#WorldofThanks Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®

A More Purposeful Life (by Bijay and Anna Shah)

International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Bijay Rajnikantt Shah and Anna ShahBNI National Directors – BNI United Arab Emirates

BijayThe United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a beloved home for people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, and cultures. It has been more than a second home for hundreds of thousands of ex-pats, that have come to this gracious land and made a living, started families, and made life-long friends. With generations of families being settled in this Middle-Eastern country, the new-generation even considers the UAE as their first and ONLY home.

When Anna & I first moved to the UAE, BNI was not on our radar and we had no plans to make it our permanent home. We were just exploring what could be possible and if there might be any opportunities for us to make a good living and build a future for ourselves.

We came here knowing only 2 people in 2004. Fast forward 16 years later and we can proudly call the UAE our permanent home. Our 13-year-old son Aryan is born here and he considers this to be his first and only home. We are surrounded by an active community of over 600 givers in BNI and over the years made connections with thousands more both locally and globally.

As we celebrate the 14th International Networking Week and its theme “A World of Thanks”, Anna & I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to the following people for what and who were are today:

Bijay and Anna Shah share a “World of Thanks”

  • Dr. Ivan Misner & the late Elisabeth Misner for creating this amazing organization that is truly Changing the Way the World Does Business®. Over the last 16 years, the BNI system has helped generate over US$ 440 Million in new business for our members in the UAE.
  • Under the Leadership of our CEO, Graham Weihmiller, and the support of the BNI Global Support Team, the last 5 years have seen exemplary progress in our technology and systems – creating a pathway to an even stronger and brighter future both for ourselves and our members.
  • Our Members and our Executive Teams who trust us and followed the BNI system in an organization that changed their life. Their continued support and enthusiasm are what keeps us motivated in doing what we do every day.
  • Lastly and most importantly, the leaders of this great country we now call our permanent home – the UAE. The UAE has also taught so many to dream big and to keep thriving until they achieve success, all being the influence of the great and visionary leader, H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

H.H. Sheikh Zayed’s legacy is indispensable to healing the fractures of a world that is being disfigured by demagoguery and divisive politics. Upholding human dignity – treating “every person, no matter what his creed or race, as a special soul”, as he put it – was his principal objective in public life. He emphasized the urgency of opening up opportunities in “all sectors” for women and warned that no society that excluded half its citizens could prosper. He welcomed people from every part of the world with open arms, transforming the UAE into one of the most pluralistic societies in the world.

The momentous change over which Sheikh Zayed presided was never, in his eyes, a departure from the heritage of the UAE but an affirmation of its finest aspects. The true genius of culture and society lay, he believed, in their capacity to adapt and thrive in a changing world. A cursory glance at the Middle East shows how right he was – and how well he prepared the UAE for the 21st Century. In a region characterized by strife and conflict, the UAE is not only a haven of stability and prosperity but also the place where the future is imagined and brought into being. At the same time, it has given so munificently to the less fortunate that it has gained recognition as the most generous donor of aid on earth.

We owe a World of Thanks to all of the people mentioned above for helping us find meaning and making our life more purposeful – Thank you!

Bijay Rajnikantt Shah and Anna Shah | BNI United Arab Emirates National Directors

#BijayShah   #AnnaShah   #BNIUAE  

Tiago

The Language of Thanks (by Tiago Henriques da Cunha)

International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Tiago Henriques da Cunha, National DirectorBNI Spain SLC

TiagoIn 2021, BNI invites you to celebrate a World of Thanks! A World of Thanks is a universal and wonderful pledge!

All cultures have a way to express thankfulness. In Portuguese we say “Obrigado”, in French “Merci”, in German “Danke”… but although all these different ways of expressing our positive feelings about something someone has done for us are unique, they all add something special and distinct.

 

I believe from my experience that a glimpse on these ways to say “Thanks” makes our Thanking much more joyful and meaningful.

World of Thanks in Spanish is “Mundo de Gracias” to Tiago

The Spanish word “Gracias” has the same Latin origin as “Gratitud” or “Grace”. So when we say “Gracias” in Spain (or in Latin America), we are telling people that we are “Grateful” and that we wish them to be filled with Grace.

This has a poetic flavor, and it evokes for me the “Law of Reciprocity”: what goes around, comes around. In Spanish culture, saying “Gracias” is not just a word, but something that builds our relationship with that person. Where does this relate to the idea of Networking? I think it has everything to do with it!

Through Networking we should build meaningful relationships with people. Get to know them well, help them in any way that seems appropriate and possible, and yes… thank them when they do something positive for us. Through our Networking endeavors, we build positive, self-fulfilling Communities around us. When we thank people, we are generating well-being and well-feeling. And for that, I think that here lies the power of saying “Gracias”. What better way there is to build those communities than to tell people we are grateful and that we wish them to be full of Grace! That’ is one of the reasons I think Networking is so strong within the Spanish culture (although there is no direct Spanish word for it).

In Spain, relationships are a key part of our culture. People just love to be with other people, from big family gatherings to staying out late on the terrace chatting about anything. So networking comes naturally to Spaniards. Saying “Gracias” was very important to me when I started working in Spain. Coming from a very close country (Portugal), I had to make some adjustments to the way I interact with people. I soon come to discover the uniqueness of saying “Gracias”. In just 9 years, we have created a community of almost 9000 committed people who network together and thank each other every week. Through that journey, I discovered that when really meant, to say “Gracias” is a powerful and truthful relationship builder. No long-term positive relationship is possible without the mindset that saying “Gracias” represents and demonstrates.

