Episode 15: Christel Wintels – Networking is About Giving Now So You Can Gain Later

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Gold Nuggets

  1. Appreciating the opportunity to serve the community and meet with so many different people and successful business owners is a blessing.
  2. The level of independence would be someplace that be lot more comfortable
  3. Women tend to much more create collective groups of other women. So it’s easier to ask for help.
  4. How Christel was one of the very first assistant directors as they call them, then who had been a member who was a member of BNI.The universe is sending us a message.
  5. One of the exciting things is behavioral styles and networking is kind of a side interest
  6. The fundamental difference for business owners to be aware of when they are out there network.

Meet Christel Wintels

Christel Wintels is a Business by referral expert. She is executive director and franchise owner of BNI Golden Horseshoe – BNI or Business Network International is a global business networking organization founded in 1985 with over 270,000 members.

Smart Man, Smarter Woman References

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Steve Loates (00:00):

Hi everyone and welcome to our podcast Smart Man, Smarter Woman. A podcast for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. Thank you for joining us today. I am Steve Loates.

Juliette Aurora (00:15):

And I am Juliette Aurora.

Steve Loates (00:16):

We are your co hosts. Before I introduce a very special guests for today’s show, let’s here a few words from my wonderful co host that smarter woman herself, Juliet. How’s your day going Juliet?

Juliette Aurora (00:31):

It is excellent, thank you. It’s bright, it’s sunny. It’s summertime. I can’t complain. Life is good. I’m looking forward to our conversation today because I’ve known our guests for several years. She has been inspirational in our community as to the things that she does for business. I think it’s going to be a great conversation that we have today.

Steve Loates (00:54):

Absolutely, should be fun. As I mentioned at the beginning of our podcast, it’s all about entrepreneurs and helping entrepreneurs as much as we can. Our goal is with each episode is to try to provide some entertainment, but most importantly, what we’re hoping to do is provide you, the audience, with some value for your time. Some insights, gold nuggets that can help you on your own journey. Today we have a very special guest. I’m looking for a great show. We have Christel Wintels is a business by referral expert, which I may ask her to explain that a little more as we get into it.

Steve Loates (01:37):

She is the executive director and franchise owner of BNI, Golden Horseshoe. For those of you not familiar with BNI, it means Business Network International. It is a global business networking organization. I believe it’s the largest in the world, founded in 1985. It’s been around a few months now and with over 270,000 business owners worldwide as members, which is pretty awesome. Let’s bring our guests into the show. Welcome Christel. Thank you for joining us today.

Christel Wintels (02:14):

Well, thank you both Steve and Juliet for having me.

Steve Loates (02:17):

You’re very welcome. You have a great background. Lots of interesting stuff for us to dig into here.

Christel Wintels (02:24):

Oh boy.

Steve Loates (02:27):

Maybe we can edit out the bad part.

Christel Wintels (02:28):

Right, okay.

Steve Loates (02:29):

It’s all good. Perhaps we can start out with if you wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit about your own entrepreneurial journey, experiences and what brought you to where you are today.

Christel Wintels (02:44):

When you had asked me to be on the podcast, and I was honored, I’ve got to say so thank you very much for that. You had sent me some of the types of questions that we might talk about, not all of them but some of them. That was one of the ones that I looked at and I thought how did my entrepreneurial path start. I thought about it. I was thinking actually about it this morning and I thought, was there a pivotal moment for me? I couldn’t think of one. I thought because I’ve been an entrepreneur going on 30 years, I thought, is this an indication of memory thing?

Christel Wintels (03:23):

I don’t think so. Oh, Lord, I hope not. But I was thinking about it. I thought, so what led me to believe that I could just start my own thing and do my own thing. I think it was, I’ve always been in an advertising or marketing industry. I’ve worked for traditional advertising agencies. I’ve also worked on the client side in marketing companies as marketing managers and that kind of thing. I thought about it, I was pretty young, I think, when I made that entrepreneurial decision to just go out on my own. I thought, what brought me to that. I think it was, and most people don’t like to share the story, it was the only job I ever got fired from.

