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BREAKING NEWS – UK Triggers Article 50

BAB Statement – please attribute all comments to BritishAmerican Business CEO Jeffries Briginshaw

“Today, the UK Government officially notified the European Commission of its intention to withdraw from the European Union. While the majority of BritishAmerican Business members had not been in favor of leaving the EU, they remain fully committed and ambitious when it comes to their business in the UK and in the transatlantic economy.

“Our members want the UK to remain an attractive place to live, work and invest in. For that to work, it is imperative that the UK makes its relationship with the EU work for business and that Government delivers on its promise to offer the business community a clear and realistic time frame and pathway for an ambitious future relationship with the EU, post-Brexit, right from the start of the negotiations.

“We welcome the UK Government’s efforts to consult and work with the business community in this important time of change, and we look forward to increasing the level of exchange between all departments involved; particularly as the negotiations will need to address complex issues, such as talent mobility, data flows, customs and regulation/ standards. It will be critical to provide clarity on how these issues are addressed during the time of the negotiations and after in order to minimize business disruption and facilitate the transition to the post-Brexit state.

“BritishAmerican Business brings together leading British firms and major US investors, who alone stand for 46% of Foreign Direct Investment in the UK. During these uncertain times, the UK-US economic relationship is, and remains, a significant source of strength and opportunity. To further build on this transatlantic relationship, it is important that the relationship between the UK and the EU delivers a healthy business environment for both the UK and the EU”.

## ENDS ## 

For more information please contact: Tim Horan, Communications Manager
Email:; Tel: +44(0)207 2909878

Human Interest Feature: Paul McConnell

Paul McConnell: The Power of Education and Economic Development

By Alicia Talucci, BABC Coordinator

Paul McConnell is proof of the American Dream. The year is 1974, and Paul is graduating from the University of Delaware. Paul and his brother had just started their business McConnell Brothers Inc. Prior to officially starting their business, the brothers worked together in construction to make money. Upon graduation, they had enough funds to buy their first property, fix it up, and sell it.  Then they bought two more.  Within the first five years of working together, they had renovated more than 100 homes. Since then, Paul has continuously developed properties, and his development projects now total more than five million square feet.

Paul attributes his success to working hard, networking, and staying current. “My success has been based on a lot of people helping me.  I’ve been very fortunate in that regard.”  He says, to be successful in business, you must constantly work with other people that can bring something else to the table.  Developing partnerships, working well, and communicating with others is the key.  At one point in his career, he had more than 100 partnerships.  He is also constantly brainstorming new ideas, and reading as much as possible.  Currently, Paul is dedicated to education and economic development; an area he has promoted and supported during the past several years.

Paul, the current CEO of McConnell Johnson Real Estate LLC, BABC Board and Club Level Member, realizes the importance of uniting education and economic development. Paul has spent the last four decades becoming an inspiration for innovation, especially for aspiring entrepreneurs.  Paul has started several programs for economically disadvantaged youth as well as those with learning differences.  Most recently, his Alma Mater created the Paul and Linda McConnell Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative.  The goal of the initiative is to cultivate the belief that entrepreneurship can lead to a successful career, using education to develop that success, especially in youth.  “Universities are all about the future. When you see the universities connect, and then business, it just creates this great atmosphere for talent, thinking, and doing.”  The Initiative creates opportunities for students to flourish.  Today, there are more than 3,000 students from 35 countries involved in the program.

A prosperous entrepreneur, Paul was inducted into the Delaware Business Hall of Fame in October 2016. The night was not only commemorative to Paul’s success, but special to him as he was inducted with his own mentor, former President of Commerce Bank Delaware, Fred Sears.  Sears not only inspired Paul to get involved in business, but he helped finance Paul’s business.  The two met Paul’s sophomore year of college at his fraternity where Fred was a guest speaker.  As a political science major, Paul helped run Fred’s campaign when he was Director of Economic Development for the City of Wilmington.  The rest is history.

Paul has been a major influencer in both the real estate development and start-up communities in Wilmington and the surrounding areas, founding 1313 Innovation along the way. 1313 Innovation’s mission is to “cultivate an environment of partnership; providing mentoring and education that attracts and develops talent for a stronger community,” a true testament to his goals of cultivating education and economic development.

McConnell Johnson Real Estate LLC joined the BABC in 2011 because the UK is one of Delaware’s largest trading partners. “There are a lot of international businesses in Wilmington.  Flights are easy back and forth, so why not foster those relationships.”  In February 2016, the company became a Club Level Member, and is a major participant in events.  The BABC has provided valuable introductions and networking opportunities for Delawareans in an international setting, and has attracted top talent in the region to open greater opportunities.

While some consider the close proximity to Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York City a threat, Paul considers Delaware’s proximity an opportunity. “We definitely don’t want to take business from Philadelphia; we want a more collaborative effort.”  With the entertainment, restaurants, and housing boom in Philadelphia, Paul believes the import of talent for jobs and the export of talent for recreation and entertainment aspect can be a challenge.  “70% of our millennials that work here live in Philadelphia.  We have the banking and tech jobs, but we want to have both.”  Along with banking and technology jobs, Delaware provides one of the nation’s top life sciences and pharmaceutical job opportunities.  Together, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey represent more than 80% of the US pharmaceutical industry.

Along with excellent professional opportunities in finance and health sectors, among others, Delaware has been a business-oriented state for the majority of its history. The legal and tax systems are very beneficial toward corporate business.  Delaware boasts a low corporate tax rate at just 8.7%, no sales or personal property tax at the state or local level, and no inventory tax.  The business scene has always been very open to international relations.  Easy access to seaports and airports allow Wilmington’s international trade partners to continue to be successful.  “Most recently, many of the pharma companies and start-ups have come from international (companies).  DuPont was one of the first companies to build a manufacturing plant in China,” explained Paul.  The long standing culture of international partnership as well as the tax and legal advantages given to businesses in the state of Delaware has made Wilmington the ideal place for many businesses to call home.

With Brexit as well as the results of the November 2016 Election, there is a positive future. However, one thing that Paul is sure of is the effect education will have on growth of business and a bright future for the area.  “This region is poised to take off.  We have connected education to our business community.  I think we are more connected today than we have ever been, and I don’t think this election will set us back.  It may accelerate certain change, but maybe people will be open to new ideas,” he explained.  At the university level, the most challenging issue is the high cost of education.  But Paul has an idea for that too, “Maybe there are different programs that can be sponsored by business, or maybe different ways industry can connect to the universities to help defray the crazy cost escalation that has occurred.”

From his work ethic to his philanthropic attitude, no one can deny the impact Paul McConnell has had on those around him. He has worked to build his business from the ground up, and is now looking long term to expand the future for great minds.  Paul’s focus on education is admirable.  He understands the future of business lies with the next generation, and he wants to continue to make Wilmington competitive, but also collaborative with the big cities that surround it.  His constant motivation to reinvent and improve his business where necessary is a lesson for all entrepreneurs.  Paul is a man who sees a bigger picture for local and international business.

The BABC is honored to work with Paul and with McConnell Johnson Real Estate. McConnell Johnson will host our annual Wilmington, Delaware event later this year.  The event brings a high ranking government official, foreign diplomats, and local business leaders together to discuss current global economic affairs, political climate, and social issues and how these factors can affect business on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.  Stay tuned for the program date, speakers, and topic.


2016 Annual Holiday Luncheon – Press

CBS Philly: “Philadelphia Welcomes British Diplomat” 



London is Open and the Opportunities for Business are Great

Friday, September 16, 2016 
11:45 am (CST) – 12:45 pm
“LONDON IS OPEN and the Opportunities for Business are Great”
Click this link on September 16 to access the YouTube live stream.

On the 16th September, the British-American Chapter in Chicago will be hosting a panel discussion “London is Open and the Opportunities for Business are Great” with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who will be joined on stage by Rick Waddell, Northern Trust CEO; Sheila Penrose, Chairman of JLL; and leading academic, Azeem Ibrahim.

The Chicago chapter offers you the chance to join them in viewing this panel discussion of exceptional thought leaders by live-streaming the program.



Participants (left to right): Mayor Sadiq Khan, Rick Waddell, Sheila Penrose, and Azeem Ibrahim.

