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More Benefit in Giving than Receiving

Deborah Foster-Stahle is Executive Director of BNI Ontario Central North. Her background includes a degree focused in industrial and organizational psychology and 25-years experience in corporate and non-profit management, consulting, training and development, and marketing. In November, she received the Arch Brown Entrepreneur Award of Excellence at the Barrie Business Awards. This honour is bestowed on an entrepreneur whose company has had a significant impact on the local economy. The award was well deserved!

Since Deborah became the Executive Director in 2007, over 1000 companies have participated in the BNI referral marketing program, resulting in more than $16 million dollars in sales for members and numerous jobs being generated.  Money earned typically recycles itself in the economy several times over and these sales translate into an economic impact of about $80 million. In addition, Deborah’s charitable initiatives have directed about $75,000 to worthwhile causes in her region.

“I am thrilled to have received the Arch Brown Entrepreneur Award of Excellence,” stated Deborah. “It’s a real blessing to own the BNI Ontario Central North franchise and to make this program available to the businesses of the Barrie community. So many people have contributed to the franchise’s success: my husband and business partner Kurt; our team of fantastic director consultants and ambassadors; and let’s not forget our teams of leaders, our members and the national and international BNI offices. You all deserve a part of this award!”

Rapid transition from member to Assistant Director and then, franchisee!

Deborah became a BNI member in 2004 and within her first year landed a part-time contract as Assistant Director (AD) with Christel Wintels’ region, BNI Golden Horseshoe. “It was a great experience,” Deborah recalls. “Joining the ranks of BNI really helped me develop my business, expand my network and get a great deal of satisfaction from helping other entrepreneurs grow.”

After almost 3 years as AD, Deborah purchased the BNI Ontario Central North franchise in September 2007 – a rural region of 650,000 people with many small communities. It was a match made in heaven as far as she was concerned. “The transition felt completely natural because my business philosophy is a perfect match for BNI’s in every way. My experience has greatly helped me build this franchise, and the position of Executive Director brings many personal benefits. I find it inspiring and gratifying to help people and it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to work with a variety of organizations along the way.”

Demand that won’t stop growing

Deborah and her team at BNI Ontario Central North currently manage twenty chapters. Eight new groups, including two bilingual ones, are also in the works to meet the ever-increasing demand in the region. In Barrie alone, there are 8 chapters – quite a feat considering there are about 125,000 residents. This level of market penetration is only possible given the collaborative nature of the Barrie business community, with chapters supporting each other by referring potential members to neighbouring chapters. Deborah calls this “Inter-Chapter Givers Gain!”

“In most of the communities where we have chapters, BNI has strong market penetration and presence,” Deborah happily reports. “Our chapters may be smaller in some cases but their performance for members is high. Members succeed by applying the philosophy of Givers Gain: in helping others, we in turn receive what we need to succeed!”

Would you like to join one of the chapters managed by Deborah and her team? If you are involved in your community, are able to accomplish great things despite a busy schedule, have a real team spirit, and are ready to commit over the long term, then don’t delay: contact one of the chapters of BNI Ontario Central North!



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