British-American Transatlantic Business Conference

Friday 9 May, 2008

I attended the British-American Transatlantic Business Conference-Connectivity in a Transatlantic World conference, organized by the British-American Business Council-Chicago, & title sponsor British Airways for a couple of days recently.  I believe this was BABC’s annual conference which moves around the US & UK each year.

Rhian Chilocott, head of Confederation of British Industry‘s Washington office presented a briefing on UK investments in the US babc2008cbibritish-investment Her most amusing comments were on a couple of alternative titles for her presentation, either “with your wussy $, we can buy anything we want,” or “Sterling assets,” since highlighting British breasts should result in more downloads.

Transatlantic UK-US trade relations was addressed by government officials from both sides of the pond.  I don’t have enough space to even summarize, so contact me for details.

“Current trends in customer global communications needs” was essentially a commercial for/by British Telecom-Americas.

Lunch Keynote speaker-Woody Harford, Sr. VP-Commercial for North America, British Airways provided a comprehensive & humorous look @ BA.

“Generation X & Y-will they be your future employees?” babc2008generationxandy The conference utilized real-time surveys of the audience which were determined by hand-held devices-(I didn’t track the results).  The panel differentiated between digital pioneers & natives, & that younger generations seek autonomy & control while baby boomers seek 1 career with multiple companies.   Also we boomers keep making the recurring mistake of assuming others want what we want.

“The evolving trust landscape: what it means for business & stakeholder relationships” was presented by Mark Shadle, Exec VP/Pres-Central Region, Edelman Public Relations babc2008edelmantrustbarometerukus I found this to be the most interesting & valuable presentation.  I can’t add any more than what was presented.

The gala reception @ Adler Planetarium proved to be a lovely evening.

The 5 minute welcome by Mayor Richard M. Daley brought out that Tony Blair is 1 of his idols.  He stuck around so that we could wish him Happy Birthday, but I was surprised he didn’t stick around for the Olympics presentations.

The “Impact of Olympic Host on a Finanacial Center City” offered in interesting comparison/contrast between an upcoming Olympic city with an aspiring 1.

“Tailoring the Cord Brand Idea to be relevant around the world” showed a few great examples from LifeFitness & Dyson of different approaches to global branding, either complete revamp to make them consistent across countries, or keep it simple from country-to-country.  I’m still working on getting at least 1 of the presentations.

“The impact of emerging technologies & social media” was presented by Terry McKenzie, Sr. Dir., Employee communications & Change Management @ Sun Microsystems babc2008sunmicrosystems I spoke with Terry on the bus on the way to & from the Adler Planetarium for the gala dinner.  She’s quite a character.  Look for her tmac blog @ blogs.sun.com

I missed the presentation “2 countries separated by a common language?,” featuring 2 principals from Mintel Intl.

BAGOL-British American Group of Lawyers meeting addressed such topics as risk reduction in litigation, patent law changes, audit letter issues, employment, Sarbanes-Oxley.

According to the attendees list, 227 attended the event, of which 81 appeared to be speakers or sponsors, & 10 seemed to be visiting from BABC’s in the UK.

My only criticism of the conference is that there wasn’t enough US-UK interplay:  only 6 out of the 10 presentations dealt directly with British-American business topics.  Further, as important as the Brits are in Chicago & America, we seem to see/hear relatively little from them.  A number of other smaller countries are more active in the local international scene.  I’d like to see more local events from our most important European trading partner.


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