Dr. Ivan Misner
Founder and Chief Visionary Officer
Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization. Founded in 1985 the organization now has over 10,600 chapters throughout every populated continent of the world. Last year alone, BNI generated almost 12.4 million referrals resulting in $18.6 billion dollars worth of business for its members.
Dr. Misner’s Ph.D. is from the University of Southern California. He is a New York Times Bestselling author who has written 26 books including one of his latest books – Who’s in Your Room? He is also a columnist for Entrepreneur.com and has been a university professor as well as a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of La Verne.
Called the “Father of Modern Networking” by both Forbes and CNN, Dr. Misner is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on business networking and has been a keynote speaker for major corporations and associations throughout the world. He has been featured in the L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times, as well as numerous TV and radio shows including CNN, the BBC, and The Today Show on NBC. Among his many awards, he has been named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Red Cross and has been the recipient of the John C. Maxwell Leadership Award. He is proud that he and his late wife, Elisabeth, are the Co-Founders of the BNI Charitable Foundation. They also reached “empty nester” status after happily raising their three children. Oh, and in his spare time!!! he is also an amateur magician and a black belt in karate.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Graham Weihmiller joined BNI in 2014 to help execute BNI’s strategic plan that includes operational enhancements, continued membership growth, and ongoing global member expansion. Graham is passionate about building successful service organizations that have a remarkable value proposition and a positive social impact. Prior to BNI, he served as the CEO of a 32-year-old nationwide franchisor of homecare services. While there, he was a founding director of a foundation that provides homecare to those who cannot afford it. His previous leadership experience includes roles with Pioneer Equity Partners, American Franchise Company, Bank of America, Booz Allen and JP Morgan.
Graham speaks frequently on entrepreneurship and franchising and has recently been on panels at Harvard Business School, Stanford University, and Georgetown University. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BBA from the College of William & Mary. He has done subsequent executive education with Harvard Business School in India. He is a Certified Franchise Executive and active with the International Franchise Association. Graham is trained in Lean Enterprise, Process Excellence, Design for Six Sigma, and is a Six Sigma Black Belt. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the Harvard Business School Club of Charlotte, where he was formerly the Club president. He currently serves on the BNI Foundation Board of Directors.
Global Markets President
Mahesh ‘Mac’ Srinivasan, currently serves as the Global Markets President BNI APAC + MFAs. Under his leadership since Jan 2016 BNI INDIA has experienced a 33% growth in membership , and added 65 new chapters this year, with a growing and dynamic membership of over 19,000+ Entrepreneurs.
His BNI journey began in 2007 as one of the founding partners of the BNI Bangalore region. Prior to this, Mac worked in Chicago for over 12 years, in the field of IT and ITES in various roles starting off as a Software programmer to ultimately leading the practice as Managing Director. He then returned to India in 2003 to establish the Asia Pacific operations for a US multinational, and managed their India operations for over 10 years as Country Manager, and scaled it to over 800+ employees.
Global Lead Counsel
Elitsa (Ellie) Bryant is Global Lead Counsel. Ellie joined BNI in 2017 and has held several positions within the company. Prior to her work with BNI, Ellie spent time working in a number of law practices with diverse range of specializations – from business law and hedge funds to estate planning and family law. Ellie provides strategic guidance, consultation, and support to BNI’s Global Leadership Team with focus on brand protection, compliance, and risk mitigation. She also supports BNI’s National Directors worldwide in carrying out the mission of BNI.
Ellie earned her undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Florida, where she graduated at the top of her class and received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Ellie has also attended a year at Harvard Law School as a Visiting Scholar and has completed the Harvard Business School Club of Charlotte’s Management Development Program. She recently became a Certified Franchise Executive through the International Franchise Association.
Director of Global Franchise Development
George Barlow serves as Director of Global Franchise Development at BNI®. He joined BNI during the first quarter of 2021 to lead all global franchise development and expansion efforts. He works to enhance the global franchise development process to support future expansion opportunities. This includes new country development globally, as well as sub-franchise development support in existing countries. He oversees the screening and recruiting systems, leads the annual updating of franchise disclosure documents, and ensures all compliance guidelines are followed. He also supports Master Franchisees in the system to lead the same at the country level.
George has spent the last 20 years working in franchise development, operations, mergers and acquisitions. His previous leadership experience includes roles with Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Executive Franchise Consulting Company, and Prudential Real Estate Affiliates. While with Prudential, George spearheaded the development of the franchise disclosure document for Mexico and opened the first franchise operation in that country. He also spent five years with Realogy Corporation as Senior Director, Business Development/Mergers and Acquisitions.
George earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Rochester University and a Master of Management, Organizational Development from the University of Phoenix, Austin, Texas Campus, is an active member of the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) and is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE). He enjoys spending time with his wife, kids, and family members.