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Fireside Chat with British Consul General of New England



From Yemen to Boston - a diplomat's view of the world, innovation and women leaders.

Over 200 years ago the United Kingdom established a consulate in Boston to foster relationships between the U.K. and the U.S. Harriet Cross is the 39th British Consul General to New England and has led a distinguished career for over 20 years -- serving in Yemen, Morocco, and the United Nations. 

Yet, she is not your stereotypical British diplomat. Harriet co-owns a brewery with her husband, enjoys exploring vegan restaurants and calls her rescue cats Mavi and Claudius -- Her Majesty's Catsul General. She is an advocate of women in tech and business and enjoys creating communities where they can foster.

In this virtual fireside chat, Harriet and Parna Sarkar-Basu will discuss:

- What's it like for a non-politician to serve as a diplomat
- Career journey
- Support for STEM and innovation
- And more...

Featured Speaker(s)

Harriet Cross
Her Majesty's Consul General to New England

Harriet has been a member of Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service for 23 years. Before coming to Boston in 2016, she was Deputy Ambassador at the British Embassy in Yemen. Due to the conflict there, she organised the evacuation of the Embassy and spent the rest of her posting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In her diplomatic career Harriet has served at the British Embassy in Morocco and at the UK Mission to the UN in New York. She has also worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London working on EU trade policy, and human rights policy.

During her career Harriet has taken time out from diplomacy to work as an International Policy Advisor for the UK's National Crime Squad. She has also worked in International Relations at the University of York. With her husband, she helped establish a micro-brewery in Yorkshire which is now a thriving business.

Harriet has a Master's degree in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy and a First Class honours degree from the University of Warwick in Politics with French. She has an Executive Certificate in Management & Leadership from MIT.

Harriet has been appointed High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago and will take up this Ambassador role in September.

Parna Sarkar-Basu, Founder
Brand and Buzz Marketing, V.P.
Brand Marketing, WITI


A tech evangelist, Parna Sarkar-Basu serves as a strategic advisor to transformational leaders and technology pioneers, and helps them launch and reinvent companies. Her expertise includes changing market perception, building market relevance, corporate (re)-positioning and new market entry as well as helping companies raise funds and navigate the digital era. Recipient of multiple awards, Parna has been instrumental in propelling tech companies into innovation leaders in highly competitive markets, including artificial intelligence, enterprise software, storage systems, robots, consulting services and manufacturing.

A Forbes contributor, Parna writes and speaks on a range of topics, including cognitive robotics, innovation for social good, digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI) and impact on the workforce, and marketing trends.

A champion of STEM initiatives, Parna builds and supports programs to inspire women in technology and future innovators. Parna is the V.P. of Marketing for WITI (Women in Technology International), a leading advocate of innovation, inclusivity and STEM. She also serves on various boards including WITI Boston and American Marketing Association Boston.