World’s First BNI Female Chapter in UAE

Interview with President, Katie Steele, President of BNI Evergreen and Senior Financial Planner at Guardian Wealth Management

By Shereen Shabnam

the BNI has chosen the UAE as the home of its first female chapter to meet the professional needs of the extraordinary number of female business-owners, leaders and professionals in the region.

With over 8,000 chapters worldwide in 73 countries, BNI aims to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional word-of-mouth program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals.

We get some insights from President Katie Steele.

Tell us about BNI and how it can help women?

BNI not only opens doors for business opportunities, it is an environment where women support and grow together. Being in a room with inspirational women every week enables you to learn and develop on a number of levels as well as making great, long lasting friendships. Members are consistently improving confidence and I personally have overcome a fear of public speaking. 

Can you give us some insights into the newly-launched BNI Evergreen Women’s Only chapter?

We have women from a variety of different backgrounds and industries. We spend time together outside our weekly meetings getting to know each other’s businesses better and learning how we can help one another. We are currently performing in fourth place against all the other chapters in the region (13 in total), for performance-related referrals, lead generates and business passes, amongst other things. This is an amazing achievement for a chapter which only launched in June. 

How many countries, chapters, and members are there now for BNI?

4000 chapters in operation in 73 countries- over 255,000 members worldwide 

How can members benefit from joining BNI?

Being a member of BNI is like having a whole team of sales people working for you. Women support each other and you build not only professional relationships, but you expand your network by making life-long friends. 

How often do you personally get referrals from BNI?

I typically get about two referrals a week for my role as a Senior Financial Planner at Guardian Wealth Management.

How much time is required by members for meetings and networking on an average?

We meet for 2 hours a week. Outside of the weekly meeting we aim to do one 1-2-1 a week. This is where you meet a fellow member to try to learn more about their business and the ideal referrals they are looking for. 

Give us three key reasons why more professionals should join BNI?

  1. Good, qualified referrals, which ultimately means more business generated
  2. Personal skill development 
  3. Support/ advice and encouragement from likeminded people 

The members meet each week to discuss developments, learn about each other’s businesses, find referrals and introduce visitors.

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