One of the first chapters to be launched in the UAE, BNI Early Bird recently celebrated their 15th anniversary. With such a rich history, their recent achievements have come as no surprise given their stellar leadership team.
Vipin Sharma, President of BNI Early Bird, has been a member for over six years. “My journey has been successful. It’s helped me immensely personally and professionally. I give a lot of credit to BNI for all my success.”
Secretary Treasurer, Rabeeh Hariri had just moved to Dubai when he found BNI. “I joined BNI as a very new person in Dubai when I had no network,” he smiles. “Today I feel very wealthy for having such an amazing network through BNI.”
BNI Early Bird is celebrating hitting an incredible milestone of 20,000 referrals passed, and AED 100 Million TYFCB. So, how does this make them feel? Vipin says, “I feel proud, I feel excited. Many many congratulations to our lovely members and ex-members who have contributed to the success of BNI Early Bird.”
“I have enjoyed motivating all the members,” he adds. “You have to go beyond the obvious, something that gives them that stimulus. I was giving them challenges in terms of keeping their benchmark a little higher.”
Taking On Challenges
In these interesting times, Vipin is open about the challenges BNI Early Bird faced initially. “It was really difficult to make people aware that online meetings are the new way of doing business,” he remarks. “Engagement was a bit of a challenge. Thankfully with my colleagues, we came up with innovative ideas to keep our members engaged.”
Prarthana Amrish Awasthi, Vice President of BNI Early Bird, says Accountability is key. “We keep reminding all our members of their duties and responsibilities. Each member in our chapter works to hold ourselves accountable. That’s how we achieved chapter of the month more than five times.”
So, what changed when things went online? Rabeeh says, “Most importantly the continuous learning and exploring these new methods and thinking outside the box technologically to enhance members and visitors’ online experience.”
Understanding and utilizing Zoom is something BNI Early Bird excelled at. “The most challenging part was to focus and participate in the meeting while working and running the backend,” Rabeeh states. “Focus on small tricks and tips to engage your members and give the best visibility to everyone talking with spotlights and breakout rooms.”
When asked what makes the chapter stand out, Vipin is clear. “I would say, what is important is camaraderie, what is important is bringing humor in-between sometimes in the meeting. It brings the members a little closer and makes the environment lighter for visitors. The bonding becomes stronger.”
“We have great energy in our chapter,” Prarthana adds. “The humor and commitments within the members – it’s amazing. BNI Early Bird will never be a big chapter member-wise, but we’re big in numbers, we’re big in performance.”
As new leadership terms begin, Prarthana has some advice for new VPs. “Choose your team well, spread positivity. And, if needed, don’t be afraid to take hard decisions. Because as VP, you are responsible for running the whole chapter, sometimes there are plus points and minus points. You have to keep everyone accountable.”
Vipin thinks having the right mindset is most important for the new leadership team. “If you have a mindset of success, everything you do will lead to something better,” he states. “We want to propel each member to the level where they’re the number one in their business category. That ties up with our mission: to encourage, engage, endorse our members, and give them business.”
We wish BNI Early Bird all the best as they embark on a new chapter with a new leadership team.