Click Here for More Information

The theme of the discussion will emphasize Mayor Khan’s messages of reassurance post-Brexit vote. However, it will also offer the other panelists an opportunity to explain the current global business climate.


Brexit Decision

On June 23, 2016, the British voted for the UK to leave the European Union.  Other than the immediate shock and ensuing market reaction, it is going to take some time for the real effects of the British exit from the European Union to be felt. Business contracts will be honored and things will evolve slowly. This is unchartered territory for the EU, and plans will be carefully developed. Tourism and commerce are likely to increase as the US dollar will be stronger against the British pound and the euro. The UK is one of our region’s most significant trading partners, and BABC of Greater Philadelphia, serving Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware will do everything we can to maintain and build that relationship not only with the UK but with all of Europe.

Read more  for the BritishAmerican Business CEO’s statement on the matter.

For local press clippings please click here.

Brexit Press Links

BritishAmerican Business

“Why Brexit May or May Not Matter for Philadelphia,”

“Chill Out Everybody”,

“Italy’s Man in Philly Defies UK Vote: ‘Europe is our home,'”

“What Philly Law Firms are Advising Clients About Brexit,”

Honorary British Consul, Oliver Franklin’s statement on Brexit

“How would Brexit Affect US Economy?”

Howard Silverstone’s Statement on Brexit’s Effect on US

Howard Silverstone’s Interview on NewsWorks


President’s Letter

Dear BABC Members,

We hope you had an enjoyable summer. As we all return to the routines of Fall, we want to alert you to a series of exciting programs the BABC has planned for the upcoming months. First, we hope you will join us for an exclusive business meeting and networking reception in Wilmington, Delaware on September 18th with Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the United States, and Alan B. Levin, Secretary, Delaware Economic Development Office. On October 3rd the BABC will host a business panel discussion about corporate sustainability and responsible strategies for global growth at GlaxoSmithKline’s new Double LEED Platinum Certified facility at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia. From November 4-6, 2013, Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, will be leading a trade mission to the UK and we will host (in conjunction with UK Trade & Investment and Philadelphia government) the official launch reception for the trade mission on October 7th. Companies joining the Mayor’s delegation for this important trade mission will include those actively looking to expand to Europe in key sectors such as life sciences, clean-tech, tech, and financial and professional services.

Toward the end of the calendar year, the BABC is pleased to invite members and friends to celebrate the season at our signature annual holiday luncheon. This year the program will focus on British arts and culture in the region, and we will offer a celebration of Scotland (including a special whiskey tasting), as well as a comedic skit produced by The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre. There will of course be the traditional “Christmas Crackers” and the opportunity to network and win exciting raffle prizes. Keynote speeches include remarks from Mayor Nutter and Derek Gillman, CEO and President of the Barnes Foundation.

We look forward to welcoming you to our programs, and to hearing from you in between. Please visit the BABC website for all details about current events, and connect with us virtually via social media – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Don’t forget to visit Flickr. We hope you find your photo from a BABC event, and enjoy browsing through BABC pictures. As always, thank you for your support and interest.


Hope P. Krebs, Esq. President, British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia

To view the rest of the BABC Fall 2013 newsletter, click here.

Upcoming Programs

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Exclusive Business Meeting & Networking Reception with Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the United States and Alan B. Levin, Secretary, Delaware Economic Development Office

Pre-registration by email required to

5:00-7:00 pm
Hercules Plaza
Lower Atrium
Wilmington, DE

Sponsored by McConnell Johnson Real Estate LLC

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Corporate Sustainability: Responsible Strategies for Global Growth


Join the international business community for a dynamic, timely and educational panel discussion about corporate sustainability, and a tour of GlaxoSmithKline’s new Double LEED Platinum Certified facility at The Navy Yard.

Seminar topics will include:
 Critical and material sustainability issues;
 Corporate responses and initiatives;
 How to drive change within organizations and engage and influence the community;
 Financial and accounting aspects; and
 Legal issues and potential risks.

