Diana

We Have Your Back (by Diana Ninsiima Kibuuka)string(45) "We Have Your Back (by Diana Ninsiima Kibuuka)"

International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Diana Ninsiima Kibuuka, National Director – BNI Uganda

DianaIn May 2005, we launched the first BNI Chapter in Uganda. It was an exciting event and I looked to the future with great expectation. Three weeks later, I had my son, and shortly after his birth, I was diagnosed with vertigo. Vertigo is a deliberating disease that incapacitates you and my doctors could not understand the cause or tell me how long I would be incapacitated.  I could not walk; I could not carry my baby and I could not lead the young BNI team.

After my diagnosis, I received a visit from my business partners, Bijay Shah and Muraguri Elizaphan, and the president of the chapter, Tracey Ntabazi. I could read the shock on their faces as they saw my condition. At that time I was a Launch DC and I had one thought “that my journey with BNI Uganda had to come to an end”. During the visit, I mentioned I did not know how long my condition would be persist.  Bijay, Muraguri, and Tracey left me with one clear message; until I was back on my feet, they had my back.

Today, I am the co-national director of BNI Uganda. The words shared with me in that season have stood the test of time and been proved over and over again. From that season, I embraced BNI Giver’s gain philosophy because I had seen it lived out. Today, BNI Uganda’s Kampala Region has some of the highest retention rates in the world, because we have a culture of watching out for each other and can confidently say to each other, “I have your back”.

Diana owes “Ulimwengu wa Shukrani” to members and leaders from across the world for walking with her and truly having her back:

  • Francios: ED from France: during my first global convention you shared your lessons from your ED experience and I believed I too could make a difference;
  • Runjhun Gupta: for the words of wisdom and courage you have shared in the past and continue to share;
  • Avryl Au: for initiating that conversation in which you expressed your interest in African Art and ultimately flying  over 11 hours to share your 20 years BNI experience with my BNI family;
  • Graham Southwell: for the conversation, we had over lunch when I attended my first Executive Council meeting;
  • Murali Srinivasan: thank you for the morning walks in Dubai and Warsaw and the wisdom you continue to share;
  • Claire Sherman: for answering all my questions graciously;
  • YP Lai: for the lessons you continue to share and doors your opportunities avail;
  • Kenny Olunbanjo and the team from Nigeria: for the celebrations and navigating this BNI journey together;
  • Mike and Beth Levin: you have shared of your resources and are ever ready to help;
  • Sandra Hart: for creating the platform from which so many told their stories and inspired me;
  • BNI Uganda family: you have watched out for each other and created opportunities for each other in all seasons;
  • Bijay, Anuradha, and Muraguri: for starting me off on a journey that has made it possible for us to make a difference together;
  • Mac Srinivasan: for your story to keep our years on the light and not waver; and lastly
  • Ivan Misner: a world of thanks, for without your courage we would not be.

Diana Ninsiima Kibuuka | BNI Uganda National Director

#BNIUganda     #DianaKibuuka    

World of Thanks

A World of Thanksstring(17) "A World of Thanks"

Welcome to the 14th annual “International Networking Week®”. Held annually during the first week of February, organizations around the world celebrate the power of networking and recognition. “International Networking Week” is an initiative of BNI created 14 years ago. This week, we are promoting our theme, “A World of Thanks”, by asking you to share your stories of gratitude and appreciation for those who helped you to grow or maintain your business during the difficulties of the “Great Pause of 2020”.

Welcome to “International Networking Week”

Please share this video with your chapter members this week during your BNI meeting.

This is the perfect time to recognize someone and say “thank you” in appreciation for what they have contributed to your life and your business. Thank someone in person (or online) during your BNI meeting this week or at any networking event celebrating “International Networking Week”. Furthermore, consider posting a thank you message on social media using the hashtags #aWorldofThanks and #INW2021 with your post.

