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At the young age of 24, after working with a famous Jordanian lawyer in Bahrain, James had only one dream—to build his own law firm. Putting in all he had, today, James is living his dream by marking over 30 years of James Berry and Associates as one of the leading law firms in Dubai.
James has had an interesting journey with BNI, “I joined BNI 15 years ago when a fellow member of The Round Table Club suggested that I visit his chapter. He was a part of the BNI Falcon chapter which was the first and only chapter in the Middle East at that time. I agreed and honestly, at the start we all were finding our way. We knew why we were meeting but with less access to technology, colorful papers flying over the table was a normal thing for us.” says James.
Traditions and Innovation: Two Sides of the Same Coin
A lot has changed since those early days in BNI Falcons. When asked about how James relates with the core value of Tradition and Innovation he says, “I feel that traditions and innovation are two sides of the same coin. Dubai for instance, is always innovating, has traditions and that’s why it attracts all the innovators and people with amazing talent. BNI needs both traditions, and innovation in equal measure.”
BNI has adapted and innovated with new tools and technology in the online world through the times. From BNI University, webinars, training videos, BNI Online™ and so on. This transition has had some interesting lessons for James. “I’ve learned something from every resource, especially from Dr. Ivan Misner! His thoughts tend to stay with me for a long time. I also feel that the one-to-one’s are the heartbeat of BNI- they give texture to the relationships and I’ve made some lifetime friends through them.” he adds.
As the BNI member with the longest tenure in the UAE, James not only made meaningful connections in his journey but also gained some tangible results on the way. “Over these 15 years, there has been a trail of business received from BNI. I’d say that the BNI relationships and referrals have contributed to more than 25% of my business,” he says.
When asked for a key takeaway for his fellow members, James claims, “When it comes to chapters, I don’t think the numbers matter. What matters is the quality of the members- a medium-sized chapter might have more attuned members within it compared to a large chapter where you scarcely have time to talk.”
He signs off with a strong piece of advice for all members and non-members, “Just don’t be put off because you’ve to talk from time-to-time. BNI is the best, best way to get comfortable with talking in public. You will get good quickly, you shouldn’t be nervous about being heard.”