International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders
Submitted by Marc-William Attié
Directeur National, France et Belgique francophone
When I first attended a BNI meeting in the UK in 2003 my first impression was WOW and the second one was: this is incredible to see so different people working together. My previous experiences in my professional life were that people talk and develop relationships with people who are like themselves.
Since these days until today, the importance and power of diversity have clearly shown its efficiency. Different backgrounds, different level of revenues, different type of education, different professions, different cultures, all of that is not only a possibility but a must have.
When a chiropractor refer a Web designer, or a landscaper refers a lawyer, or a charter accountant refer an architect (and I could continue like that forever) that shows the efficiency of diversity.
In the early days of BNI in France, I remember a massage therapist who has been able to refer a lawyer specialized in banking laws to the legal manager of one of the main French bank. That would never have been possible if we did not encourage diversities and chapters. The regular one-to-ones will help to build bridges and create a strong relationship with people that could have been considered to be too different to work together.
The chapters which show the highest return are often those which have a very high level of efficiency.
Our average chapters in France and Belgium have 26% women and 74% men. When we reach over 40% women the return usually increases.
Diversity is not only a “want to be” but a “should be”. Our Director team is so diverse. The only things we really share are our values. And that’s the most important.
Let’s use the INW to open even more, let’s invite people in our chapters that are not necessary entrepreneurs but that we can help and we will see that they will help the chapters to go further. It will help create new relationship and open new networks.
Let’s dare to work the diversity as a tool. In fact my belief is that diversity should be part of our core value.
Marc-William ATTIE | Director National
BNI France and BNI Belgium francophone
Telephone: +33 1 84 17 14 50