Video Contest Winner

Thank you to all that submitted your video entry for this contest. I am honored to announce that Paul Richardson of the BNI Crossroads Chapter is the winner of the 2021 “International Networking Week” Video Contest. Please take a moment and click here to watch this award-winning video of Paul thanking fellow BNI member Caroline Matte of the BNI Champlain Valley Chapter who made a difference in his life.  Paul will have his business, and his BNI chapter in Vermont, USA, featured globally on BNI’s social media pages and featured in SuccessNet™ this week.

A World of Thanks

In conclusion, I would like to end by thanking the following BNI leaders for writing guest blogs during International Networking Week for my website:

 Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2021!

 

2021 International Networking Week

2021 International Networking Weekstring(34) "2021 International Networking Week"

The 2021 International Networking Week is just around the corner. Fourteen years ago, I helped BNI® launch an initiative we called International Networking Week which is held during the first week in February of every year. This initiative continues to grow year after year and it is open to ALL businesses around the world.  It provides business leaders a chance to celebrate networking by providing gratitude and appreciation for those people who are in their networks.

This will be a week of global recognition and gratitude from February 1 to 6, 2021 to thank those business owners who have helped you to grow your business while networking. Therefore, it’s time to build your powerful personal network now. Invite various business owners who helped you to grow your business to your BNI online chapter to network and to recognize the power of networking. Watch our promo video for the 14th Annual International Networking Week.

Announcing the 14th annual 

International Networking Week

The 2021 International Networking Week theme is A World of Thanks”

Building on last year’s success, we are continuing this initiative by connecting the BNI core values of Recognition and Building Relationships through a program we’re calling, “A World of Thanks”. Studies show that gratitude improves the connection between people and enhances trust.  This, in turn, actually improves performance. Please use these hashtags when posting your thank you messages, photos, or invitations on social media: #WorldOfThanks  #INW21

2021 International Networking Week Video Contest

“Thank you’s” make a difference. So, I ask you to take this opportunity to thank someone who has helped you in some important way.  Thank them in person, in writing, or on social media.  But thank someone who has been there for you or your organization. We are looking for your story and we would love stories from every country worldwide. Please create a 30-90 second testimonial video of your story expressing gratitude to another BNI member who helped you this year. The submission deadline has been extended to January 15, 2021. Submit the video at https://internationalnetworkingweek.com/

I would like to take this opportunity to be the first to thank BNI leaders and members.

2020 was the most challenging year I’ve ever seen for business people around the world.  I am incredibly proud of how members and BNI leaders got focused by fear and not frozen by fear.  We watched people come together to support one another both personally and professionally. BNI members have told me that they are proud to be part of this organization, and so am I.  I was humbled by what I saw happen last year and I want to thank everyone for living the philosophy of Givers Gain and being there to support the people in your network.

I would like to especially thank the following BNI leaders for agreeing to participate as an International Networking Week guest blogger this year.  Look for their articles about “A World of Thanks” on my website during the week of February 1 to 6, 2021.

  •  Frank De Raffele   BNI USA
  • Avryl Au                    BNI Thailand
  • Bijay Shah                BNI UAE
  • Diana Ninsiima      BNI Uganda   
  • Tiago da Cunha      BNI Spain SLC

See, it’s that easy to thank someone.  Now it’s your turn.  Be specific and have it come from the heart. Take a minute to think of people you can thank during the week of February 1 to 6, and celebrate The 2021 International Networking Week with us.  You, and they – will be glad you did.

Frederick Marcoux

Say thank you and thrive! – by Frederick Marcouxstring(54) "Say thank you and thrive! – by Frederick Marcoux"

International Networking Week®: “A Week of One Million Thank You’s” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Frederick Marcoux, National Director – BNI Australia

Frederick Marcoux

This year’s International Networking Week theme is “One Million Thank You’s”. In Australia we’re really excited about this really engaging and meaningful theme! Saying “thank you” has a strong place in our culture. Furthermore, expressing gratitude and saying thank you is easy, fun and uplifting to give and receive. Therefore, this is really important and we’re doing it a million times during International Networking Week 2020!

