is done by the Council, and I look forward to becoming more involved.” Ricki’s favorite events so far were the small curated networking breakout sessions held earlier this year. She was happy to have the opportunity to build relationships throughout the BABCPHL network in an informal setting.

Throughout the pandemic, Ricki’s silver lining was focusing on American Airlines’ “green flag” initiative. The pandemic has affected everyone in some way or another. This has allowed American Airlines to reevaluate processes and policies to grow in equal footing as their competitors. Ricki says, “The pandemic has allowed a pit stop, yellow flag, if you will. We’ve built and are executing on strong initiatives that will allow us to outshine our competitors when back to business. Have you seen Talladega Nights? Ricky Bobby says it best… ‘if you’re not first you are last.’”

Ricki has most missed traveling. In fact, she has missed it so much, she even misses the long TSA lines! There is no doubt that the first thing Ricki will do when the pandemic restrictions are lifted is take a vacation – to somewhere far, far away from Zoom, Teams, and Webex. Today American Airlines celebrates 30 years of servicing LHR! They operated their first flight from JFK to LHR on July 1, 1991 on a Boeing 767 aircraft. Here’s to another 30 + years!


BABCPHL Board Member Feature – Svetlana Yazovskikh

As Vice President of Global Tourism for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), Svetlana Yazovskikh leads the department’s efforts to position Philadelphia as a top US travel destination to visitors from around the world. She leads the Global Tourism sales team, headquartered in Philadelphia, that promotes the destination in over 25 global markets both directly and through the network of six international offices. Her extensive career in the travel and tourism industry includes overseeing sales and marketing teams around the world and driving initiatives such as strategic planning, travel product development, destination sales, and multi-channel global marketing.

Svetlana’s first-ever live American football game experience was actually in London, when the Philadelphia Eagles played the Jacksonville Jaguars. The PHLCVB team traveled to organize an on-the-ground consumer activation during the fan fest at Wembley Stadium and then hosted key clients and media for the game.

PHLCVB has partnered with the BABCPHL for more than a decade to promote Philadelphia as a top destination for travelers from the UK. Through BABCPHL’s network and events, PHLCVB is able to keep a close pulse on the UK market’s latest developments, have access to experts from a variety of fields to understand and overcome challenges, and grow mutually beneficial local and cross-Atlantic business relationships. Svetlana always looks forward to the annual holiday luncheon event that brings together key regional partners and serves as a platform to network with friends and colleagues. Plus, if you appreciate an avalanche of puns like Svetlana does, the Howard Silverstone show is pun-ishingly brilliant!

Svetlana most misses seeing visitors from overseas on Philadelphia streets, in attractions, restaurants, beer gardens, and hotels. She misses hearing different languages inside the Visitor Center and throughout transit hubs of the airport and rail stations. She misses hearing positive tourist feedback, and even getting on the plane herself, going abroad, and speaking on behalf of the city. While it has been challenging to connect in person during the pandemic-induced lockdowns, it has become increasingly easier to connect virtually. Things that would take Svetlana months of organizing can now be set up on Zoom in just a few days at little or no cost. Beyond that, technology stepped in to fill the void for experiences too, with so many of Philadelphia attractions and venues developing virtual tours, live-streaming concerts, offering access to their digital galleries. After the pandemic restrictions are lifted, Svetlana cannot wait to go back to Russia to visit her family, enjoy some delicious homemade food, and hug her grandma. She may even add on a mountaineering adventure in Kamchatka.


BABCPHL Board Member Feature – Paul Harnick

Paul Harnick is the Global Head of Chemicals and Performance Technologies for KPMG. His main responsibility is to lead KPMG teams in supporting chemical companies by successfully responding to the challenges of an ever-changing world. He has significant experience delivering projects across M&A, strategy development and performance improvement across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, and has worked extensively with many of the world’s largest chemical companies.

Paul became affiliated with the BAB – initially with the New York and London chapters three years ago, when he was responsible for establishing KPMG UK’s US corridor program – focused on supporting transatlantic business. Paul became actively involved with the BABCPHL and joined the Board of Directors in early 2020. Since joining, Paul’s most memorable activity was the 2020 virtual holiday lunch. He was particularly grateful for the chapter’s dedication to finding an inventive way to bring everyone together during such a difficult time.

During the pandemic, Paul has most missed international travel, however, he has enjoyed be able to spend more time with his family while working from home. Once the pandemic restrictions are lifted, Paul cannot wait to take his youngest daughter to the UK to meet her grandparents for the very first time.