Christel Wintels (04:03):

I didn’t know why I got fired. I was working for a fairly large advertising agency in Toronto, it’s privately owned agency and I was fired. I had just had a review three months prior where I got a raise. I didn’t quite get that and any of us who have been fired from a job, especially I was in my late 20s, you’re devastated if you think that you haven’t done anything. I thought to myself, how does that person get to fire me? I thought… I’m pretty sure I did okay. Three months ago you guys gave me a raise. All of a sudden, I’m let go. What I found out later, is that this particular manager that I had, she was having a personal relationship with one of the VPs in the company and she thought I knew about it. She thought I would tell people.

Christel Wintels (04:51):

Things that were completely out of my control led to me losing my job. I subsequently found out and this is, a story that any young person or person who’s fired can learn from, that she fired three people that day. I was the only one, the actual management thought had a case for wrongful dismissal. When you’re in your mid 20s, and you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the last thing you’re going to start looking for is a lawyer. So I started looking for another job.

Christel Wintels (05:18):

As I went into that other job, there was a couple of HR things. It was a very male dominated industry and again, stuff outside of my control and I didn’t like that. I joined a… The last job I had, and I use that quote unquote, I joined an independent advertising agency. I started to be client facing and I started to work on the creative side a little bit more. I started to do a little bit of writing, I started doing a little bit of desktop publishing.

Christel Wintels (05:46):

This was back in the days when desktop publishing was brand new into the world. Now everybody knows how to do desktop publishing. I thought to myself, you know what, I think I can support myself doing this and then no one can fire me and no one can tell me, well, Christel, I think you’re overreacting or Christel I think you’re doing this. I just felt that that level of independence would be someplace that I’d be a lot more comfortable. Fast forward 30 years, I’m pretty sure I’m unemployable now. I just have [inaudible 00:06:16].

Juliette Aurora (06:18):

I think we all are at some point. After you’ve been an entrepreneur for a while it is… You can’t imagine working for somebody else.

Christel Wintels (06:25):

No, I really can’t.

Steve Loates (06:28):

I think there will be many, many entrepreneurs out there perhaps of our generation who will relate to that. Who they either got fired. Myself, it was five times in three years until I figured out that the common issue was me and not them, and realized that if I wanted to have a job for longer than 18 months I was probably going to have my own business. That was what led me on to my entrepreneurial journey. Didn’t plan it that way. Didn’t think about it, but it’s a common story that we hear. It comes back… You mentioned the word control-

Christel Wintels (07:16):


Steve Loates (07:16):

… several times when you were speaking. Are my to guess that you like to control the situation, Christel?

Christel Wintels (07:27):

I understand that we cannot control other people, but I can have control over the way… of the business culture I want to be in. I can have control over the level of communication that I expect from myself and from others. I have found in large organizations that that’s not often… That that is not necessarily a level of control that you have. When I decided that I think I’m a pretty fair minded person, I think that I am a pretty direct communicator and that’s the kind of culture that I want to have around me, and that’s the kind of culture that I want to build in my business.

Christel Wintels (08:08):

I wanted to have the freedom, if you will, or the lack of someone else’s framework in order to build that business because that’s where I thrive.

Steve Loates (08:19):


Christel Wintels (08:19):

From that perspective, when I use the word control, I think as entrepreneurs, we think we have total control. We have less than we think we do but I think we get to control the type of business people that we want to be without having to have influences from those individuals we may work for that aren’t the type of individuals that we would choose to necessarily be involved with.

Steve Loates (08:43):


Juliette Aurora (08:43):

I love the statement where you said that, and this is probably a big misconception for people who are not entrepreneurs, where you said the word freedom. That a lot of people who are not entrepreneurs have a different version or a different definition of freedom than what it actually is. They think, oh, you work for yourself. Well then you probably don’t work very much. You have long weekends. When you start late and end early, and they think that that’s the freedom that we have.

Juliette Aurora (09:15):

Which if you’ve been an entrepreneur for more than three months, then you know that that is certainly not the case. You work longer hours, you’re working weekends and completely different. The freedom that you have is the freedom to choose.

Christel Wintels (09:27):


Juliette Aurora (09:28):

Which I love that you highlighted that. That is not necessarily control, but it gave you the freedom to choose.

Christel Wintels (09:33):


Steve Loates (09:34):

For sure. Why don’t we talk a little bit about your business? What is your business? What do you do? I mean, I read the intro and the title but what do you do Christel?