James Margolis, Partner and Leader, Global Sustainability Reporting Practice, ERM

Ray Milora, Project Executive, Navy Yard, GlaxoSmithKline PLC
Rhett D. Workman, Managing Director, Airport Affairs, US Airways
Katherine Neal Blue, ‎Managing Director, Energy & Sustainability, KPMG LLP
Christopher W. Boyle, P.E., Partner and Vice Chair, Environment and Energy Practice Group, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Sponsored by: Drinker Biddle & Reath, Environmental Resources Management, GlaxoSmithKline, KPMG, and US Airways

In partnership with the: Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce, French American Chamber of Commerce, Irish American Business Chamber & Network, Italian American Chamber of Commerce, Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, and Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce

4:30-7:30 pm
Philadelphia, PA

Monday, October 7, 2013
The Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia’s International Trade Delegation to the United Kingdom Launch Event

By Invitation Only

This official reception will launch Philadelphia’s business and trade delegation to the UK. Mayor Nutter will recognize the delegates, and welcome Her Majesty’s Consul General Danny Lopez who will discuss how UK-based businesses ensure their success in international markets, and why the best overseas companies select the UK as their global partner of choice.

5:00-7:00 pm
Independence Visitors Center
Philadelphia, PA

Thursday, November 21, 2013
Meet the CEO featuring John Buckley, Chief Executive Officer of Air Liquide USA LLC

Network, dine and meet the CEO of Air Liquide, the world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment. Air Liquide has a presence in 80 countries, including the UK, with close to 50,000 employees.


6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Sheraton Society Hill Hotel
Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Annual Holiday Luncheon – Celebrating British Arts & Culture and the Season to be Jolly!


Join us for this very special holiday event. Enjoy networking, a Scottish whiskey tasting, sharing “Christmas Crackers,” a special theatrical presentation by The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, and the chance to win exciting raffle prizes.

11:00 am-2:00 pm
The Ritz Carlton
Philadelphia, PA

Presenting Sponsors:
Aberdeen Asset Management and HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

Airline Sponsor:
United Airlines

Corporate Sponsors:
UK Trade & Investment and PricewaterhouseCoopers

Thursday, February 6, 2014
Third Annual New Jersey Networking Event


Join the British American Business Council for a very special dinner event including networking, traditional British pub food and specialty beer provided at The British Chip Shop in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

The British Chip Shop celebrates the culinary traditions of the British Isles, serving authentic fish and chips, soups, stews, healthy salads, pastries, and seasonal favorites.

5:00 pm-7:00 pm
The British Chip Shop
Haddonfield, NJ

Event Recap

BABC Young Professionals Group – Mind the Gap Panel Discussion and Networking Event

On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, the BABC of Greater Philadelphia Young Professionals Group (YPG) hosted Mind the Gap, a panel discussion and networking event at The Twisted Tail. More than 25 people gathered for a dynamic discussion about cultural differences, stories and nuances between the US and the UK.

Enthusiastic panelists shared inspiring anecdotes about their experiences on both sides of the Pond, and how this exposure influenced important aspects of both their personal and professional lives. Toby Wallace, BABC YPG Co-Leader from Aberdeen Asset Management welcomed everyone and introduced Howard Silverstone, prior BABC President and active board member from Forensic Resolutions who moderated the panel. Howard, a Brit having moved to the US as a young professional in the mid-1980s, kept the audience laughing at his side splitting humor and at the same time, seamlessly navigated the speakers through the informal discussion about the importance of professional development and the consequences of living and working abroad.

Mind the Gap panelists represented a cross-section of BABC member companies. Richard Bartlett, President of Bartlett & Company, Inc. was asked to visit Philadelphia for one week to learn more about the US subsidiary of the Bartlett Group, a global insurance broking and risk management family business, and four years later he is still here! Luke Butler, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development for the City of Philadelphia left London, and came to Philadelphia to pursue a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied as a Thouron Fellow. During the time of his studies Luke volunteered for Michael A. Nutter’s campaign for Mayor. Luke was recognized for his outstanding work and became Special Assistant to the Mayor of Philadelphia and Deputy Press Secretary for the City of Philadelphia, in both roles serving as a speechwriter for Mayor Michael Nutter for many years.

