Virginia International Business Council


Fair Trade: An Exploration of Empathy in International Trade

  • May 19, 2021
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Zoom Online Event


  • VAIBC Member Registration
  • VAIBC Non-Member Registration

Registration is closed


Enabling International Trade Success Since 1948™



In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the VAIBC has decided to take our programming virtual to ensure the safety of our members and event attendees.  You are invited to participate in this virtual discussion via Zoom. If time allows, there will be Q+A with Mr. Baird. 

VAIBC will also be awarding the scholarship winners for 2021.

Join us for our VIRTUAL FORUM May 19th, Wednesday, program for:

Fair Trade: An Exploration of Empathy in International Trade

Please join the VAIBC online via Zoom platform for a discussion with Mr. Francois Baird. Mr. Baird will share his background; from starting his career in the gold mines of South Africa to an officer position with the SA Air Force to founding and running Baird’s CMC, an international marketing communications firm. He will share his experience in creating a bi-continental consultancy group (US and South Africa) and the Fair Trade anti-dumping trade movement. Mr. Baird strives to highlight the importance of relationship (rather than simple transactions) in creating successful, long-term business relationships.

Guest Speaker:   Mr. Francois Baird,  

Details for the May 2021 VAIBC Event:  BEYOND BREXIT

When:                             Wednesday, May 19th, 2021  


          12:00pm -1:00pm:            Live Discussion via Webinar


Venue:  Online via Zoom platform – log-in credentials will be issued once paid registration is complete. If time allows, there will be Q+A with Mr. Baird. Recorded session will be available and shared post-event with registered attendees.


 Register online:

 About the speaker:



François Baird is a founder and chairman of Baird’s CMC Ltd, Baird’s US LLC and Calbridge Investments (Pty) Ltd. Baird’s CMC is an international communications management consultancy with 47 partners on five continents who employ about 1500 people. He is the founder of the FairPlay anti-dumping trade movement.

François consults to boards, top management and leaders internationally on issues, communication and strategy. He serves clients in the USA, Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East. His specialties are crisis management, communication strategy, public affairs, corporate reputation risk assessment and management, and market entry strategies. He consults to governments, international institutions and companies. He has worked in a range of sectors including health, financial services, ICT, agriculture, mining, consumer, energy, development and education. He has a special interest in developing countries and institutions.

François is a Board member of the University of Pretoria Centre for Communication and Reputation Management (CCRM) and of the Child Witness Foundation. He serves on the Board of the Presidential Precinct and is an advisor to its Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI) program. In addition, he is a board member and Treasurer of James Madison’s Montpelier and serves on the Advisory Council of the Initiative for Global Development (IGD). He is Co-Chairman, Africa for Taylor Advisories, the boutique M&A firm based in Washington DC.

François is an American citizen who was born in South Africa, grew up on a farm in its Northwest province, started his career on the gold mines, attained a degree in international politics and political science at the University of Pretoria and served as a commissioned officer in the SA Air Force. He founded his own business in 1987, following various corporate management positions at Gold Fields of SA, Small Business Development Corporation and Sappi, the South African multi-national forestry products company. He is emeritus Chairman for Africa, of Daniel J Edelman Inc.

The Virginia International Business Council, Inc. (VAIBC™) was established in 1948, and it has had a distinguished history as a membership organization serving businesses engaged in or pursuing international trade and the wide range of professionals in the public and private sector that facilitate and enable international trade.  Our monthly luncheon programs provide networking and educational opportunities vital to success.  We also periodically conduct special workshops featuring experts in the field on topics we believe to be especially timely and vital to our members, as well as several annual special events, which have historically included our December holiday party and spring golf outing.   We actively support other Virginia trade organizations and events, and provide scholarships and other outreach to Virginia colleges and universities. 






Photo Credit: Bill Crabtree Jr.

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