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Who Inspires You?

By Beth Misner, BNI Foundation President: Most of us can identify someone in our lives who has inspired us to do something more than we thought was possible to accomplish. There have been many people who have inspired me personally. My husband, Ivan, BNI Founder and my Co-Founder in the BNI Foundation, inspires me every day, and I know he has inspired a fair number of you, too. His heart beats to Givers Gain – it truly does inform his life and his teaching.

And Sir Richard Branson is someone who has inspired both me and my husband. His thoughts on Business being a part of solutions needed around the globe to the various challenges we face today inspired us on many levels, most of all within the BNI Foundation. He inspired us to reach deeper in the communities all around us to do more than simply find deserving teachers to whom to send our Givers Gain® Grants.

I have kept Sir Richard updated as YOU have embraced our Business Voices initiative – creating a conduit between Business and Education for children’s education. I shared just a few of the many amazing stories with him, all of which come as a result of his vision for Business getting our hands on challenges like the ones faced in Education. Those of you who are part of a Business Voices Team are inspiring us all.

It is overwhelming to have a concept and to watch people gather around it and move with me into the unknown – to watch Business Voices unfold in real time. It is amazing to me to think about how many children are going to have different, more positive experiences because you hear this call to reach into their lives and help where it is needed.

So, although addressed to me, I extend Sir Richard’s praise on where we are today with our movement to you, because you truly deserve the majority of the gratitude. You are the ones out there in the world constructing the conduit I could only envision. To you we say:

Business Has A Voice in Education

BNI Foundation Co-Founder and President, Beth Misner, had a chance meeting at a local, Austin restaurant with a family from Houston. Michael was here to attend a rally to ask our state government not to cut funding for programs that help medically fragile children with their needs, including learning and keeping up with their counterparts as they undergo necessary medical care.

You’ll love meeting Charlotte, Michael’s young daughter, as Beth interviewed her daddy about their efforts. Remember, Business Voices is an initiative of the BNI Foundation. Our Business Voices teams say: “Bureaucracy Not Involved.” How can we help education and kids? That’s our #1 question.

We are improving tomorrow’s business through education today. Our mission is to create a conduit between Business and Education for children’s educational needs. Charlotte is just one of the reasons why we do this!

Please leave a comment below if you want to join Beth in the BNI Foundation and help us help kids with our unique and powerful movement.

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Business Voices – Powered by BNI

Austin, TX by Beth Misner:  Not long ago, I was incredibly fortunate to have three minutes to share the mission of Business Voices with a media and marketing expert, Joel Roberts. Joel is a former, prime-time, KABC radio talk show host in the #1 radio market in the world – Los Angeles. Today he is President of his own media and communications consulting firm based in LA and New York. His clients range from major publishers and best-selling authors to Fortune 500 corporations such as Lockheed-Martin, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Novartis, Wal-Mart and Target. He also coaches many prominent politicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs like Kinkos founder, Paul Orfalae, and celebrities, including rock star Kenny Loggins.

And for just a few minutes, I was blessed that he was MY impromptu coach while I explained what I am bringing into the world through my vision for Business Voices. As I gave Joel my 60-second presentation about Business Voices, I could see him growing more excited. I told him that I can see entrepreneurs have a unique way of viewing challenges and addressing problems, and when business owners find out more about what the needs of local schools and educational organizations are, they are able to provide creative and effective solutions that are not wrapped in a lot of red tape.

Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 4.21.56 PMAt this point, he nearly leapt up off his chair. “BNI, BNI,” he said, “You say it stands for Business Network International, but with your Business Voices initiative, you could also say it stands for Bureaucracy Not Involved!

He nailed it . . . his perception of why this movement is catching hold so easily and quickly was insightful and exciting. That’s exactly it — We as business owners are not held back by the bureaucracy that is creating such paralyzing difficulties for educators to teach well, impeding their access to the resources they need to keep kids engaged and interested, and causing many other challenges they face.

I was first struck by this realization after having a long conversation with Richard Branson about his B Team concept. If you follow my social media, you will have no doubt seen the photo of Ivan and Richard that I pulled out of an iPhone video I made of the two of them talking about the B Team and how business could make huge, positive differences in the world. He is exactly right!