Thank you to our amazing firefighters and other volunteers

The world press gave massive coverage to the bushfires happening in many parts of our country. We are still coming to grips with what 12 million acres of burned bushland and 1 billion animals killed means. However, many are suffering from the loss of loved ones and their property. Therefore, we are grateful to our amazing firefighters and other volunteers helping to address these challenges.

BNI Foundation Australia says Thank You!

We are grateful to BNI Global, BNI Members and Directors and others from 12+ countries who donated so far to the BNI Foundation Australia’s bushfires fundraising efforts (www.gofundme.com/bnifoundationaustralia). The funds will be used to help children and young people impacted by the bushfires. Furthermore, the GoFundMe organization itself donated $1,000 to our cause, and we are very grateful for that!

Resilience through abundance

Frederick MarcouxWe are very proud that BNI helps improve business resilience through the powerful support network we provide for business through our Chapters. It’s well documented that one of the top reasons for business failure in Australia is lack of support. Givers Gain® is serious business. Last year, the members of BNI in Australia generated $0.5 billion of additional revenue through a quarter of a million referrals. Members supported each other this way without expecting anything in return. This is an amazing display of abundance thinking and trust in the idea that “what goes around comes around”. This is why I believe that in BNI we support business by creating “Resilience through Abundance”.  The meaning of those few words put together is readily understood by business people experienced in our Givers Gain® philosophy.

Say thank you and thrive!

There are many more reasons to say “thank you”. In most cultures, the desire to be appreciated is common. It’s well documented that receiving thanks can have a profound impact on someone’s outlook on the day, on the week or even on their future. Does that sound a bit exaggerated? However, I don’t think so. The best job I ever had was when my accomplishments and efforts were regularly recognized and gratefully appreciated by my superiors.  Furthermore, there are even studies that show that someone regularly expressing gratitude has better heart health and more disease-fighting cells in their body!

Thank you Leaders of BNI in Australia

Frederick MarcouxGreat Leaders develop and nurture more Leaders, and BNI in Australia has many leaders who do just that! Therefore, BNI in Australia has more Franchisees than ever before thanks to the abundance mindset and awesome leadership of the Executive Director Team. A few months ago at the Global Convention in Poland, BNI Australia was awarded the “2019 Global Award for Franchise Development”. This means that Australia is the most developed “Franchised BNI Country” in the world today. Furthermore, that is thanks to the amazing collaborative spirit of our team. Therefore, in the spirit of recognition and expressing gratitude, it’s appropriate to acknowledge those who have contributed to this massive achievement:

  • Bob Greenup, Executive Director BNI Sydney Central for referring us Ilona Teremi the Executive Director of BNI Gold Coast. Plus, Paul English the Executive Director for BNI NSW South.
  • Braith Bamkin, Executive Director BNI Melbourne Central for referring us Lisa Thomas, Executive Director BNI Melbourne North and Helen Searle Executive Director BNI Melbourne West
  • Graham West, Executive Director BNI Melbourne East for introducing us David Harris
  • Glenn Anthoney, Former Executive Director of BNI Sydney North West for referring us Rebecca Raad, Executive Director BNI Sydney North West. Plus, Alison Attard, Executive Director BNI Sydney South West
  • Ilona Teremi, Executive Director BNI Gold Coast for referring us David McLean. Plus, Jeannie Anderson, Executive Directors for BNI Brisbane South East
  • Leisa Gill, Executive Director BNI Brisbane South West and Toowoomba without whom One Brisbane would not have been possible
  • Rob Warburton Executive Director for BNI Sydney North East for introducing us to Andrew Sim
  • Simon Derrick-Roberts, Executive Director for BNI Adelaide CBD and South for referring us Simone Douglas, Executive Director BNI Adelaide South

Finally, I would like to wish everyone an insanely great International Networking Week® 2020!

