Big Tsunami News

The Big Tsunami Hits It Out Of The Park

The 4th annual BNI softball tournament was held on August 24th and the Big Tsunami fielded not one but two teams this year. Both teams were undefeated going into afternoon play and were forced to go head to head in a semi-final game.

It was an amazing day of ball with some amazing people. Thanks yo everyone that came out. A big shout out to DA for spending all the hours putting together the line-ups and working closely with team captains, Kenn Burns and Dave Gajdosik.

Also want to say thanks to Kenn Burns and Embroidme for making the shirts for both teams. Like always, we were the best looking/dressed teams on the field.

This year one of The Big T teams hit the big leagues and had a full time bat boy. Connor Gajdosik did a great job grabbing the bats after players hit.

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As a part of this years charity initiatives by the chapter, strategic philanthropy’ was discussed during the April 17 education moment.  This video discusses some good points on how charitable initiatives can achieve better results by approaching them in the same way, and perhaps at the same time, as we approach our businesses.
Great_Sandwich_MakeApril 2013: Welcome our new leadership team for what is going to be a wonderful and record setting Big Tsunami year. The chapters new President is Malene Grotrian. Her team also includes Jay Newell as VEEP and Judi Wang as Secretary Treasurer. Check back for more news and the upcoming financial goals for The Big Tsunami.

March 2013: The Great Sandwich Make
BNI Big Tsunami along with BNI Marinaside were happy to contribute to the 2013 Great Sandwich Make which fed over 850 people in Vancouver’s east side on Saturday March 2nd.

January 2013:  What does a $4million dollar chapter look like?  In 2012 The Big Tsunami, a chapter of 48 set a revenue target goal of $3.75 million. This was to slightly exceed its 2011 goal of $3.5million. In the past 7 years in particular, The Big Tsunami has experienced a yearly increase in revenue with each year outdoing it’s last. This year in particular, hitting the $4million mark has set the tone that they can do even better. They run this chapter like a business by forecasting, anticipating growth, continuous membership education is encouraged and working together as a team is a given. 2012 was a fantastic year!



BackPacksDec 2012: This month, the Big T chose to rally in a BIG WAY for homeless youth in Vancouver by supporting the Covenant House’s Christmas Backpack Program. Over 50 backpacks were stuffed by our chapter and delivered on December 12 to Covenant House for distribution. For complete information on this fantastic program, please visit the Covenant House BC website.




Nov 2012:

The Big T was challenged by BNI Marinaside to not only produce the man with the fugliest Mo, but dared us to see who could raise more funds than the other. Of course there are no real  losers as Movember is the real BIG WINNER, but we do want to mention that Marinaside raised $799 and the Big T finished at $2655. Colin Cuthbert of the Big T took the Starbucks prize for the fugliest Mo, while Marinaside’s Ami Cohen took home the big Starbucks Prize beating out his competitors.


Oct 2012:

During the month of October, BNI Big Tsunami held a coin drive to support the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Members emptied their pockets, checked their couch cushions, and pooled their coins to raise over $300!
Great job Team Big T! 
To learn more about the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and to donate, please visit their website .

January 2012

Setting a new BNI BC record!

The Big Tsunami set a new BNI BC record for the most revenue generated by a chapter. $3.5 million was passed between members.


Fall 2011

Once again, many Big Tsunami BNI members have won the 2011 Georgia Staight “Best of Vancouver” award. Congratulations goes out to Kelli Taylor, Bernie Pawlik, Paul Toffoli, Kathering Lazaruk, Sheron Stone, Birgit Vaskina, David Penner, Colin Cuthbert, Krista Simon, Shelley Adams and Wil Seto…


December 1st, 2010

Founders Award 2010

On December 1st, Big Tsunami’s Director Ian Scott attended our breakfast meeting to award Big T with a Founders Award. In BNI, Founders Awards are given to high performing chapters in a region. Chapters are nominated for awards by their Director. Of the 5,800 international BNI chapters, Ian estimated that only about 2% of the chapters received the prestigious award this year.

