Reflections from Dr. Ivan Misner
35 years ago, I put together about 20 people in a small coffee shop in Arcadia, California for the very first meeting of BNI®. However, it was not called BNI at first. The original organization, “The Network”, was run from a small bedroom that was converted into an office inside my house in La Verne, California. I recognized back then that I had struck a chord within the business community. Networking is not taught in colleges and universities anywhere in the world, although businesspeople are hungry for referrals. They simply had no viable way to generate them regularly back in 1985.
What’s amazing is that BNI has had 35 consecutive years of growth – each year growing over the last. Very few companies in the world can say that. I was in Rotary Club when I started BNI and it took Rotary 80 years to get to 10,000 clubs. I dreamed back then that one day we would have 10,000 chapters, and here we are in only 35 years just shy of that goal with 9,400 Chapters. It’s important to dream big, work your plan and do everything possible to make those dreams come true.
It is very humbling to me to see what BNI has become. I simply had this nugget of an idea 35 years ago. If it was just me, it would be two chapters, not approaching 10,000. It was all of you that made the dream a reality. BNI’s impact on the world of business and on individual lives continues to flourish. I feel so proud of how the Givers Gain® philosophy has been embraced by millions of people and expanded around the world.
In celebration of BNI’s 35th anniversary, I share this video story of BNI’s beginning and my astonishment at just how successful BNI has become. Thank you.