BABCPHL Board Member Feature – Howard Silverstone

Howard Silverstone is managing director at Forensic Resolutions and a CPA with more than 35 years’ experience in public and forensic accounting. He is also a Chartered Accountant (England and Wales) and has experience on both sides of the Atlantic. Howard is a certified fraud examiner and is Certified in Financial Forensics by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He has concentrated on forensic accounting since 1985. Howard regularly presents programs to the legal, accounting and insurance industries on the calculation of damages in financial disputes and corporate fraud.

Howard has been involved with the BABCPHL almost since day one and has been a board member for more than 25 years. He originally joined the BABCPHL for social rather than business reasons. However, as his career progressed and as the BABCPHL developed its extensive business-to-business network, the Organization became a valuable resource for Howard and allowed him to help others network on both sides of the Atlantic. Howard’s most memorable moment was being honored by Her Majesty the Queen as a Member of the British Empire in recognition of his work with the BABCPHL and going to Buckingham Palace for his investiture. The investiture was conducted by Prince William, who spoke to Howard about the BABCPHL and his role with the Group. On another occasion, Prince Charles visited Philadelphia and the BABCPHL was told he would have no time to talk to anyone individually. Everyone wore name badges, but Howard also chose to wear the Prince of Wales tie that had been presented to him a few months earlier by members of a trade mission from Wales who had visited Philadelphia. Prince Charles was leaving the event and as planned was not able to engage anyone in conversation, until he stopped, extended his hand and said, “Mr. Silverstone, what a wonderful choice of tie!” Howard’s memories with the BABCPHL are both extraordinary and a reinforcement of the positive impact we can make through affiliation with the Organization.

Like most people, Howard has missed in-person events and the ability to meet with people one-on-one or in small groups. He has missed putting on a suit and tie and heading downtown for lunches and networking events. There are some silver linings of the pandemic though. The development of Zoom technology has allowed the chance to have some interaction with others virtually, and to connect with people we never had access to before. Once pandemic restrictions are lifted, Howard is going to take his family out for dinner in town and not need to feel stressed. Then he is going to get on a plane and go back to London, where he has not been able to visit since 2018.


BABCPHL Board Member Feature – William Wright

Bill Wright is a Partner in Fisher Phillips’ Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Metro offices. He is also the Chair of the firm’s International Employment Practice Group. Bill counsels employers on various global employment, compensation and benefit issues related to employees abroad, as well as foreign nationals working in the US and the employment of US permanent residents and citizens abroad. Bill has worked with compliance issues related to hiring, retention and separation of employees in a multitude of jurisdictions. His experience with global employment issues has helped him assist clients with international operations on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

Bill has focused his practice on international employment issues for more than 20 years. He joined the BABCPHL to be able to engage and network with community members who are focused on similar topics and issues. His best memory with the BABCPHL goes back to 1997 at The Pyramid Club with a presentation on the Hong Kong Handover by a writer from the South China Morning Post.

As an avid traveler, especially to the UK, Bill really misses the opportunity to travel to the countries where his clients reside. Making connections virtually is much more challenging than in person, and he is looking forward to live events and meetings soon. Bill also acknowledges the upside to the pandemic restrictions. The virtual platform allows him greater flexibility and availability in his schedule. International travel takes up a large portion of Bill’s time so connecting with people virtually has given him more hours in his day. In addition, Bill is able to consult with his wise 15-year-old Irish Setter more frequently for advice and counsel while working from home. Bill hopes to re-engage with clients, friends and contacts in Europe and the UK as soon as the pandemic restrictions are lifted.


BABCPHL Board Member Feature – Mick Merritt

Michael, “Mick” Merritt is the Chief Operating Officer of Signature Services at Penn Medicine. He is responsible for Penn Medicine’s global strategy and programs, patient facilitated services, executive health, and membership programs. Mick has more than twenty years of experience in healthcare and academic medicine as a management consultant and health system leader.

Penn Medicine joined the BABCPHL when they launched their London initiative in late 2018. One of Mick’s main focuses is leading Penn Medicine’s UK expansion, fostering academic collaborations and access to Penn Medicine services across the Atlantic. Mick’s favorite BABCPHL memories include pre-covid networking opportunities, such as cocktail events and the Signature Annual Holiday Lunch. These activities offer Mick and his team valuable connections to other companies and organizations with ties throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region and the UK.

During the pandemic, Penn Medicine learned that much of their work can be done remotely. While this is a silver lining for several reasons, it is also disappointing. Mick most misses in real life social interaction and travel. He is very much looking forward to attending Penn Medicine’s bi-annual meeting in London in October 2021.

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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
  • HSBC
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • KPMG
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Penn Medicine
  • https://www.santanderus.com/
  • Welsh Government