56 THE MEETING PROFESSIONAL AUGUST 2016
image of the U.K., as there has been a very negative xenophobic
commentary within the campaigning, which is in stark contrast
to the warm welcome you are likely to receive here. Our industry is resilient and innovative, so I hope the negative impacts will
Are there certain types of businesses in the meeting and event industry
that you believe will benefit more than others from this vote?
It depends on what happens post-Brexit. If the U.K. becomes a
more lucrative trading spot it could open up opportunities. If
talent is in short supply because of the loss of free movement, companies issu-
ing visas and recruitment companies may stand to gain. In the short term, travel
companies bringing visitors to the U.K. will get better rates for the [U.S.] dollar
against the pound; it’s certainly cheaper to visit the U.K. now.
Is there any singular point about Brexit and its potential
impact on business that youʼd like your U. S. counterparts
to understand very clearly?
I think this vote shows a general movement towards celebrity over integrity—some refer to it
as the “post-truth” era. It represents a movement
of some politicians to exploit or at least tolerate
xenophobic attitudes and policies. It shows our
politicians can act unethically and their actions
can disengage and divide whole communities.
Meetings and events are about bringing people
together and showing we are tolerant, inclusive
and better together. I sincerely hope [the 2016
U.S. presidential] election does not produce similar results. We are an industry that succeeds by
building bridges, not walls.
Jane Baker, president of the MPI
United Kingdom & Ireland Chapter and commercial director for
London-based 2Heads. The following exchange
took place in early July.
As a global business, how do you anticipate
the Brexit vote will affect you?
We have clients and of;ices in the U.S., EU and
U.K. so the immediate impact on us is connected
to exchange rate ;luctuations. The U.K. of;ice is
our headquarters and our largest location, so a
weaker GBP is able to buy more for clients paying in U.S. dollars and euros, making our ;inancial offer more competitive. That said, we deliver
projects all over the world so careful cost control is still required.
Are you taking any specific steps to prepare your
business for a post-Brexit landscape?
Brexit is one of many factors that could impact our business over the coming years and
[we] have a solid business planning process in
place to manage these risks and opportunities.
We are aware of a variety of potential future
impacts that could be positive or negative, and
we’re making contingency plans as required,
however our actions will be dependent on the
“I THINK THIS VOTE SHOWS A GENERAL
MOVEMENT TOWARDS CELEBRITY OVER
INTEGRITY—SOME REFER TO IT AS THE