Frederick MarcouxNational Director – BNI Australia

 

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Sam Schwartz

One Billion Thank You’s – by Sam Schwartz and Yarden Noystring(64) "One Billion Thank You’s – by Sam Schwartz and Yarden Noy"

International Networking Week®: “A Week of One Million Thank You’s” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Sam Schwartz and Yarden Noy, National Directors – BNI Israel

Sam SchwartzYarden Noy

 

International Networking Week has a special place in the BNI Israel history. When it was first announced about 13 years ago, we decided to have our annual conference at the same time. This year’s theme is “One Million Thank You’s” we would like to change it to “One Billion Thank You’s” because in the last six years BNI Israel members reported / Generated on over “1 Billion Israeli shekels” thank you for close business. This is incredible.

We would like this opportunity and thank Dr. Misner for creating this amazing organization that is Changing the Way the World Does Business® influencing the economy of the small and medium businesses in Israel.

An attitude of gratitude it’s not a simple and easy thing to have and changing a culture to adopt it is even harder, but over the last 15 years since BNI was introduced to Israel, we were able to have thousands of members and directors that adopted this attitude doing business Locally Nationally and Internationally with BNI member all over the world.

According to the Israeli government statistics, the SME in Israel is responsible for 61% of the job in the commercial sector, generating 53% of the product and services that generate 78% from all the new net employment. We are proud to help our members and the economy to be successful.

BNI is not only a “Business Generating System” it’s a family!

We have a member Tomer Mor (photo above) that his parents went to Canada in 2018 for their Anniversary. His father felt some headaches and he was planning to go to visit the doctor but on his way, he fell asleep at the steering wheel. His mother woke him up at the last minute and took over driving. They went to the emergency care in the hospital where he had a CT done. They found 2 aneurysms: one new and one old and the brain was damaged, he was transferred by ambulance to a bigger hospital in Halifax which was an hour and a half away from the first hospital, he was hospitalized and waited for surgery.

The car they rented was at the old hospital and all their belongings were at the hotel. The family in Israel was worried and tried to find a solution to help the parents.

Tomer reached out to Hazel Walker which he met in the prior year when she was a keynote speaker at BNI Israel Conference. He knew she owned the territory in Canada. Hazel connected him immediately to Mike and Megan, owners of the BNI franchise in Halifax. They immediately took over and said, “Don’t worry. We will meet your mother tomorrow. We will take the keys and we will bring the car and your belonging to the hospital”. It took them over six hours on Friday to do all of this. They asked nothing in return! Tomer met with them after his father’s operation to offer to compensate them for all that trouble and they refused. So a big, big Thank You to Mike and Megan for the help and support.

A Week of One Million Thank You’s

We would like to thank our Members and our Executive Teams who trust us and followed the BNI system in an organization that changed their life. “One Billion Thank You’s” from the bottom of a heart to Dr. Misner and the BNI Global Support Team.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2020!

Sam Schwartz and Yarden Noy National Directors – BNI Israel

Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot

La Gratitude en France – by Jessica Gomplewicz-Milotstring(58) "La Gratitude en France – by Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot"

International Networking Week®: “A Week of One Million Thank You’s” stories from various international BNI leaders

by Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot, Directrice Nationale, BNI France et Belgique francophone

Saying thank you in France and receiving gratitude can be sometimes a bit tricky. Of course, you might have heard about how negative French people can be sometimes, but it is a bit more complicated than this! Let me give you a few explanations.

If you think about it, this difficulty to accept AND give gratitude starts in schools. While American teachers grade from 100% and then reduce the grade when they find mistakes in an essay or an exercise, French teachers start from 0 and add up points when you do good. It ranges from 0 to 20, the latter being perfection. You really have to prove that you are worth something, and it should suffice you. Having often 18/20 grades means you will be the top student of your class. If you get grades like 12/20 you are good enough to pass like most students, and below 10/20 means starting a schoolyear over again. 20 is not often, if ever, given. This is a good example of how French people have trouble recognizing their worth and accept and value gratitude. A lot of them are not cheer on or thanked for their hard work, and it almost feels too much when those moments of recognition arrive.