The British panelists joked about how much easier it is to meet people here – “all you need to do is start speaking and people take an instant liking to you because of your accent.” Ian Cross, BABC Marketing & Communications Chairman and entrepreneur and owner of –I-SITE, an internet marketing company and The Trestle Inn, Whiskey & Go Go bar, came to the US in his early 20s and has lived here ever since. Ian lightheartedly commented, “if I were to return to England now to live and work, I probably would not even know how to tie my own shoes!” All panelists unanimously agreed, once you have lived outside of your country for long enough, you almost reach the point of no return because you have been so molded by where you have lived and worked as a young professional, that returning home would be a great challenge.
James Hennessey, Executive Chef for Lincoln Financial Field, and Representative Chef, 2012 London Olympics, ARAMARK, spoke about being an American and his experience moving to the UK for a short period of time. James and several of his fellow panelists moved countries at an important turning point in their lives. For example, James left Philadelphia in the middle of planning his wedding, and Rich left England just weeks after he and his girlfriend moved into the same apartment. The story for both James and Rich ends well – James’ wedding went off without a hitch, and Rich’s girlfriend (now wife) moved to Philadelphia to be with him.

When asked, everyone agreed they would do it all again. Obviously, being young, unencumbered by family, property and other more complicated life circumstances contribute to a smoother transition in a new homeland. However, there will always be stumbling blocks to overcome, many with much greater implications than merely uttering the word “soccer” when you meant to say “football.” No doubt, as all of the panelists confided, it takes a strong person to move to a different continent, settle and feel personally and professionally satisfied. Howard lamented that when he moved to the US, it cost a $1.50 a minute to call his family and friends back home in the UK. Things have certainly changed for today’s young professionals venturing abroad. Nowadays, handheld devices easily guide foreigners through complicated city streets and subway systems, or help convert English to metric system. Chef James made the audience erupt in laughter when he exclaimed “Thank goodness there’s an app for that!”

Kara Bergman, BABC YPG Co-Leader closed the program by thanking panelists and drawing raffle donations. Many thanks to Rob Williamson for Philly Fair Trade Roasters for the generous coffee and chocolate basket raffle donation and to Alan Avidar from Philadelphia Union for donating a voucher for two tickets to any Philadelphia Union game this season.

The BABC encourages those who were unable to attend the program to visit The Twisted Tail, a Southern inspired Bourbon House & Juke Joint serving delicious food and drinks. George Reilly, proprietor, is another example of a young Brit who left England, married, settled in Philadelphia, and launched his successful restaurant business. Please support BABC member, The Twisted Tail.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Summer 2013 International Networking Reception

On Tuesday, July 30, 2013, the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia collaborated with the Chilean, French, German, Hispanic, Israeli, Japanese and Swedish Chambers of Commerce for an exclusive networking event with the Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia. More than 300 guests filled the room to capacity at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Center City Philadelphia, enjoying endless networking, delicious food, and wine.

In its third year, the reception celebrated Philadelphia as an international city on the cutting edge of economic and business development. Mayor Nutter spoke about the region’s focus and interest in encouraging new investment and commercial trade interaction between Philadelphia and the rest of the world. Of notable mention was the City’s strong ties to the United Kingdom. Mayor Nutter and his team are tremendous supporters of the BABC.

Click here for photos from the event.

Click here to see the event feature on Philly Chit Chat.

From Britain with Love – Vintage Movie Night & Whiskey Tasting at The Trestle Inn

On Thursday, August 1, 2013 the British American Business Council, in partnership with International House Philadelphia, hosted its final event in the second annual British Invasion series, From Britain with Love –Vintage Movie Night & Whiskey Tasting at The Trestle Inn. The night was a huge success with more than 50 attendees, filling the venue to capacity for a fabulous night of drinks, food, networking and fun while viewing “Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London,” the 1967 semi-documentary film made by Peter Whitehead about the swinging London scene of the sixties.

The film, provided by International House Philadelphia, is an iconic pop concerto and a visual patchwork of 60′s culture, seen through the eyes of the people leading it — Pink Floyd, Mick Jagger, Michael Caine, Vanessa Redgrave, Allen Ginsberg, and Julie Christie, alongside counter-culture artists and other musicians who helped shape their generation and future ones to come. The film was presented in the background, allowing guests to fully engage in networking while savoring the delicious food and drinks, and enjoying the retro venue.