Christel Wintels (09:47):

When I went out on my own, I come from a marketing background. I started a boutique advertising agency and I started it in Toronto in the mid 90s. At that time, I had a couple of very nice big clients. One of the clients that I worked with for about three years running was Benson and Hedges, which is a cigarette company I know. But the project I worked on was the Symphony Of Fire. If you cast your mind back to that, it was a huge event that Benson and Hedges sponsored.

Christel Wintels (10:17):

We did all of the collateral material for that. For a small boutique agency like mine, we’re only three people in it, that’s a big piece of business. Then we’re told that cigarette companies can’t support events like this anymore. The Montreal Jazz Festival, flounders. Symphony Of Fire, flounders. There’s no Benson and Hedges, the money disappears. I’m scrambling to replace what I now realized was way too many eggs in one basket. Somebody had said to me, it was another client that I was lamenting this to who was a friend as well, and I said, I got to find some new business. I got to get out there. The Benson and Hedges business came through a contact in my network, a friend of a friend.

Christel Wintels (11:00):

Said, “Hey, you know what, I think you’d be good for this. You should meet this person.” That’s how I got the business. She said, somebody else that I know belongs to this networking thing called BNI. She gets together regularly and people give her business. That’s how it was described to me and I thought, well, that sounds pretty good. You get together, you get business. I mean, how [inaudible 00:11:21] could it be? Off I go to this meeting at oh dark 30 in the morning, it was 7:00 AM. Who meets at that time, right?

Christel Wintels (11:30):

This person invited me and took me into the meeting. I watched this go on. As I mentioned, I come from a marketing background. I knew what they were doing. They weren’t really concentrating on connecting each other with people who could be their potential clients. You weren’t selling to the room, which is what a lot of us do at these networking events. You were selling through the room. After my first meeting, I got that and I thought this is fantastic. If these people introduce me to the people they know, I’m going to get business because I know that works.

Christel Wintels (12:06):

For me, second meeting, I became a member and got business in my first six months in BNI, and that doesn’t happen for everybody. But what I also realized is that this is a kind of marketing that suits me perfectly. The relationship building, the not having to sell based on numbers and numbers alone, because that’s how a lot of us were trained. The hundred calls, the 10 interest, the one… The three inter… not interviews, but you know what I mean. Meetings, thank you. Lost my train of thought there. The three meetings and now all of a sudden you might close one, I didn’t like those numbers.

Christel Wintels (12:43):

And cold calling never worked for me. I take rejection on the phone very badly. I don’t like it. It doesn’t make me feel good. I’m not empowered by it, but this did because I can talk to people. I’m interested in other people’s business, and I’m interested in who I know, who they would benefit from being connected to. It was a great fit for me. Then I had the opportunity a number of years later to actually purchase a franchise and make me an online career. It was just a little bit of a wind in the marketing road, because this particular type of marketing just suits my personality and my communication background really, really well.

Juliette Aurora (13:25):

I love that, before you became a BNI franchise owner, you were actually a customer.

Christel Wintels (13:32):

Oh, totally.

Juliette Aurora (13:33):

So you actually bought into the franchise I guess, before you actually bought it. You knew what it did, how it worked, how successful it could be and I love that.

Christel Wintels (13:48):

It was interesting because at that time Julia, because I would have joined… BNI started in Canada in 1995, I joined in 1996 and I started working for the National Directors who own the master franchise for Canada in 1997. I was the only person on that team who had been a member.

Juliette Aurora (14:03):


Christel Wintels (14:04):

Yeah, the only person. I was one of the very first assistant directors, as they call them then, who had been a member, who was a member of DNI. I would look at them and say, “Do you know how hard it is to actually give somebody referral every single week?” They’re like, “Well, we tell you how to do it.” “Yeah, we do but you know what has to be in place for that to happen?” They’re like, “No.” “Let me explain to you what needs to be in place for that to happen.” Because it’s a whole different level of relationship.

Steve Loates (14:31):

Yeah. For sure. Well, it is all about relationships. One thing I would love to touch on is, because I know there’s a lot of them out there. One question I wanted to ask, and I wanted to ask this because I know there’s a lot of them out there and this is the entrepreneur who is not a very self confident speaker, is not a really outgoing person. They’re trying to build their business. They know they need to be networking somehow somewhere because everybody tells them you need to be networking. The thought of walking into a room with a group of people they don’t know scares them to death. What advice could you give those people to try and help them get through that doorway?