Take the French language for instance: many reactions to compliments or signs of gratitude consist in diminishing what they accomplished. “You shouldn’t have.” “It’s nothing really!” “It’s natural/normal, don’t worry about it.” “No, no; I’m nothing special really.” All these are quite common to say.

A Week of One Million Thank You’s

Thankfully we still exchange formally gratitude, especially in the workplace, through letters, thank-you notes, emails or, and that is the best possible option, gifts and food. If you want to wow a French person at the end of the year and express gratitude, chocolates, regional specialties and treats are always very happily received. It sounds a bit cliché but it’s true! Pro tip: this also works if you want to make amends for any misunderstanding or wrongs that happened along the path.

If your French coworker has trouble thanking you during the year, but later sends you a letter, an email, or even better, one of their regional products, you know they truly value you and the work you put in.

The key point that I want to make here is this: compared to American people for example, it can be trickier to make French people literally say “Thank you!” or to get the point across when you want to thank them. However, once they truly see the intentions and gratitude you give, and what they can give in returns, it creates long-lasting trust and bonds.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2020!

Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot| Directrice Nationale – BNI France et Belgique francophone

Here are a few messages of gratitude from our Members towards their Chapters.

Patricia Mancini

Member of BNI Bierset Liège net

“ “…you’re the right person for us in finance, credit and investment.”

What a pleasure to hear that, and what a boost to my self-confidence thanks to my Chapter and an organization that allow me to thrive… I say thank you to them, they understood that human contact allows real exchanges and real business.”

See the article (in French) https://bnisuccessnet.fr/actualites/25-temoignage/1169-temoignage-seul-le-contact-humain-permet-de-faire-des-vrais-echanges

Florian Branche

Member of BNI Argelès Success

“ BNI accelerated my professional life, I met the right people in the right place. I have changed my professional life and made friends. I get up at 5am once a week with a smile on my face to have fun!”

See the article (in French)

https://bnisuccessnet.fr/actualites/25-temoignage/1140-temoignage-grace-a-bni-je-n-ai-jamais-prospecte

Cécile Jamelot

Member of BNI Namur Capitale,

“I accepted the role of President because it is in line with my job: giving wings to companies, but above all to the people who are part of them. It’s a way for me to highlight each Member. I try to bring out the best in them and that each one can give to receive.”`

See the article (in French)

https://bnisuccessnet.fr/actualites/18-success-stories/1137-successtory-j-ai-beaucoup-recu-de-bni-donner-est-un-juste-retour-des-choses

Tim Roberts

Thanking Those Who Provided The Opportunity – by Tim Robertsstring(66) "Thanking Those Who Provided The Opportunity – by Tim Roberts"

International Networking Week®: “A Week of One Million Thank You’s” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Tim Roberts, National Director – BNI United States of America

Tim Roberts

This week, BNI celebrates International Networking Week and its Million Thank You initiative. It reminds me of how important it is to think about those who have made significant impacts on our lives that may not have been obvious at that moment in time.  Who helped you with what may have seemed like an insignificant act that, through the butterfly effect, changed the course of your business or life forever?

Thank You, Seth Tebbetts

For me, it is Seth Tebbetts, a BNI member in the BNI Power Partners chapter in Nashua NH and owner of the Tebbetts Insurance Agency.  Back in 2002, Seth was a recruiter for another insurance company. He gave me an opportunity to chase my dream of being an entrepreneur.  Seth was able to help me see the possibility of unlimited growth and face the fears of uncertainty.  If it were not for Seth I would have ended up in a management program after graduation. I know I would have hated this and who knows where my path would have led.

