What do you remember from the time when you were core group members,and what has changed and how do you think the chapter has changed. You can also say how you have evolved with the chapter with the chapter in so many years?
CJ: I remember 13 years back the chapters used to be really small in size. We launched at 8 members and we remained a small chapter for many years, I think the first 4 or 5 years of the chapter we were always less than 20 and revolving around the 20 figure. And then some of the directors, we went to India, and we got an inspiration from India, where we saw the chapter sizes always beyond 50 and came back to Dubai and inspired all the members to push our chapter size to beyond 50 we achieved it. After being a member for five year sat that time,we’ve always been a 50 plus chapter or revolving around 50 as a number.
That was a chapter change. Do you remember something funny or different from those days?
CJ: As a membership coordinator, today we call the role Vice President, we had all the manual referral slips so every member should pass a manual slip and the membership coordinator used to take those slips with him or her, and then enter all the contributions of the member on his own manually. So that was alot of work then and now,you have the app so every member records their contribution on their own, so that manual work has been eliminated and which is great.
DR:In those days,our chapter was called Business Eagles,and we used to proudly call the name of our chapter in a crowd like“Hail Eagles”.At that time,our chapter was not growing, we were constantly 18 member sand whatever effort we were putting in the chapter,it was not growing so then I think Bijay suggested we change our chapter name.So, those days, we had Corrina Cross,also a member, and she suggested the name Rising Phoenix. Then we branded the logo and after that, there was no looking back. So if I’m not mistaken, we were meeting at the Dubai Creek Gold Club.And after we changed the name,we grew to 30 and then 40 members,and then that place was not enough for accommodating that many members so we moved here to World Trade Center.It’s been a long journey and nostalgic times,we’ve seen so many members come and go. But it’s so great to wake up early and not miss this meeting ever.
CJ: The best part is, you know, even though members have left BNI, they haven’t left us, they still remain our friends and that’s the real power of BNI so even if we have maybe 50 members today which are active live members, we have another 500 members who have been part of BNI system for over 15 years;they still are in our contact list,we are connected to them on social media. So the real power comes from there. I still get referrals out of members who left BNI and that’s the real power of BNI,the relationship stays on.
Is there something no one knows about both of you?
CJ: Something no one knows about both of us is the last 13 years after every single meeting, Dheeraj has been kind enough to make coffee for me. And his favorite line is the coffee is made with lots of love. That’s the secret.Thank you for serving me coffee for last 13 years Dheeraj.
DR: Thank you CJ, it’s an honor