Christel Wintels (15:30):

First of all, as you say, the public speaking scares them to death. Did you hear that stat, that most of us would rather have root canal then actually get up in front of people and do public speaking?

Juliette Aurora (15:40):

Certainly I’m one of those people.

Christel Wintels (15:41):

You’re a great speaker though. I’ve seen you speak Juliette, you’re a great speaker. That’s the thing I think with most people. When they stand up and talk about something that they know and love, which is their own business, they actually are very good speakers if they forget how many people are in the room. If they feel that they’re just talking to me or they’re just talking to you or Steve, then they’re doing okay. Here’s what I love about what I call networking for introverts. When introverts go off to a great big networking event, one of the business association events, one of the business networking events, you’re right, there’s a room full of people.

Christel Wintels (16:19):

To network in that room full of people, takes everybody through anxiety. Even me who does this professionally, if I were to walk into a room full of people and not know one person, yes, I absolutely could start to talk to people only because I’ve been doing it for 24 years. I know I’m going to start the conversation. I know what I’m going to say. When I first started networking back in many years ago, 30 years ago before I joined BNI, I would actually walk up to different women’s events and I would compliment women on their shoes, because that was always something about women to talk about. Those are great shoes, where did you get them? And the conversation starts.

Christel Wintels (16:59):

With guys now could be socks or ties. A lot of people aren’t comfortable doing that and I get that. I think one of the exciting things for me is behavioral styles and networking is a side interest of mine. I actually do a lot of work on behavioral styles and how BNI might fit into that networking need. With introverts, I think for the most part from what I’ve read, is that introverts like to have a bit of a deeper conversation than some of the chat that might happen at a networking event.

Christel Wintels (17:33):

When you get involved with something like a structured networking events, like BNI is, you’re actually speaking to a smaller group of people and you have the opportunity to speak to them in such a way that you can have those one to one conversations. Especially when BNI meets face to face. We’ve structured our meeting so that those folks who are a little bit anxious, are welcomed in such a way that it is very deliberate in the welcome. Nobody’s wandering around looking to get introduced to somebody. They’re really feeling inclusive but also it’s shared with everyone who comes to a meeting. You get to introduce yourself.

Christel Wintels (18:12):

The response often is a deer in the headlights look, it’s like what? Wait a minute, what do you mean? You get a few seconds, like 30, maybe 60 seconds. All I want to hear is about you and your business. That’s all we need to hear, but when we coach people like that, they have a little time to get over the big shock. They’re actually very good as soon as they start to talk about what they know and love. I think everyone just needs a little different pace for networking. When we say the words networking, it’s the assumption that you’re walking into a room of 150 people that you don’t know. That just scares everybody.

Christel Wintels (18:49):

No matter how experienced you are, it’s still that moment of anxiety when you walk in. That’s something when it’s a smaller group, like our chapters in BNI, biggest ones we have are 50, 60 people and we know that we want to be able to connect you to the people that you may be able to have a meaningful conversation with.

Juliette Aurora (19:08):

I’d like to add a little bit of my perspective because I was part of one of your DNI chapters for many, many years. Steve can attest to this, that I fought kicking and screaming that it needed to be me that went to those meetings and not Steve.

Christel Wintels (19:26):


Juliette Aurora (19:28):

Because I hated to get up in front of people. I hated networking. I didn’t want to talk about my business. I just wanted to do the work, let someone else get the business, but it was my role at the time. I remember attending… For those of you who may not know what the format is at the beginning of the meeting, or as a portion of the meeting there is that every member stands up and gives an infomercial. It’s a 32nd infomercial about your business. I would start preparing for it the day before. My meetings were Wednesday breakfast meetings. By Tuesday afternoon, it’d be, “Oh my God, I have to do a infomercial tomorrow. What am I going to talk about?” I would start stressing about it on Tuesday.

Juliette Aurora (20:12):

Tuesday night, I would never get any sleep because it was so stressful for me. My voice would shake when I would do my infomercials. For me, it was a horrible… I dreaded it, I absolutely dreaded it. Fast forward and I’m going to say, maybe a year of doing it completely different, I was more comfortable because I knew the people that were in the room. The people that were in the room became my friends. When I was standing up, I was no longer talking to 50 people I didn’t know. I was talking to 50 people that I knew.