I was very familiar with BNI at the time because of the involvement of my parents. However, I would not have been able to become a member if I did not decide to go work with Seth.  This decision led me down an amazing path: from a struggling member getting little results, to a successful member, to finding my passion for BNI, to working BNI fulltime, to becoming an Executive Director owning multiple franchises of BNI. Now, I am the U.S. National Director.  While there are countless people who I can and should thank along this now 18-year journey, it is Seth who helped me take the very first step.  There is no way either of us knew at the time that this is where it would all lead, but that is not the point.

A Week of One Million Thank You’s

I challenge all of us to think back and thank those whom without we would not be where we are today.  I often speak to BNI members and ask them, “When was the last time they thanked the person who initially invited them to their chapter?”  We also make sure to thank the person who just gave us a referral. However, without that initial invite, EVERY referral we have or will receive from BNI would never have happened.

Thank you, Seth, for convincing me to take the leap of faith to become an entrepreneur. Thank you for helping me be able to get involved in an organization that has made such an impact on my family and me.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2020!

Tim Roberts National Director – BNI United States of America

 

One Million Thank Yous

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Welcome to the 13th annual “International Networking Week®”. During this first week in February, we at BNI and other organizations around the world celebrate networking worldwide. “International Networking Week” is an initiative of BNI created  13 years ago. This year, we are asking you to help us to spread One Million Thank Yous all around the world. Therefore, please provide gratitude and appreciation for those who helped us to grow our businesses this week. I would appreciate sharing this video with your chapter members as the “Educational Moment” this week. Thank you.

With gratitude, I believe, comes stronger connections. Think about those who’ve helped you throughout your journey. Have you thanked them? Well during “International Networking Week”, we invite you to do so. We all have people who are in our story, people who have helped us in some way. This is the perfect time to reach out and tell them “thank you” for what they have contributed to your life and to your business.

Identify those people and give them “The Gift of Recognition”. You can even thank someone at your BNI meeting or at a networking event this week. Demonstrate your gratitude for the things that they have done for you. Therefore, you can also consider sending a letter or thanking them on social media using the hashtags #BNIthankyou and #INW2020 with your posts. The truth is that the goodwill that you demonstrate will draw others to you just like a magnet.

With gratitude, I want to begin this week by thanking “YOU”. With your passionate commitment to networking, BNI is continuing to impact and enhance lives all around the world and I appreciate you. Furthermore, feel free to share in the comments about someone that you appreciate and thank them here for something that they have done in your life.

One Million Thank Yous

In conclusion, I want to say thank you to the following BNI National Directors for writing guests blogs for International Networking Week about “gratitude” this week:

 X
Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2020!

 

2020 International Networking Week

2020 International Networking Week ®string(37) "2020 International Networking Week ®"

The 2020 International Networking Week ® is an initiative of BNI®. It is an opportunity for business owners to show appreciation for their valued customers and contacts from networking.

This will be a week of global recognition and gratitude from February 2 through 8, 2020 to thank those business owners who have helped you to grow your business while networking. Furthermore, this year’s action item is to recognize and thank those people in your BNI chapter, chamber of commerce,  and other networking organizations. Take a moment to say, “Thank You” in person, in your meeting, and on various social media platforms.
 X
The focus of International Networking Week is to bring together representatives of government, businesses and community leaders from around the world to network and to recognize the power of networking. Speakers will offer advice and information on how businesses can grow and succeed through good networking practices.
X
The 13th Annual 2020 International Networking Week is just around the corner. Therefore, it’s time to build your powerful personal network now. Invite various business owners who have helped you to grow your business to your BNI chapter or to your networking mixer. Invite them to network and to recognize the power of networking from February 2 through 8, 2020. Check out the promo video for the 13th Annual 2020 International Networking Week. Please use the hashtag with your photos and posts: #INW2020

 

The 2020 International Networking Week theme is “One Million Thank Yous”

Expressing gratitude completes the feeling of connection. Many people in your life have helped you in one way or another. Therefore, have you thanked them? Consider sending a letter to someone telling them what their actions meant to you, even if—especially if—it happened long ago.   It costs little or nothing. Furthermore, it almost always follows suit that they will demonstrate their gratitude for what you do.

