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This Month’s Good Egg Award...

...Goes to...Helen Slade of BNI Cook!



Some time ago Helen, at that time working for Feature Fire, attended a Target Market workshop where she met Steve Rimmer of NYPD Plumbing. Between them they applied the training and soon realised that they had a potential two or three thousand contacts in each other’s target market. Helen was instrumental in putting the two companies together and they’ve been working closely since, to the extent that NYPD has received almost 2500 referrals from their collaboration. Helen now represents NYPD in BNI, so the referrals have come from Jo Cooper, who has recently joined BNI Bridges for Feature Fire.


That’s not all, Helen has helped a number of members across the region, subbing at short notice and creating some great referrals, not least in introducing Alice Cox of BNI Horizon into Smart Systems Ltd. They’re now including an introductory letter with the wage slips of their 500 employees, offering Alice's services of picking up their cars from the workplace and doing any necessary work, MOT etc and returning them ready for the employees to drive home.


Well done, Helen, a Good Egg in anyone’s book!


Changing Lives with BNI


At Family Wise Ltd, our primary goal is to find people & change lives. I have always been interested in family history and I took up genealogy professionally while training to be a teacher back in 2002. The business was founded in 2012 and initially, I ran Family Wise part time while continuing my ‘day job’ as a school teacher. However I finally took the plunge to run the business full time in 2013. We are a unique business and building awareness is key to our BNI membership. The decision to join a BNI business networking group two years ago has not just helped my business - it has helped to transform it! Many of my connections have come from my Chapter and I now work with a team of researchers all around the world. A large part of my business is Heir Hunting, although we work on many other tracing cases, some which turn out to be life changing. One story in particular occurred due to a chance meeting at a BNI group. 

When visiting another BNI chapter in Bristol, I sat next to a car and van dealer called Nick. We went through the normal formalities, which included enquiring about each other’s line of work. My opening line is ‘we find people’. Nick seemed stunned and explained that he had been looking for his biological mother for over twenty years with no success. I asked him to send over all the information he had managed to uncover over the years, which included a married name for his mother. Due to the dates on the documents, Nick didn’t hold out much hope that his mother would still be alive, however his goal was simply to see a photograph.

We soon got to work and within twenty minutes of receiving Nick’s email, we discovered that his biological mother, Nora, had passed away. However, we also managed to find the name of a second husband, David. After confirming our research with documentary evidence, we wrote to David. Hope started to dwindle as David failed to reply to our letter. Nick happened to be working in David’s area, so he took the plunge and decided to ‘drop in’, introducing himself as my associate. The unscheduled visit paid off and Nick was able to see the photograph of his mother, but better than that, he discovered he had a previously unknown half-sister.

Fuelled with a possible location and a name, we set out to contact Nick’s half-sister. Fortunately her first names hadn’t changed after her adoption (although she had married) and we managed to track her down, writing a letter first. We spoke to her the day after our letter arrived, she explained that she was her mother’s only child and she was inquisitive as to why we were researching Nora and her family. I delicately broke the news that she had an older half-brother. She was over the moon and we arranged that she would call Nick the following day. Her message to him was that the news was “like winning the lottery, only better”.  Nick and his half-sister met just two days later and are now in regular contact with one another.

If it wasn’t for that BNI meeting and a chance to network and share our businesses with each other, Nick may still be searching. During my 60 seconds that day at Cook Chapter, I mentioned that I had a 100% crack rate. Nick was sure that his case would ruin my streak– it’s fair to say he’s very happy that I succeeded. BNI has helped my business tremendously, not only that, it has helped me to help others and isn’t that what BNI is all about?

Kirsty Gray

Managing Director

Family Wise Ltd

BNI Parade

Fashion Fix with BNI

I hadn’t ever considered networking let alone attempted it, then one day a gentleman invited me to attend the launch of a new business networking meeting.  At the time I declined, however, a while later curiosity got the better of me and I joined BNI Horizon Chapter in Avon and Monmouth. 

BNI has helped me in many ways; it has encouraged me to become more professional, and made me a business women in my own right. I am no longer just ‘my husband’s wife’! Most importantly, being part of a business networking organisation, such as BNI, has shown me that there is always a huge support network behind you. Nothing proves this more than the amount of help and generosity myself and my daughter received from fellow BNI Members not too long ago.

My daughter Gemma studied Fashion at Somerset College of Arts and Technology and the reason she chose that particular college was due to the third year fashion show. The college pulled out of organising the show, so the students had to put it together. With such a huge task ahead of them, Gemma came to me unsure of where to start. I told her not to panic and I would see what I could do; after all, I’m surrounded by a huge variety of business people every week!

I got straight on the phone to my BNI contacts in the hope of finding a potential venue and before I knew it word quickly spread. BNI members throughout Avon & Monmouth were contacting me willing to help.  With all proceeds being donated to Penny Brohn Cancer Care, items given by or through member contacts were amazing. The donations included; the venue (The Bottle Yard, Bristol), lighting & photography (provided by Peter de Halle) and project management (provided by Kim Jones), to name a few. With the help of a member, we even managed to get hold of some Portaloos the week before Glastonbury!

The Fearless Fashion Event was a great success. A total of 200 people attended and we managed to raise £1,800. Among the generously donated auction items were: an Osprey handbag, Fleur of England Lingerie and a helicopter ride. Guests were treated to traditional goodie bags and watched as models, supported by 50 backstage assistants, flaunted a range of high fashion items made especially for the event.

Many of the BNI members who helped attended, which also doubled as a great networking opportunity. No one asked for anything in return, however in the spirit of ‘Givers Gain’ I have referred many of the members on.

Although technically I’m the BNI member, I have always been supported by my husband and family in my membership and they certainly understand BNI. As a family, we remain humbled by the generosity that came from members and their contacts. Gemma has now graduated and feels ready to take on the fashion industry. It also helps that I have a host of members who will happily share some of their advice and wisdom to help her on her way.

BNI members have helped give these students the career start they needed, which I’m sure will turn out to be the ultimate Givers Gain. A big thank you to BNI members throughout Avon & Monmouth, who turned a near miss into a great success!

See how it all came together here

Alice Cox
Kingston Garage
BNI Horizon (Yatton)
Avon & Monmouth

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