Juliette Aurora (20:50):

Because I got more comfortable speaking at BNI, which I never would have believed, I actually was able to go beyond BNI and now I present at conferences and I did keynotes at conferences. Whereas if you had told me before I started at BNI that I would ever do that, I would have told everybody they were nuts. There’s so much more that you get out of it than just the business that you get.

Christel Wintels (21:18):

I can’t tell you, first of all I’m thrilled. I’m going to take a little bit of accolades for that because that would be an eye chapter but so many members have said that. Prior to being forced, and we force you. We force you to introduce yourself every single week, we hadn’t forced you Juliet you wouldn’t have done it, right?

Juliette Aurora (21:35):


Christel Wintels (21:35):

Because you’re right, that anxiety level is so high. I’ve heard from so many members over the last 20 years. It’s like I can stand and talk about my business now. I speak at events and I never ever, ever, ever would have thought that was a possibility. That soft skills development is one of those things that just happens automatically. Many people come away with that skill of being able to not only speak but speak very efficiently about their business because we made you do it every single week for eight years.

Steve Loates (22:07):

I think there’s also credit goals to the other members because the other members who’ve been there a little while, many of them started in the same place. That they were exactly where Juliet was. That they were scared to death. When they saw her the first couple of times, they absolutely recognized, okay, we know what’s going on. They would come and talk to her and support her and help her and give her tips. It really, as you said, right at the beginning, relationships with people and it’s just people trying to help people, not just with their business and help them grow their business, but just trying to help people as people which is great.

Christel Wintels (22:52):

Yep and that comes out week after week after week. I’ve seen people say to somebody, brand new member who is just that nervous, the paper shaking in their hands. You can hear it rattling. The president who runs the meeting is just looking at the person going, slow down, take a breath, you’re talking to friends here. As soon as the person does that, the shoulders drop a little bit. You can hear them breathing again, all of a sudden, they’re able to get a little bit easier week after week. Six months in, you’re like, wow, you wouldn’t have believed it was the same person six months prior.

Juliette Aurora (23:23):

I think that one of the other things that you said, is that most networking events, like a chamber of commerce, they typically have a morning event, an evening event, and they have regular networking events. I guess this is all without the COVID factor playing into it. A lot of those events, yes, there are usually the same… Many of the same people attend those events.

Christel Wintels (23:48):


Juliette Aurora (23:49):

You would think that it would be a similar experience. Same people I’m talking about all the time. But the difference is the one statement that you said at the beginning, which was that in most networking events, you are selling in the room. You’re selling to the people in the room. Whereas with DNI, you’re selling through the room and it’s about developing the relationships. I think that is a fundamental difference for business owners to be aware of when they are out there networking.

Christel Wintels (24:16):

It’s funny because I’ve done, over the years, a number of presentations about the art of networking. Nothing to do with BNI, simply about the art of networking. There was one presentation where I started with it. My mission is to have business people stop hating networking events. The reason that they dislike networking event so much is we go in with skewed expectations. Somebody says to you, in order to build your business, you got a network. But they don’t say what that means.

Christel Wintels (24:43):

We go into a networking event with the assumption that we can sell something. If you ever asked the people in the room if they came to buy something, the answer is an unequivocalble no. Nobody goes to a networking event to buy a car. They just don’t do it. Then you’ve got these skewed expectations on either side. You’ve got people who are in the room because they’re hoping they can sell something.

Christel Wintels (25:08):

You got nobody in the room who’s looking to buy something, a business person walks away from a networking event says it’s a waste of my time. If you went to a networking event, you thought to yourself, I want to connect with three people who could make a difference to my business or my clients business. All of a sudden you’re going in with a completely different expectation and you will never leave disappointed, ever leave this.

Steve Loates (25:32):

That is great advice because that is absolutely true. It’s one of those things, like I said, that entrepreneurs are told they should be doing by anybody and everybody. Your accountant, your lawyer, your friends, your family. Yet, as you said, no one teaches them how to network. What does that mean? I think that’s great advice to make sure that you go to any networking event, whether it be BNI or anywhere with the right expectations. As long as you do that, you should be okay.