According to Ian Scott, he considered the following before recommending the Big Tsunami for an award:

1)Number of members over 5 years membership

2)Functioning membership committee

3)Advanced mentoring process set up

4)Revenue generated

5)Chapter follows BNI guidelines

6)Number of members in the chapter.

Currently, the team has about 15 members who have been with the Big Tsunami for more than 5 years. Our membership committee meets monthly, and follow the three-tier interview process recommended by BNI. Our mentors are active, especially with new members, and also meet monthly.

The Chapter’s goal for referred income in 2010 is $3,000,000. Yes 3 million $$! In 2009 we surpassed our goal of $2.75 million and we are on track to crack the 3 million mark this year. In the spring of 2008 membership in the Big Tsunami hit an all-time high, and has been fairly consistent since, currently at 46.

Awards were presented at the 2010 International Directors Conference and 25th Anniversary Celebration held in Orange County, California November 11th to 13th, 2010. December 1st was an exciting day at the Big T, when Ian Scott brought home the award and passed it to current president, Colin Cuthbert, who was thrilled and honoured to share the esteemed accolade with team members of the Big T. According to Colin, “we tell each other each and every week how proud we are to work together and support each other on our journeys of success. We define these goals in our individual ways and it is incredible to receive such an award on an international level that recognizes the collective success we’ve achieved over the years as a team, a family and a business. I am profoundly proud of the little wave that could, does and will.”

Want to be a part of this awesome group? If so, join us on Wednesday mornings at the Boathouse. And stay tuned for our financial results for 2010. Expect another high performance and record-breaker, the Big T is prepared for peak performance one again!


September 2010

Best of Vancouver

Once again in 2010, the Big Tsunami was well represented in the Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver awards. Of our 48 member team, ten members were selected by the public as the best in their categories.

We asked the award-winning members what made them stand out, why they were voted the best and here’s what they said:

Birgit Vaskina, with Meridian Pacific Mortgages, winner of Best Independent Mortgage Broker says, “I think I got voted best because I am personable, a problem solver – I get the deal done, and because I have a powerful networking team that I work with, who help my clients out – making their experience as fluid and stress free as possible.”

Dr. Shelley Adams, from Back2Health Chiropractic Clinic, believes she was voted Best Chiropractor because “I offer effective treatment: both chiropractic and soft tissue therapy, I get to the root cause of the problem, and I am fun to hang out with….I put the CARE back in health care!!”

Bernie Pawlik, owner of Pawlik Automotive won for Best Auto Service (Independent). Bernie was voted best in his category for two main reasons: “we do a great job and are well liked by our clients.”

Sheron Stone at Symetrix, won Best Personal Trainer. She says she believes she was voted best in her category because “I surround myself with positive, healthy, inspiring people … and that energy is contagious! I take it in and, in turn, pass it back to my clients, work-team and business partners!”

Kelli Taylor, not only won Best Acupuncturist category, but her wellness spa, Elements Wellness Centre also won 2nd place in Best Integrative Health Clinic. Kelli “truly cares about people and their health. I do my best to help people heal their bodies and if I can’t help them then I am not afraid to refer them to someone who can.”

David Penner owner of Jewellry Artists 3D, winner in the Best Custom Jewelry Store presents “an amazing and entertaining customer experience that is unique in my marketplace” and that is why he believes he wins votes and customers.

For Paul Toffoli, of TRG Realty, winner of Best Realtor, it’s simply his “customer care and attention that make the difference.”

And finally, according to Colin Cuthbert, with auto/ONE, winner of Best Auto Broker/ Used Car Dealer, and Big Tsunami’s President, they “earned the loyalty and votes of our clients because we help our clients by putting them in the driver’s seat (pun intended). They tell us exactly what they want and leave all of the hard work to the experts. We do all of the research and market analysis and provide them with exceptional opportunities with the best value in the market.”