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 11.03.36 PMAnd where better to start unleashing this vision for creating a conduit between Business and Education than within BNI, an organization filled with entrepreneurs who live by a Givers Gain philosophy and are able to embrace a movement whose rallying cry is Bureaucracy Not Involved?

The support of the business community is like a giant pair scissors that slashes right through the red tape that keeps teachers tied up. As a global citizen, I personally am tired of watching our teachers and schools struggle to operate in such a highly dysfunctional system.

Business Voices is an idea whose time has come — Bureaucracy Not Involved — and we need you to help us get on top of this huge area of concern. Will you help us?

Learn more about our movement.

Business Voices Gives Peck Elementary a Big Step Forward

PeckElementary2The dream for Business Voices began with a vision for five BNI chapters to adopt five local schools, each one doing what their members could to improve the students’ experience. The most recent story to date is that of Peck Elementary in Greensboro, NC.

Carla McCoy, the school’s education coordinator, helped to connect the school with BNI. From there the relationship began much like the schools before it − members of BNI met with the principal to discuss the five biggest challenges the school was facing. In this case, Peck Elementary’s principal polled both teachers and students for consensus to ensure everyone’s concerns were addressed.

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Helping Schools One “T” at a Time with Business Voices

get_involvedOver the years, the BNI Foundation has done amazing things to support children’s educational organizations – schools, community projects and other educational organizations. Since starting our charitable focus over 17 years ago, the BNI Foundation has contributed over $3 million to non-profit, charitable organizations like Junior Achievement (Young Enterprise), Boys and Girls Clubs, Claremont Educational Foundation, Flat Rock Elementary, Super Stars Literacy, Tareto Maa – Kenya, Little Rock Orphanage and School – Kenya, and Building Blocks – India, among many, many others.

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Givers Gain Grants Update

With the launch of the BNI Foundation’s Business Voices movement in August, 2014, more excitement, energy and support has been building within BNI than ever before for the great work we have been doing over the past 18 years in children’s education. As a result of the enthusiastic reaction, we plan to begin supporting Business Voices with our Givers Gain Grants program.

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What Happens When Business Voices Meets Kids Are Heroes?

Gabe and MaryMargaretThe BNI Foundation is excited to announce a collaborative effort between the BNI Foundation and Kids Are Heroes®. Beth Misner, co-founder of the BNI Foundation, was introduced by BNI Director Consultant, Michael Barbieri, to Gabe O’Neill, proud dad of MaryMargaret O’Neill (founder of KAH), in Atlanta, Georgia, during International Networking Week in February, 2015. Their shared mission of educating and empowering children told them it was kismet that brought them together. They made plans almost immediately forge a strong partnership.

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Help Us Feed Inner City Kids!

Feed the Need UgandaAfter returning from an impactful trip to Zimbabwe, former BNI Select Business Source Chapter member Steve Sargent introduced his chapter to an opportunity they never expected. Steve used his presentation time, not to present on his business, but to present an opportunity for the chapter to literally save lives by giving two hours of volunteer time. Sargent found that in keeping with BNI’s Givers Gain® philosophy, chapter members were eager to help.

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Business Voices Collaboration with Smothers Academy

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Damon speaks to the BNI members in New Orleans

Written by: Beth Misner

Damon Smothers with the students of John D Martyn Alternative School.

Damon Smothers with the students of John D Martyn Alternative School.

Ivan and I (Beth Misner) hosted the BNI regional Member Extravaganza winners at a breakfast on Saturday morning during our New Orleans trip in October 2014. We invited Damon Smothers, the school psychologist who had coordinated the school visits from the previous day which I have written about earlier on this blog site, to our BNI breakfast. We asked him to share with our guests the vision he has had for some time of the Smothers Academy, a public school for boys with a prep school focus. Here is a summary of what he told us:

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Business Voices in Action – History Maker in Winston-Salem

Our new awareness campaign, Business Voices, has been inspiring members all around the world to do some pretty amazing things in their local communities. The impact our BNI members are having on children’s education is nothing short of awesome!

Here is a report from Business Voices Team Winston-Salem Coordinator and history maker – Glen Coleman:

The changes being initiated by the Business Voices® movement are so powerful! Yes, we’re changing the world – one Principal at a time, one Teacher at a time, one Child at a time.

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