It was a normal weekday at the office while I sifted through my mail. Not uncommonly, I had received something from my area Chamber of Commerce. I should point out that this is our areas largest Chamber with over 5500 members. As I opened it, I was pleasantly surprised to find a personally hand written thank you note from the Director of Membership, John B. “Brennan, thanks sincerely for your membership, here’s to your success.” What an impact this made on me. I called John to thank him for his thank you card. Does that seem silly? It’s not. Here’s why. That phone conversation turned into a lunch, which then turned into a meeting as to how our two organizations might help one another. Although, I knew not to rush the process as our relationship was so new. Over the next few years, we invited John & his Chamber to enjoy a complimentary booth and 5 minute presentation at our All Chapter BNI Awards Breakfast. What was in it for us? Nothing. We were glad to be associated.
After a few years of this we realized that our two like-minded organizations had an opportunity to take a step together. Across the globe, regional networking organizations were coming together in February to celebrate networking during “International Networking Week” (www.internationalnetworkingweek.com). While “International Networking Week” is an initiative of BNI, it is open to all networking organizations. Collaboration being the mindset of course (novel idea, I know). John, Laurie, & Kitty at the Chamber embraced the idea. What happened next? Well, 380 people in a room of course. On February 3rd, 2010 to be exact. An event sponsored by 13 companies, presented by the largest Chamber in our region, the largest business referral organization (us), and the regions leader in business news. A powerful keynote speaker names Cea Cohen Elliot (ceaspeaks.com) changed lives that day, and 380 people then walked out to change the lives of others.
Rewind a few years. Picture John B. sitting at his desk at 5:48pm. While he is definitely ready to head home for the day, he writes out one last thank you note. “Brennan, thanks sincerely for your membership, here’s to your success”. Had he walked out at 5:46pm, there would not have been 380 people in a room, and lives would not have been changes, including my own.
Zig Zigler once said, “you don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.” Life is a boomerang, you’d better start throwing. Thanks John