BABC guests received a complimentary whiskey flight from The Edrington Group that included Highland Park 12, The Black Grouse, Macallans 12 and The Famous Grouse. Hope Krebs, BABC Board President welcomed guests and provided a brief discussion about the organization and upcoming activities. Following Hope’s remarks two winning business cards were drawn for a set of two tickets to a Philadelphia Union game during the 2014 season and a bottle of The Macallan 12. After the drawing, guests returned to mingling and enjoying drinks and food from The Trestle Inn. The program continued into the night, well after the scheduled end time.

The BABC encourages those who were unable to attend the event to visit The Trestle Inn, owned by BABC Marketing & Communications Chairman, Ian Cross.

To view photos from the event, click here.

Brit Invasion 2013
During the Spring and Summer months, the BABC presented several entertaining opportunities to foster connections, expand business and enjoy British themed events throughout the region.

A Complete Summary of British Inspired Programs and Events Offered Throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region

British Business in Bloom: A Brilliant! Opportunity to Network, Learn, Dine and Visit the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show
The BABC hosted British Business in Bloom featuring Drew Becher, President of The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), and Chris Woods, Director, PHS Meadowbrook Farm at the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show.

Brit Invasion Week at the Wilma Theater – Under the Whaleback
BABC members received an exclusive $10 discount to the Wilma’s North American premiere of Under the Whaleback by critically-acclaimed British playwright Richard Bean, directed by Blanka Zizka for evening performances on April 2-4, 2013.

British Invasion at PPL Park – Philadelphia Union vs. LA Galaxy Soccer Match

BABC members were invited to watch as world famous soccer stars from LA Galaxy including Landon Donovan of the US National team, Robbie Keane of the Irish National team, and Juninho from Brazil, took on the Philadelphia Union including players Zac MacMath and Sebastien Le Toux, on May 15, 2013. BABC members received $5 off face value of corner, sideline, and midfield tickets for this game.

The Global Rugby Forum: A Conference on the Business of Rugby
BABC members received 20% off registration for the first-ever annual sports industry conference to bring together leaders from the US sports sector with decision makers from the global rugby business. The event was held at the Sofitel Hotel in Philadelphia on Friday, May 31, 2013.

USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championships
BABC members were invited to watch as 20 college rugby teams competed for the national title on June 1-2, 2013 at PPL Park in Chester, PA.

Opera Philadelphia: Powder Her Face
BABC members received an exclusive discount, 25% off ticket price, for the Philadelphia premiere of British composer Thomas Adès’s opera Powder Her Face. The opera is based on the scandalous life and sexual exploits of Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll. It ran from June 7-16, 2013 at the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Award Winning Comedian Dylan Moran’s New Show, “Yeah, Yeah”
BABC members were given the opportunity to win two free tickets to see award-winning Irish comedian, Dylan Moran, and his critically-acclaimed new show, Yeah, Yeah, at the Trocadero Theatre on June 22, 2013.

English Premier Team
BABC members received $5 off face value of tickets for the Philadelphia Union versus Barclays Premier League Side Stoke City FC friendly match.

Human Interest Feature – What We Can Learn from Expanding Our Borders

Neil Boyden Tanner, Esq. – Chief Counsel, Cigna Global Employer Segment
What We Can Learn from Expanding Our Borders

By Kira Greenlee, BABC Coordinator, Temple University

The BABC is proud to acknowledge its members who have achieved high-rankings, awards and recognitions throughout the US and UK. Most recently, Neil Boyden Tanner, past BABC President (2007-2011) and current BABC Board Member, was selected as one of nine USA fellows by the Eisenhower Fellowship. Every year, the blue ribbon steering committees in Philadelphia, Research Triangle area, North Carolina, New England region (Boston), and St. Louis select eight to ten high-achieving US citizens or legal permanent residents for the Eisenhower Fellowship to travel abroad for an intensive, individually designed program in the country of their choice, along with a much larger number of international fellows who come to the United States to complete their programs. Neil is currently Chief Counsel of Cigna Global Health Benefits, the business unit within Cigna dedicated to the needs of the globally mobile workforce.

