BNI hosts breakfast in Florence for regional chapters

February 28, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Business Network International (BNI) Big Breakfast event was held Wednesday morning at Victors in downtown Florence. All four regional BNI chapters, two in Florence, one in Sumter and one in Hartsville were represented, along with a new Florence chapter that is just taking shape.

BIN is based on networking and providing and receiving referrals from fellow members

“BNI is the largest networking organization of its kind worldwide,” said Audrey Cooke, president of the Pee Dee Chapter.

She said there are more than 200,000 members and more than 8,000 chapters worldwide. The Pee Dee Chapter of BNI in Florence was begun about 20 years ago.

She said BNI is a unique organization in that chapters are allowed to have only one member per professional category.

“I represent Murray-Mitchell lighting, the oldest in the Pee Dee, and I am the only lighting company in this group (of 48 members),” she said. She said they meet on Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Victors.

The other area chapters are Business Builders of Florence, Soaring to New Heights of Hartsville and Bang of Sumter.

Julie Jebaily of Business Builders, representing Jebaily Properties, said she joined the group just four months ago.

“I joined for the networking opportunity, and for building relationships and friendships,” she said. “Friendships are built by networking opportunities and have been priceless.”

She said her group is number one in the Pee Dee area for 2017-18.

“We are also the recipient of the Founder’s Award,” she said.

Charles Saverance received the “Givers Gain” award on Wednesday at the breakfast. He is a member of the Soaring to New Heights – BNI Southeast chapter in Hartsville. Saverance is one of the newest directors. The award was presented by Tom Cuttino, BNI director.

During regular meetings the chapters have educational moments, referrals and testimonials.

A new chapter is being formed. To be a member you have to have the heart of a giver, dedication, a plan and a minimum of 25 people. This new chapter will meet on Mondays from noon to 1:30 p.m. and the first meeting will be March 4. Richard Kirby, director of consultant, South east region and membership committee, is heading this one up.

Cuttino said one benefit of being a member is that you have resources at your fingertips, on speed dial.

Severance said if someone asks if he knows a roofer, he will recommend a member of BNI.

Susan McMurray presented a brief educational moment where she told members and visitors that people want to do business with people they know, like and trust. If they do this they will have visibility, credibility and profitability.

Several members gave their testimonials about how BNI has helped them and increased their business.

Kay Kennedy Nizol, area director S.C. Myrtle Beach introduced the speakers. She said at their regular meetings every member gets to give a brief description of their business in 60 seconds.