Christel Wintels (26:10):

Yeah, every time you will meet interesting people.

Steve Loates (26:14):

Yeah, for sure.

Juliette Aurora (26:16):

The adage that people do business with people comes through in that completely. That if that’s the statement that you have in your head, then your purpose for the networking should be to meet other people, not to sell them something, but just get to know other people.

Christel Wintels (26:33):

Yeah. If you add that next little level to your networking expectations, not only am I going to see if I can meet two or three people that can help me or my clients with something, I’m also going to see if I can help one person. Imagine if you start a new conversation with somebody brand new and in the back of your mind, you’ll be thinking I’m going to figure out if I can help this person or something. Your conversation changes completely.

Steve Loates (27:00):

Absolutely. I guess that is where those two words come from that resonate in BNI. I think they both begin with the letter G if I’m not mistaken. Would you like to share that with us Christel?

Christel Wintels (27:15):

I’m guessing that you’re referring to the corporate philosophy of givers gain.

Steve Loates (27:19):

Yes. Absolutely.

Christel Wintels (27:22):


Steve Loates (27:24):

I remember when we used to go to meetings, that resonated at every meeting until it just becomes second nature to you. It’s absolutely true, if you go there with the attitude, I’m going here to help someone, what can I give? It comes back to you, always.

Christel Wintels (27:45):


Juliette Aurora (27:46):

Can you tell us in this times of COVID, with BNI, obviously for most… I think most organizations, it might be all organizations meet weekly. None of them meet more than once a week, it’s just weekly?

Christel Wintels (27:59):

No. Every BNI Chapter is a weekly chapter meeting.

Juliette Aurora (28:03):

In the past, they would have been face to face breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, dinner meetings. You’re obviously now doing it all remotely and virtually. Has it changed?

Christel Wintels (28:14):

Has it changed? One of the things that we were able to do and for this, I’m incredibly grateful, we were able to pivot from a face to face format to an online format only losing one meeting. We were only dark for one meet, one week. In March of this year, 2020, when we transition from face to face to online. My goal as the business owner in BNI in this region was I just wanted to be able to have a format for all of our members to see each other. Because so many of our members, I mean, if we go back to that mid March time, none of us knew what was going on. None of us knew what to expect. Kids were not going back to school. We had just started March Break, parents had no idea what this was going to look like. There was a lot of fear, there was a lot of anxiety.

Christel Wintels (29:05):

My only goal, in that seven day period and my admin assistant and I, we work nonstop to get everybody up and online. My only goal for all the members because I was in constant email contact with them, I just want you to be able to see each other. I know that if you see each other, you will just feel better. I don’t care about referrals at the moment. God I hope nobody hears me say that. I don’t care about referrals at the moment. I just want you to be able to see each other to make sure everybody’s okay. We need to make sure we’re listening to people. We need to make sure we’re helping where we can those of us who can help. That was my goal.

Christel Wintels (29:40):

It could not have happened with a greater overwhelming support from the members. That first… I went to about five or six meetings. I joined them through a video conferencing, we use the Zoom platform. I went to as many as I could that first week. The emotion from the members it was phenomenal. I mean, there were tears. There were people saying, geez, I just am so glad to see you’re all fine. Is everyone healthy? Are your family’s healthy? That’s what people wanted to know.

Christel Wintels (30:13):

From that point right there, we decided as an organization for the next month, we’re just going to concentrate on how we can help somebody. What do you need, people needed people to go and get groceries for them because they were in self quarantine. They didn’t have that support. Their members stepped up, people picked up groceries. There was a couple of our trades people who had trucks that couldn’t be on the road because they couldn’t work. They said, “If you need me to go to the grocery store and pick up your groceries and drop them off at your mom’s, I’ll do it. Just tell me what you need.”

Christel Wintels (30:45):

It was just astonishing to me across the board. In that perspective, I think even I was overwhelmed by the depth of relationship that the members have. I think they even surprised each other by how much they were there for each other. You know what, the business took a backseat for a few weeks. We had up to 50% of our members who couldn’t work for two to three months. They’re just going back now. They’re going back at a completely different capacity. Again, we’ve got members that are supporting each other through that.

Christel Wintels (31:17):

We had members supporting each other to pivot to an online format which was amazing. That level of support, I don’t think that that would have been available without that structure of DNI, knowing you had to be at the weekly meeting, knowing that you had all those folks that were truly caring about where you were through the whole first six weeks. It was amazing.

