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BNI 1It’s that time of year again … award season!

Hollywood’s got The Oscars, London celebrates The Brits – and Sydney recently glammed up for the BNI Sydney CBD South Red Carpet Awards.

Hosted by Bob and Louise Greenup, the Executive Directors of BNI Sydney CBD South, the Red Carpet Awards honour BNI chapters as well as individual BNI members’ achievements during the previous year.

From Most Valuable Player 2013 (as voted on contribution by chapter members) in each chapter, via Gold and Black Belt Networkers 2013 (more than 50 and 100 one-on-one meetings per calendar year, respectively), to that most coveted of awards – Chapter of the Year 2013 – the anticipation was once again building and building in the room this year.

Who would be the winner for 2013?


BNI All About (BNI AAB) Business Takes Top Prize

Our chapter, like many others in the region, had been working hard to keep improving and adding to past achievements – and it showed. The standards were high and competition was stiff.

At our tables the tension and excitement was almost palpable as we got closer and closer to that final award announcement. BNI All About Business had already been able to proudly celebrate a top-tier number of Gold Networkers and receiving two of only three Black Belt Networker awards.

But would we take out the top prize?

BNI All About Business is a vocal bunch, and I am sure they heard our excited and happy whoops a few blocks down the road when we were declared Chapter of the Year 2013!

How Did We Get Here?

“It takes a true team effort to win the coveted BNI Chapter of the Year award,” says our President Sergio Porfirio.

So, what makes us at BNI All About Business different?

Vision & Purpose – We created a Vision Statement for our chapter in 2011: “All About Business is the most trusted business community in Australia, and we go beyond business.” That vision encourages us to develop our relationships personally, professionally, and within the community. Being clear that our chapter exists for a purpose means all of us individually have a greater than usual commitment to the group as a whole.

Strategy – We have a rotating group of members who meet to steer the ship, assist the leadership, and provide a sounding board for member feedback. Different to the Membership Committee, this Strategic Advisory Board is tasked with protecting the vision while leveraging all the structure and policies of BNI.

Commitment & Engagement – One of the benefits of having a shared vision is that BNI AAB is never short of volunteers to take up leadership and other roles in the group. We always have more volunteers than we have roles for! And with 20% of the membership involved in the Membership Committee, we not only spread the load to avoid burn-out, but we give the Membership Committee the scope to review applicants, members and renewing members with the right amount of due diligence.

Visibility – We rotate our leadership positions every six months to enable all members access to the visibility that leadership brings. This practice also keeps our leadership team fresh and motivated.

And underneath it all, we’re powered by BNI:

  • We respect the structure and policies of BNI and recognise that they are tested, proven, and effective.
  • We don’t try and change the basics.
  • The philosophy of Giver’s Gain is entrenched in our culture.
  • We care about what other members are getting out of our relationship.
  • We put a lot of time and effort into getting to know one another.


Where to for BNI All About Business in 2014?

“What makes All About Business special is that we know we can always be better, do more, and make each other more money. And we’re willing to put in the time and effort to make that happen,” says BNI AAB’s current Education Coordinator, Wendy Lloyd Curley. Wendy, who is a previous BNI AAB President, Vice President and Visitor Host Coordinator, has been our Most Valuable Member of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

We were back the next morning after the awards, working on our strategy for the year – to make sure that each member within our team keeps on winning in 2014.

“You can’t buy that kind of commitment. It comes from a much deeper place,” says Sergio.

I think, he’s right.

Daniela Cavalletti is a proud member of BNI All About Business, where her business holds the copywriting category. She is the founder of Sydney-based boutique communications agency Cavalletti Communications (affectionately known as CavaCom). Daniela and her team are passionate about helping business owners, authors and brands find their unique voice, boldly stand out and become leaders in their marketplace.

Watch a short video of the Red Carpet Awards.

20 April, 2012


Whilst working in a highly competitive business world, small and medium sized businesses (SME’s) are constantly seeking cost effective ways to elevate their company profile and generate new business.

Thousands of business owners across Australia have turned to BNI, the world’s largest business referral network, to achieve greater business success. The primary aim of the organisation is to assist members find and exchange qualified business referrals and develop new business through word-of-mouth marketing techniques.

Last year BNI generated over $3.1 billion worth of business referrals for its 140,000 global member base. In Australia over $211 million worth of referrals were created for 5,000 members across the country. Notably over 90 per cent of these members are SME’s.

Frederick Marcoux, BNI Australia National Director said, “The way we network in BNI attracts busy, no nonsense successful people who appreciate the power of business networking. They are relationship focused and results oriented. Australia is a dynamic place with an entrepreneurial spirit that represents a perfect BNI operating environment. Our focus is on businesses that have the capacity to grow and whose owners understand the power of referrals and the importance of strong business relationships.”

“BNI membership is an entitlement to a unique business referral creation strategy. It ensures cooperation with a wide range of businesses that do not compete against a member’s business in the marketplace. Further it affords members the opportunity to train others in the group to find the right kind of referrals for their business and this is also reciprocated for them,” he said.

Unlike other networking groups, BNI provides members with a professional structure and an ongoing training system which enables them to network in a deliberate manner while constantly updating their referral marketing skills.

There are over 100 business categories that do very well in BNI. These rely on referrals for their businesses and the reality is that 98 per cent of businesses are like this. BNI is for all kinds of professionals including SME’s as well as large businesses.

A strongly emerging business trend now evident in Australia was highlighted by Mr Marcoux.  He noted that women generally are taking an increasing leadership role in the business community, including in BNI. Some of the organisation’s most powerful and long standing groups are now led by women. The National Director cited research based on a survey of 12,000 people and contained in BNI’s Founder and Chairman, Ivan Misner’s latest book Business Networking and Sex: (Not What You Think), found that women have a better understanding than men about how to develop and enhance business relationships.

Mr Marcoux concluded,” The philosophy underpinning BNI is that “givers gain” and members are empowered by the understanding that by giving to others they will receive considerably more in return in the business context. This in effect is what we mean by “changing the way the world does business”. Traditionally businesses are takers and hunters, and our goal is to make the business world understand that being “givers” is a much better strategy for business growth. This represents a considerable paradigm shift.”

“BNI plans are to promote this understanding broadly within the business community through consistent membership growth. The current membership is approximately 5,000 and given the current growth rate of 10 to 15 per cent year on year, this figure is expected to exceed 15,000 within the next few years.”

Ivan Misner will be visiting Australia in May and June to promote his latest book Business Networking and Sex (Not What You Think) and to promote the benefits of business networking.

For further information visit

Media contact: Natasha McGuire, Red Leopard PR, Phone: 02 9328 4248 or 04000 90553.

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