Eisenhower Fellowships is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization created in 1953 by a group of prominent American citizens to honor President Dwight D. Eisenhower for his contribution to humanity as a soldier, statesman, and world leader. The organization engages mid-career (ages 32-45) professionals from around the world to enhance their leadership skills, broaden their network of contacts, deepen their global perspectives, and unite them in a diverse, global community where dialogue, understanding, and collaboration lead to a more prosperous, just, and peaceful world.

As part of his fellowship, Neil traveled abroad this year on an intensive, individualized professional program to Singapore, Vietnam and Brazil. While abroad, he met with in-country experts in business, government, and non-profit institutions to study methods that encourage foreign direct investment (FDI). Neil will use this unique opportunity to identify tangible ways to attract more international investment to the Greater Philadelphia region. To keep his colleagues abreast of his Eisenhower Fellowship investigations and publicize his learnings, he maintained a detailed blog while traveling abroad. Today that blog has over 2,200 unique visitors.

Neil’s first stop was Singapore in April 2013. While there, he had the opportunity to meet with executives from Blackstone, Fortis, GlaxoSmithKline, ISOS, MasterCard, MHC Asia and others to discuss the approach of the Singaporean government and its notable pervasive attitude. Neil learned that the government of Singapore often does not make the first approach to a potential multinational company and instead, they go to a major multinational company in a related field already in the country and ask the lead executive in that company to consult their peers to consider Singapore. “This is not to say that the government doesn’t also make the approach. They do in many cases as well. For example, the government will target specific big names that they believe they need to have in Singapore for prestige or to round out an industry etc. and make the approach themselves or in addition to another local CEO. This too is where attitude matters,” Neil stated in his blog. Neil also was told that Singaporean government employees are highly paid compared to those in other countries, making them competitive with private sector salaries in Singapore and as a result, the government can attract the best and the brightest, even those educated internationally. Lastly, Neil mentioned that “Singapore’s attitude in treating these companies as being in a long term relationship was one that resonated with all of the businesses as well. Each company talked about the regular follow-up they would have with the government,” noting the importance of a positive relationship between public and private sectors.

The next stop on Neil’s itinerary was Vietnam. While spending time in the chaotic city of Hanoi, Neil met with government officials, business leaders and company advisors to investigate Foreign Direct Investment in Vietnam. Many meetings included an un-introduced person whose sole purpose seemed to be to take “copious notes”. In one meeting in particular, Neil was asked a series of questions not dis-similar to an interrogation! This conversation was confusing as the people who Neil met were trying to comprehend such things as who funded the Eisenhower Fellowship and explain to Neil why Singapore’s success was not sustainable. Eventually, Neil was asked what he thought was not working in business in Vietnam. Most government officials who spoke to Neil asked that his or her comments not be recorded and their names not be revealed; attributing to Neil’s note that Hanoi was such a “confidential and secretive” city with their high walls and hushed conversations.

The final stop on Neil’s fellowship travels was to Brazil. In the last ten years Brazil has experienced enormous amounts of change; it is estimated that 39 million people have joined the middle class in this period alone. During this change in the economy, Brazilians noticed that although they had nicer things, they were paying higher taxes while the roads, healthcare and schools were still in distress. Brazilians began to demand more out of their government thus insisting on less corruption including bribery. With this change in attitude from the people of Brazil, they worked together to make these improvements and when they could not, they searched abroad for help. Neil mentions in his blog that he was “surprised to learn that not only is there no public outcry over the use of foreign companies on … major infrastructure projects, it’s welcome. Perhaps our preference for made in America actually stifles our growth since ultimately the better the infrastructure project the better able it is to propel the local economy forward – regardless of the nationality of the provider.” Neil noted that like Singapore, this change in the attitude of Brazil caused a major upheaval in the country’s government, infrastructure and launched, in Neil’s words, a “huge movement out of poverty.”

Being an Eisenhower Fellow is an incredible honor, but it is a greater achievement to be able to take what one learns as a Fellow and be able to bring home the knowledge to one’s own country. By traveling abroad to Singapore, Vietnam and Brazil, Neil was able to experience business in a different culture, to see what works and what does not. We encourage BABC members and friends who want to learn more from Neil’s travels to visit his blog or follow his twitter handle @intllawguy.

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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