The BNI Big Breakfast: Serious Fun, Serious Business

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

On Friday, May 13, an intrepid band of toga-clad business people hailing from Athens, AL, braved their way through the morning commute to the Stovehouse Event Center in Huntsville for a gathering known as the Big Breakfast. The Big Breakfast is a light-hearted event where members from several chapters of the North Alabama consortium of Business Networking International (BNI) and their guests eat, laugh, network, and do serious business. Each chapter set up a table that showcased a particular theme, and their teams dressed up in all manner of costumes. The Athens chapter, known as Limestone Leaders, dressed as Athenians of old, and went a step beyond. When our president, Caleb Lawler of Edward Jones Financial Planners, had his “sixty seconds in the sun,” instead of speaking, we sang. And, not just any diddy; we commandeered the J.G. Wentworth operatic commercial and wrote new lyrics. We won’t subject you to the full meal deal, just know that instead of

“I have a structured settlement and I need cash now/ Call JG Wentworth 877-CASH-Now,” we sang:

“If you want to grow your business and you need to now, / Join Limestone Leaders/small-yet-mighty-and-how”

We got their attention, were wildly over the top, had great fun doing so, and have had people come to check out our chapter as a result.

So, who are the Limestone Leaders, and why, if you are a business owner, should you join us? We represent businesses that range from real estate to roofing, health and wellness, media, insurance, property inspection, property investments, athletic supply, mortgage services, a florist, and pest control. We could not be from more diverse backgrounds, but here is what we have in common: we enjoy helping each other grow our respective businesses, and we have the numbers to prove it. In the past two years we have passed more than two million dollars’ worth of business, and we are a small group, by BNI standards. And, we are looking to invite new members to join us!

How does BNI work? You commit to leverage what is known as the Power of One, and that means you attend one meeting a week, spend one hour in Continuing Education, have one meeting with a fellow member to exchange your business needs for that week, and seek to give a referral for a fellow member if at all possible. BNI has literally hundreds of hours of training from which to draw for your CEU, and I can say from experience that I am a much more knowledgeable business woman as a result of the three years I have been a member. Thousands of dollars of business have come my way, and while I appreciate the financial footing upon which that has put Athens Now, the real value has come from the relationships I have built with people I most likely would have never met. We have mourned, laughed, learned, prayed, eaten, made money with and for each other, and we have done just that in everything from three-piece suits to togas and crowns of leaves. We would love to have you join us this and every Tuesday at 7:45 am at the Alabama Veterans’ Museum, and hope you consider a band that is perhaps small in number, large in heart, and has prevailed in the pocketbook. See you Tuesday!

To register for a visit, go to, and when you click on search for a chapter, click Limestone Leaders. Then click register to visit, and you’ll be all set. You can also go to Facebook and leave a message for us to contact you. We are Limestone Leaders BNI on Facebook. If you need more info, call Ali Turner, Visitor Host Coordinator, at 256 468 9425.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner