Successful networking in central Illinois

The success of a business can often depend on the extent to which its owner or employee(s) network in order to build connections, gain leads, and generate revenue. In Springfield small, medium, and large businesses benefit from Business Networking International of which there are four chapters. Last week spoke to Springfield Insiders President Jay Davis about the success of his group. Now we have the opportunity to speak with a couple members of the Thursday morning Business Builders group. 

Karen Hansen has been involved in Business Networking International for 15 years. The Vice President at Security Bank’s 510 E. Monroe St. branch said she has remained a Business Networking International member because of the extensive professional network she has developed. “Through Business Networking International I have had the privilege to form relationships with numerous individuals and business owners.” She puts the success of her chapter down to the fact that it is comprised of a team of experts. “We help each other achieve success through our networking and referrals. After the first referral is passed, it is not uncommon for us to receive 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier referrals,” said Karen. She believes Business Networking International works because the meetings are structured, the chapter meets weekly, the group learns about and gets to know each other, and everyone passes referrals. ”Business Networking International is one of the highlights of my week,” said Karen. “I am thrilled when I can make a referral and help someone else with their success. Business Networking International has been key in helping me grow my client base. Joining BNI was one of the best things I have ever done.” 

Cathy Sagle of The Corkscrew Wine Emporium has been a Business Networking International member since 1998. She has remained a member for almost two decades because of the positive word of mouth referrals. “I am customer service oriented so anyone that my fellow Business Networking International members send to me will be well-taken care of,” Cathy recommends that anyone interested in joining Business Networking International should visit each chapter twice and see where they are a good fit and where they feel the most comfortable. “Then if they choose to join, the cost of joining will be well worth it if they work the program as it is designed. Show up every week, think each week about the referrals you can make, volunteer for a leadership role, get to know other members better, help with the set up of the meeting and truly be engaged with the group,” she said.

Central Illinois Director, Jeff Ensinger, said BNI could not be successful without members like Karen and Cathy. “Both make a valued contribution to Business Networking International in Springfield. They are always willing to take on leadership roles, whether it's behind the scenes or managing the chapter. You know that if they are putting this much effort into their chapter they are replicating this in their businesses too.”

If you are interested in joining a Business Networking International chapter in Springfield get in touch with Central Illinois Director, Jeff Ensinger, on 309 453 2463 or email or you can visit