So I would like to say “Gracias” to all the people who have helped me on this wonderful journey of developing BNI in Spain: our Members, Executive Directors, Directors and Ambassadors, National Office colleagues, both past and present, and especially to my family. To them, I wish “Un Mundo de Gracias”, a “World of Thanks”, a “World of Graces” during International Networking Week® 2021

Tiago Henriques da Cunha | BNI Spain SLC National Director     

#BNIespanaSLC   #Tiagodacunha

INW

We Care, We Share (by Avryl Au)

International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Avryl Au, BNI National Director – BNI Thailand, BNI Macau & Hong Kong, China

AvrylWhat a great theme, “A World of Thanks”, is to kick start the year.  Each week on Monday, it is my team tradition when we meet to plan for the week ahead that we share gratitude and thank someone in mind. We often send a caring message to team members who cannot attend due to caring for their own family needs. I am thankful we have a team that sets priorities right, family is our highest priority to care for. We often have full participation every Monday morning. For that, I am thankful to my team of Directors and Ambassadors of KL West and KL South, Malaysia.

I want to say a special thank you to the INW Committee 2020 and continuing to 2021, Desmond Sia, Daisy Lee, Wong Chee How, and Andrew Hooi. Together with a very supportive team of assistants from throughout the regions, INW2020 made history in BNI by introducing a bigger vision and the possibility of Diamond Chapters. The result was 3 double diamond chapters are now in existence, in less than 12 months from the event. The first two were kicked off in 6 months. I sincerely thank the INW Diamond committee for making the historical event.

AvrylAvryl

Avryl thanks her INW teams

In the upcoming INW2021 event on 1 Feb, the same committee has extended the theme  “A World of Thanks”, by encouraging the entire region to care more and share more of their success stories to impact those who are already in BNI and to those that are not yet in BNI. The event’s purpose is to showcase the effectiveness of BNI through the power of stories. They have put together a range of success stories from members who have given beyond expectations for the community they are in. This year the event is online and it is easier to share our stories with the whole world.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Directors, Ambassadors, Leadership Teams, Subject Matter Experts, and Trainers for their persistence and patience to support every member in 2020, one of the most difficult years for a large majority of us. A special mention to Pava and Yee Peng who has walked the extra mile to push forward and accepted more responsibilities for the good of others.

My sincere appreciation to everyone for making my journey in BNI for the last 20 years,  very memorable and fun.

Avryl Au |  KL West & KL South Regions, and Klang Valley, BNI Malaysia Executive Director

#BNIMalaysia #BNIChina  #AvrylAu

Frank

Changing the Way the World Does Business® (by Frank De Raffele Jr.)

International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Frank De Raffele Jr., BNI Executive Director, Hudson Valley Regions (New York, USA)

FrankAmericans are Too Selfish

What if I told you that I had wanted to get 80,000 people together in the USA to help grow each other’s businesses? Would you think Frank was crazy? Would you say it is impossible? Would you say to me, “Frank, Americans would never do that, they are too focused on themselves, they are too independent, they are too selfish”?

Well, they’re not.  For the last 36 years, hundreds of thousands of American business owners and sales professionals have worked together under the banner of BNI to live a Givers Gain life and to make a difference in each other’s lives.  For over one-third of a century, Americans with their entrepreneurial spirit have been thanking each other for referral business through BNI.

Frank’s Great Memory 

A few years back I was at a BNI chapter meeting.  Toward the end of the meeting, which is when everyone “gives back” to the chapter, a gentleman stood up and shared a big event he had going on that day.  He told the chapter of an appointment he had that morning to close the largest deal ever for his company.  It was NOT a BNI referral.  It was something he had been working on himself for over 3 years.  He was just so excited and proud of finally making it happen he wanted to share it with his “BNI family.”  When he finished telling of his accomplishment the room went wild.  Everyone stood up, applauded, hollered, shook his hand, and hugged him.

As I watched this happen, I thought, “This is amazing.  Where else does this happen?”  Where do you find a group of people who receive no benefit from your business yet are truly excited and happy for your success?  How crazy is it to have a group of people who want to help you grow your business, success, and desired lifestyle?  After, he said his family didn’t even react as his BNI chapter did.

I am Thankful

It hit me hard that morning how lucky and thankful I am for this lifestyle I lead. Through BNI I have built a community of people who are focused on growing their business by first helping others grow theirs.  A community of like-minded people who believe, live and practice Givers Gain.

In 2021 I am thankful for every Nurse, Doctor, Firefighter, EMT, and Police Officer that risks their lives every day for me. Someone they don’t even know. I am thankful for my wife that has put up with me for 30+ years. (God Bless Her!)  I am thankful for the person I am today because of my Mom and Dad.  They were amazing people and parents who taught my sisters and me the value of hard work, respect, honesty and giving to others.  The amazing part is that they didn’t talk much about giving to others, they just did it. My sisters and I learned it by watching them live it.

Finally, I am thankful for a man back in 1985 that decided the way for him to make more money at his business was to put a “referral group” together using the philosophy of Givers Gain.  A simple idea, that became a Global Network called BNI, and for 36 years has been, “Changing the way the world does business.”

My life has been affected in ways that Dr. Misner will never know.  That my family will never know. But I know. I know that I am a better person today than I was 28+ years ago when I first became a member. Thank you, Dr. Ivan Misner, and every leader I have met in BNI that has made me the person I am today.

Frank De Raffele Jr. | BNI Hudson Valley Regions Executive Director

#FrankDeRaffele #BNIUSA   

INW

Diana

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 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!

 

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