It’s been an incredible BNI journey for Dheeraj Rupani and Suketu Dani. The pair are as thick as thieves and have been members of BNI Rising Phoenix for the last 15 years. Even they can barely believe it! “The journey in the last 15 years truly amazes me,” Suketu says. “It’s been unbelievable how time has flown by.”
In fact, over 80% of their professional careers have happened in association with BNI. When asked if they knew each other before joining BNI, Suketu laughs, “I never knew Dheeraj before I came to BNI, but now I know him better than his wife, Raakhi might know him.”
The bond these two share is certainly unique, but Dheeraj says the bonds they have with fellow chapter members are equally as strong. “At the Rising Phoenix, we’re very close-knit and bonded. There are a lot of members in our chapter who meet outside BNI, and interact whether it’s fun or as a peer consultant. The atmosphere in our chapter is that of a family. We interact with each other on a daily basis.”
15 Years and Beyond
Celebrating a 15 year membership anniversary at BNI is certainly impressive. When asked what keeps him going with BNI, Dheeraj says, “We have a great chapter. The members make a lot of difference, the energy levels, the friendships and the bonding which we have. The commitment we have to each other, to help each other grow and have fun with each other. Our chapter meets on a Sunday morning, the first day of the week, and the energy which you get for the rest of the week is mind-boggling. We don’t want to miss that.
“In my particular case, it’s not the time spent that I calculate, of 15 years, but the gains BNI has offered me in the last 15 years,” Suketu adds. “I mean, members over here have helped me learn alot about myself, about my business, which has helped me grow as a person, not only as a member. That has really kept me going. That’s one reason I would stick around for another 15 years and many more years to come.”
Suketu and Dheeraj are eager to share the benefits of BNI they’ve personally seen throughout their membership. Suketu says, “For me, I have been a very introverted person, but joining BNI has given me the confidence to meet people, talk to strangers and get to know them personally and professionally. As time is business, I have seen a major success of my business coming through BNI.”
For Dheeraj, business isn’t the only benefit he’s seen. “People normally join for the business, but for me as a first-generation entrepreneur it ends up being lonely at the top,” he remarks. “BNI has provided me with the support to grow my business and myself. I was blessed to have met my guru and my mentor Chiranthan Joshi at Rising Phoenix because of BNI. The kind of mentoring I received was amazing, I applied all that in my business. Today, we’d probably say we’re one of the top printing presses in Dubai, because of BNI’s support.”
Words of Wisdom
When asked for tips for new or existing BNI members, Suketu and Dheeraj are delighted to share their wealth of experience. Suketu says, “You need to be sharp, focussed and ready to serve. Expect nothing in return. You should never forget about Givers Gain.”
Dheeraj has taken up various roles ranging from Events Coordinator to a part of the Leadership Team and it’s an example he’d like more BNI members to follow. “Participate more, and involve yourself in chapter roles,” he states. “It’s amazing to be in these kinds of roles, you learn a lot about delegating and being more organized. All these things, whatever you learn, are very helpful to apply in your business.”
The duo signs off with convincing arguments for prospective members. “I always say, BNI makes the world very small,” Dheeraj says. “People stay in touch, and BNI keeps brands and companies visible. All our members, including ex-members, are always there for each other, whenever we need them. It’s a great support network, and a very reliable community you’re going to be a part of so don’t think twice.”
“As Sunil Gavaskar used to say, “You need to be there on the pitch, the ball will come on to the bat,” Suketu adds. “The most important thing is to be there in BNI. You will get your dream and dream referrals sooner rather than later.”
Great to know how you’ll have become thick and how BNI has helped in not just the business aspect but also moulding an individual.