Juliette Aurora (31:41):

It just reminds you how powerful… Again, you said at the beginning that most business owners don’t like to network, but this is the power of having a network.

Christel Wintels (31:54):

Absolutely. Your network can see you through this. No one would have anticipated this. No one.

Steve Loates (32:00):

The power of relationships, without relationship there’s no networking anyway or at least certainly not a second meeting.

Christel Wintels (32:10):

No, absolutely.

Steve Loates (32:11):

That’s great. Well, that I think that is a great segue but not really. We are now going to go to the part of the show which we call the smart man smarter woman version of the James Lipton Q&A from the actor studio. I can tell by the look on your face, Christel, you’ve got this really rehearsed. No surprise look at all folks. We really should have a video here so you could have seen that.

Christel Wintels (32:43):

Aha. I loved James in the studio as well.

Steve Loates (32:48):

That was one of my favorite shows. Certainly this was my favorite part of this show. Everybody who tunes in knows that. So, are you ready Christel?

Christel Wintels (32:59):

As ready as I’ll ever go.

Steve Loates (33:00):

Awesome. What one word best defines an entrepreneur?

Christel Wintels (33:06):


Steve Loates (33:07):


Christel Wintels (33:08):

Fearless doesn’t mean, in my estimation of an entrepreneur, the lack of fear. It means that the vision of whatever the heck it is you want to do is stronger than the fear. When your mom looks at you and says, what do you mean? How will you get a paycheck if you start your own business? If your friend looks at you and says, “Are you kidding me? That sounds like a ridiculous idea.” That your vision drives you through. It’s not the absence of fear. It’s that the fear takes a backseat to this is what I want to do, and this is what I’m going to do.

Steve Loates (33:40):

Awesome. What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?

Christel Wintels (33:47):

I would like to be a private investigator.

Steve Loates (33:50):


Christel Wintels (33:51):

I want to be nosy and get paid for it.

Juliette Aurora (33:55):

I like that answer.

Steve Loates (33:56):

Yeah, well, it was honest too I think. what profession would you like never to attend?

Christel Wintels (34:04):

I’m pretty sure I couldn’t be a heart surgeon. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get my hands in people’s bodies. I’m fairly certain that is not aligned with anything I could do.

Steve Loates (34:13):

Okay, perfect. What sound or noise do you love?

Christel Wintels (34:20):

It’s a sound… I grew up on a farm. Where I grew up there was a whole lot of trees. One of the things that I used to love the sound of, there was a whole lot of evergreens that were a wind break around our house. I just loved the sound when it got real windy out there and you could hear the wind coming through those trees. I find that a very comforting sound.

Steve Loates (34:41):

Terrific. What book would you recommend every entrepreneur should read?

Christel Wintels (34:48):

I would recommend the E-Myth. That is probably the book that I have given away to more entrepreneurs, particularly entrepreneurs who truly want to make that transition from being the technician in their business to actually running a business. Because I think that is the single most difficult transition that any entrepreneur goes through. There are some great entrepreneurs out there who prefer to be the technician because that’s where their level of expertise and comfort lies. But for those of us who have this vision of building an empire, whatever that empire might look like, transitioning from somebody who’s good at the thing, to good at people is an enormously huge transition. I think that the E-Myth handles that transition in a very easy to understand manner.

Steve Loates (35:37):

Agreed. It’s a great book and certainly a must read for entrepreneurs. When your own entrepreneurial journey is completed, what do you hope your legacy is?

Christel Wintels (35:49):

Funny that you asked me that question. I am at age now where I’m supposed to have wills and succession plans and everything in place. Just to be clear, I’m not 95 or anything, but getting to the point where you’re getting to not the beginning of your career. It’s one of the things that I’ve been thinking about. One of the things that’s very important to me is women leaders. I am always thrilled when I have an even split of male female in chapters, because I feel that that makes for a better network.

Christel Wintels (36:23):

I think that women network differently than men. Men network differently than women and we can learn from each other from the strengths. I’m a huge proponent of women taking that leadership approach, not being afraid to have their voices being heard. I would like to as a legacy be, I guess, remembered if you will as someone who was a loud and firm supporter of women business leaders, women in leadership roles, and I don’t think that women should feel uncomfortable to be in leadership roles. I also think we lead completely differently than men lead.