When you show an interest in others by noticing the good things they’ve done; they will be drawn to you like a magnet.  Therefore, it will accelerate the relationship-building process and enhance their overall impression of you.”

In conclusion, the goal of International Networking Week is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Networking events are being held globally to celebrate International Networking Week. For more information about these international events during the first week of February or to promote your local networking event on our 2020 International Networking Week website please see: internationalnetworkingweek.com

Making Dreams Come True – by Kollakit Thalerngnawachartstring(61) "Making Dreams Come True – by Kollakit Thalerngnawachart"

International Networking Week: “A New World of Opportunity” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Kollakit Thalerngnawachart

National Director – BNI Thailand

Kollakit Thalerngnawachart

As Thailand is one of the Asian Countries, SMEs in Thailand has always dreamed to grow their business globally, but never have a supportive platform and system to make such Dream come true.

In Thailand, relationship is the key to success in business. To build relationship, it takes a lot of time to get to know, and to make people like and  trust before doing business. With BNI platform and the business referral community, we create “A New World of Opportunity” to local SMEs (BNI Members) to connect faster with other BNI members in 74+ countries with over 240,000 businesses around the world who may want to source from Thailand products to serve their customers.  Our Members can do business across the globe with other BNI members through BNI Mobile application and can shorten the time to build relationship and start to do business faster.

One of our BNI Thailand Member who is “Local Wooden Furniture Manufacturer” and used to manufacture for other people brands at low price for many years.  After she joined BNI Chapter in Bangkok Thailand, she got support from other BNI members in her chapter to give her advices to change her business model to build her own brand-named products, so she can get away from price competition and to focus on her passion to innovate new design furniture.  Since she started to promote her business at BNI Thailand National Conference and met with BNI Member from Hong Kong who is Interior Designer and looked for sourcing new design furniture for her condominium customers.  With trust as BNI Family, she got initial orders to export to Hong Kong and that was “A New World of Opportunity” for her company.  Now she is expanding her new factory and showroom.  She also exhibited her products at BNI Global Convention 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand and got a lot of interest from BNI worldwide.  Thank you BNI Thailand Mr. Kollakit Thalerngnawachart, National Director for bring BNI into Thailand and Thank you to Dr. Ivan Misner for creating BNI into this world and give us a hope to serve more and become more.”

I am so inspired of her story and feel very happy for her success.  After her success story, we start to have more BNI Members who want to grow their business worldwide and plan to visit BNI in other countries. I am so proud of being part of BNI organization and thank you for Dr. Ivan Misner (Chief Visionary Officer and  Founder) and Mr. Graham Weihmiller (BNI Chief Executive Officer) for creating BNI for SMEs around the world and support their dream to the next level.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2019!

Kollakit Thalerngnawachart National Director – BNI Thailand

Graham Southwell

Changing the Way the World Does Business – by Graham Southwellstring(68) "Changing the Way the World Does Business – by Graham Southwell"

International Networking Week: “A New World of Opportunity” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Graham Southwell

National Director – BNI New Zealand

 

International Networking Week has come around again. The theme this year is “A new world of opportunity’ and as I sit here thinking about the various activities we have planned this year, I find myself reflecting upon the changes that have taken place in BNI since we first got underway in New Zealand, some 20 years ago.  To say a lot has changed since those days is an understatement!  The business landscape back then would seem very strange to today’s Millennials.  The internet was only starting to gain traction, business websites were still ‘cutting edge’ and communication tended to be by telephone, letter or fax.  The opportunities to connect and network today compared to those times is astounding. Imagine a world in which there was no smart phone, google, text messaging, What’s App, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc!  And yet, this is the world into which we launched BNI in NZ.

