Dear friends!

We are pleased to present you an overview of last month’s events.  The atmosphere at SPIBA in April was one of creativity, full of bright impressions! The new Committee on the Quality of Life held its first event, we held a conference dedicated to young talent, SPIBA members found themselves playing roles in the interactive program “Business Theatre” and many other memorable events took place during the month.

April 2 the SPIBA Environment, Health and Safety Committee held a roundtable on the topic of “Amendments to the Federal Law On Production and Consumption Waste.” During our meeting, we discussed the status of the bill, as well as the position of the business community in relation to this initiative of the Government of the Russian Federation.

April 3 the SWISSAM Hospitality Business School was host to the first event of the new SPIBA Committee on the Quality of Life, a roundtable on “Tourist Attractiveness of St. Petersburg; Development of the Hospitality Industry.”   Speakers highlighted various aspects of development prospects within the hospitality industry in St. Petersburg.  Domina Prestige Hotel manager Blake Anderson-Buntz talked about what has been done in the direction of transparency within the St. Petersburg hotel industry, as well as the efforts to find mutual interests of business and government. Pavel Parparov, restaurateur with 13 years of industry experience and creator and owner of James Cook Pub & Café and More.Yachts & Seafood, touched on restaurant pricing and noted the positive trend of gradual improvement in the overall level of service in St. Petersburg over the past decade. Walter Spaltenstein, rector of the SWISSAM Hospitality Business School, shared his examples of tourism development in Switzerland where the lion’s share of the national income comes from the hospitality industry. In addition, Mr. Spaltenstein outlined the SWISSAM principles for training and preparing service professionals who are in demand at St. Petersburg’s hotels and restaurants. The SPIBA Committee on Quality of Life plans further exchange of views and discussion of relevant questions regarding the developing tourism and hospitality industries in shaping the socio-cultural space of ​​St. Petersburg.

April 5 the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg State University, with the participation of SPIBA, organized and hosted a conference entitled “Attraction and Development of Young Talent.” The conference was timed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Graduate School of Management in 2013. The aim of the event was to share best practices in the field of recruitment and development of young professionals. More than 60 representatives from 37 leading Russian and international companies took part in the plenary session, two roundtables and interactive discussions. The speakers included directors and HR managers from companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Procter & Gamble, Schlumberger, Baltika Breweries, Citibank, L’Oreal, McKinsey and others. Representatives of the companies shared best practices and expertise in the field of labor market trends.  They also spoke about the strategies that companies use to attract young professionals, cooperation with universities, and internship programs and other tools used to attract graduates.

April 8 the President of Baltika Breweries and Senior Vice President of Eastern Europe, Carlsberg Group, Isaac Sheps, took part in SPIBA’s “Breakfast with the Director” series. As part of his speech, the President of  Baltika shared his experience of effective management, spoke about innovative approaches in business and about the difference between management and leadership and why they are inextricably linked.

April 16 the SPIBA HR Committee along with Philip Morris Izhora held a meeting on the topic of “360-Degree Feedback,” which focused on the development program for production unit heads.  Additionally, participants were offered a tour of the Phillip Morris factory where they were introduced to all stages of the production system and quality control of products.

April 18 the SPIBA Committee on Legislation and Lobbying held its regular meeting and discussed the topic “Overview of Changes in Real Estate Law” with presentations by lawyers from the companies, Capital Legal Services and Dentons.  Analysis of the Resolution of the Plenum of the RF № 13 dated 25 January 2013 on the practical application of the rules of the Civil Code of lease agreements resulted in a lively discussion among representatives of consulting and production companies.

April 22, we invited SPIBA members to the unique interactive program “Business Theater: How to Inspire your Customers with your Performance”. The leader of this “private screening” was Paul Bourne, a theater director from England. Paul Bourne is also a business consultant for many commercial and state companies in various countries around the world. Besides working as an invited expert and partner in various universities in Russia, the U.S. and the UK, Paul’s primary work is as the artistic director of the theater company Menagerie in Cambridge. Participants of the event were not only introduced to new techniques of working with clients, but also felt changes through vivid imagery and simple actions in a unique creative atmosphere that prevailed at the meeting.

April 24 The SPIBA Finance Committee organized a business meeting on the topic “VAT – 2013: Complex Issues of Calculation.” The first section of the meeting dedicated to import, export and VAT was carried out by Anna Lozovaja – Deputy Head of Indirect Taxes of the Tax and Customs Tariff Policy of the Ministry of Finance of Russia. Anna spoke in detail on the following issues: the right to a documented tax deduction for import operations; refund of previously exported goods; the procedure for application of VAT on import and export of goods in the Customs Union, the processing of raw materials in the framework of the Customs Union; VAT taxation of works (services); processing of goods placed under the customs procedure for processing on customs territory.  During the second half of the meeting on the details of the calculation of VAT in 2013, Olga Duminskaya, Advisor to the State Civil Service of the Russian Federation of Class II, spoke. She talked about the major changes in VAT legislation in 2013 and about the new features of the tax base for VAT on the basis of the new rules for determining transaction prices.

April 25 BC Communications Agency, with the support of SPIBA, held a roundtable dedicated to finding an answer to a burning question for the industry “Is classic PR alive or has it dissolved into social networking?” The roundtable consisted of two sessions. Discussion of “classic” PR sparked sharp debate with fierce and uncompromising defense of traditional PR approaches along with expressions of skepticism about the feasibility and effectiveness of a digital approach. The second session was represented by supporters of Internet communications.  They defended their positions with statistical results from recent years referring to the turning points in political, economic and other high-profile stories and case studies, which were examples of active Internet users being provoked into action.  Several interesting digital-projects implemented by St. Petersburg social media specialists were also presented during the session.

We wish you wonderful May holidays and look forward to seeing you with fresh ideas at SPIBA in May!