Christel Wintels (37:00):

Again, there’s that opportunity to learn from each other as leaders and that’s something that I hope I’ve been able to instill into the culture of this organization as well. We are all business people regardless of sex and leaders are leaders regardless of gender.

Juliette Aurora (37:17):

Love that.

Steve Loates (37:18):

Awesome. Okay, and for any of our listeners in the audience who would like to connect with you, what is the best way for them to reach you Christel?

Christel Wintels (37:27):

Probably through email is the easiest way to get me currently. My email address, do you want me to share that with everybody?

Steve Loates (37:34):


Christel Wintels (37:35):

It’s Christel but my first name is spelt like Christmas. So it C-H-R-I-S-T-E-L@BNIGH.com. If that’s too tough, info@BNIGH.com also gets to me. Then we have a website which is BNIGH which stands for GoldenHorseshoe.com. Folks can get in touch with us through that as well.

Steve Loates (37:57):

Awesome and we will in the show notes, on our website, we will have the website for your BNI so people can look at it there if you forget what it is. Do you have any final thoughts for our audience before we close out the show?

Christel Wintels (38:16):

One of the things that people have asked me because I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time is what do you think the most difficult thing was about starting and being an entrepreneur. I think if you have the courage and ability to ignore the financial roller coaster that’s going to happen through your entrepreneurial ride as long as where you’ve aligned yourself is truly where you want to be, in the type of business that you created and the kind of services that you offer. If you can ignore the financial stuff as much as you can, because that’s I think where a lot of the fear lies for entrepreneurs, then honestly your vision will see you through.

Christel Wintels (39:01):

It just all starts to come together. I got that advice very early on in my entrepreneurial career and didn’t believe it. Because seriously, when you’re scrambling to pay the bills, does the vision matter? But if you stick with it to the best of your ability, the vision is where success lies. It’s not simply financial success. It’s the success of being aligned with a business that you know aligns with you. I think that’s the definition of success for all of us as entrepreneurs.

Christel Wintels (39:34):

Because most of the entrepreneurs that I know, you look at them and say, we could be making a ton more money if we picked a different career. We wouldn’t give this up because we’re doing fine at this stage financially. We worked at the beginning, because you never are. But if you stick with what you’re sure is the right thing for you. Honestly, I’ll tell you 30 years on from that advice for me, it is absolutely true. At the beginning, it’s incredibly difficult to believe but at the end you’re like, yep, that’s exactly and I’m glad I stayed the course. So stay the course.

Steve Loates (40:11):

Great advice. That brings us to… Those were some words of wisdom. This brings us to our official, smart man smarter woman words of wisdom. That is a quote. As many of you know, I am a bit of a quote nerd so we have to have a quote. I couldn’t really decide so I’d actually… I put down two or three but the way the conversation has gone, I think I now know which is the right one for today’s episode. It’s one that probably many of you have already heard, but nonetheless, it is still one of the best quotes.

Steve Loates (40:51):

You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. The master himself, Mr. Zig Ziglar. I think that was appropriate for what we’ve talked about today. Again, I would like to thank our guests, Christel, great job, lots of wonderful information. Thank you very much.

Christel Wintels (41:16):

[inaudible 00:41:16].

Steve Loates (41:17):

Thank you to my wonderful co host, the smart woman herself. Do you have any last words for us today Juliet?

Juliette Aurora (41:24):

Honestly, I don’t and I know that’s probably just a shock.

Steve Loates (41:28):


Juliette Aurora (41:29):

But I think more than anything, just a reinforcement of the importance of relationships. I think Christel did a great job emphasizing that as to how important that is to business.

Steve Loates (41:40):

Agreed. Thank you to everyone and most importantly, thank you to our audience. Thank you for tuning in for giving us a listen. We sincerely hope you found some value here for your time. If he did, please subscribe. You can find us in all the normal places, iTunes, Shopify, Google or you can go to our website smartmansmarterwoman.com and subscribe. That way you’ll get notified each week when we upload our new episode. Thank you, until next time, take good care of yourself and those that you love. Bye for now.

Song by Adam Vitovsky / CC BY 3.0

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Episode 15