Since those times, not only has the world changed, but the organisation has evolved with it – truly embracing new opportunities as they presented themselves. BNI has transformed from what was essentially a family business into a national and then international organisation – and today is truly a Global Organisation.  Just this week for example, I received an email from a member in Singapore, seeking an introduction into our dairy industry. In those early days, I remember entering member application forms onto an Access database – which I duly backed up every few days, storing the discs off site.  Today of course we have a global database in BNI Connect – who would have thought that we would end up with the entire business being stored in the cloud!  Dr Ivan Misner led the change and was always quick to embrace new opportunities.  He held the vision of a single global dataset and at the same time was the first person I knew to start writing a weekly blog, to use social media for business and to start producing weekly podcasts.  For the first time members had direct access to the founder of BNI and we had a solution to the problem of the proverbial ‘leaky bucket’.  Last year, the app was added to the BNI stable – and more recently through the app, the opportunity to pass referrals to members anywhere in the world.  BNI University has added a new level of opportunity in terms of training and upskilling and on it goes.  I don’t see the pace of change slowing anytime soon!

If 20 years ago I had had a crystal ball and could have seen what was coming – I might have thought that BNI would have a very limited future.  Who would have thought that today – with so many opportunities to network and pass business online – that there would still be a call for people to come together to meet over breakfast!  In fact, BNI is growing faster now than at any time in our 34-year history, Changing the Way the World Does Business through our structured word of mouth marketing campaign, our core values to include Givers Gain and through engaging with the very communities in which we are doing business – through the Business Voices campaign.  In New Zealand this takes the form of our support for hospice and our funding of Hospice New Zealand’s Palliative Care programme.  In addition, the various chapter led fundraising activities have now raised close to NZ$2 million dollars for hospice.  BNI truly is a remarkable organisation, the opportunities going forward are exciting and it is an absolute honour to head up BNI in this part of the world.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2019!

Graham Southwell National Director – BNI New Zealand

Paolo Mariola

Collaborating Instead of Competing – by Paolo Mariolastring(59) "Collaborating Instead of Competing – by Paolo Mariola"

International Networking Week: “A New World of Opportunity” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Paolo Mariola

National Director – BNI Italia

Paolo Mariola

When we talk about work, or more generally about the changes we are dealing with everyday, a word is often recurrent: the word opportunity. A word that, in the right phrase at the right time, create in the listener a series of thoughts, and hopes of reaching a goal or to realize a project. One of the synonyms of opportunity is a favorable occasion, that brings with it a positive change (almost everytime). And if we think about it, we live in an age where many opportunities are at hand. But above all, we live in what we could define the most relational age ever. The age in which relationships are not a way but a real aim.

When I think about this, I begin to reflect on the great opportunities that referral marketing has brought and continues to bring to professionals and entrepreneurs all over the world. And I always pause on one in particular. When we talk about marketing strategies, we usually declare “beat the competitors”, “doing better than competitors”…and so on. Referral Marketing turns upside down this point of view by finding in collaboration and not in competition the real opportunity for growth starting from a precise assumption: the global result coming from collaboration is larger than the sum of the single results that would be obtained individually. It is an approach to the business world that looks at the Other not as a competitor but as an opportunity: a great resource from a professional, intellectual, human point of view, able of enriching us and giving us the possibility to reach goals that we would not be able to reach alone.

For years I have worked as an entrepreneur in information technology and business processes. I have always realized that if I had tried to go on looking only at my interest or I had kept for me every business opportunity that came from my client, I could not say today that I had succeeded as entrepreneur. One of the fundamentals of my success, is that I have always been able to have competent and specialized people around me in those fields where I was not up to the task or who did not represent my specific preparation

Seeing today many Italian entrepreneurs and professionals who apply this approach to their business is certainly one of the things that makes me proud. Approaching the market by practicing the culture of abundance brings positive benefits for the customer, for suppliers, for the market and for the whole economy in a larger scale. Therefore, thanks to Referral Marketing and the culture of abundance, a new world of opportunity opens up to us. An opportunity as big as the world.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2019!

Paolo Mariola National Director – BNI Italia

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