News

Board Member Appreciation & Membership Development Dinner

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.

Leave a Reply

↑ back to top


The BABCGP 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