Other winners include:
Angela Hubbard, of Hubbard Photography, tied for Best Wedding Photographer

Krista Simon, of Hammerberg Altman Beaton & Maglio LLP, won Best Lawyer when an accident strikes.
Brooke Hulke, of Rebound, came in second in Best Massage Therapist category.
Malene Grotrian, of Malene Grotrian Design won second in Best Local Designer Clothing Store.
and Bobbi-Jo Roback, won third in Best Local Travel Agent

Congratulations to all. Great job! To meet more amazing business people each Wednesday morning, join us for a BNI breakfast at the Boathouse Restaurant at English Bay, an award-winning restaurant in its own right, winning Best Patio award.

March 23rd, 2010

New Leadership team announced for the Big T as 2009 team honoured for a record year!
WOW! has it been a year already? It’s time to hand over the running of our business networking chapter. The past 12 months have seen a new revenue record but also a new location and much more…First off lets thank the 2009 leadership team. Allison Cousins, Brenda Cadman and Kenn Burns. Under their leadership, the chapter set and exceeded the passed revenue goal of $2.7 million. The year also saw the chapter moving locations from Sylvia Hotel to the Boathouse in English Bay.

The chapter said goodbye to a few members in 2009 but also welcomed a number of new members throughout the year. 2009 finished with 48 Big T members. Still the largest chapter in BC and in the top 3 in Canada. Great Job gang!

The Big T is excited to welcome the new leadership team that is going to drive the chapter through 2010. The new president is Colin Cuthbert, new vice president is Nicole Burke and the secretary treasurer will be Angela Dean.


Friday Feb 26th, 2010
We will be back at The Boathouse in English Bay for our Wednesday morning networking breakfast starting in March. Thanks to the Coast Hotel on Marine Drive for making room for us during the Olympics.

Wednesday January 27th, 2010

The Big T sets another BNI BC record with the passing of over $2.7 Million dollars in 2009. That is an average of almost $50K for each and every member of our chapter.

Big Tsunami growth means NEW LOCATION!
Wednesday, July 6th, 2009
At over 50 members and growing, the Big Tsunami outgrew their breakfast meeting location at the Sylvia Hotel and is moving next door to The Boathouse.
This exciting move means:
  • More room for guests and guest rally days
  • A larger dining area with better sight lines and acoustics
  • New menu choices
  • The same great sunrise view
  • and more!
The Big Tsunami wishes to thank to Sylvia Hotel and, specifically, Heather Courtney, Food and Beverage Director, for their two year parternship and service. We highly recommend the Sylvia Hotel as a great place for out-of-town guests to experience a piece of Vancouver history!
The Big Tsunami’s first meeting at The Boathouse will be on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009.

Friday, May 29th, NORTH SHORE NEWS FASHION FILE | Big Tsunami Wine Pairing …more

Vancouver BNI Chapter partners with CKNW Orphans’ Fund to practice “Givers Gain” philosophy

May 15, 2009

Today, BNI Big Tsunami is one of the top 4 BNI Chapters in the country. Four years ago, however they were floundering and shrinking and it’s members conceived an idea to reenergize the chapter: the 1st Annual Big Tsunami Wine Pairing in celebration of BNI Canada’s 10th Anniversary was born.

That first wine pairing was a huge success and marked a turning point, bringing exposure and new members to the chapter. Over the past 4 years, the Wine Pairing has offered an opportunity to showcase BNI, The Big Tsunami and it’s members while strengthening networks between chapters and expanding external networks. Each year improved upon the last.

This year, a very enthusiastic Wine Pairing Committee put their heads together and asked themselves, “What’s next? How do take this event to the NEXT level?”

The conclusion? In true BNI “Givers Gain” spirit, this year’s 5th Annual BNI Big Tsunami Wine Pairing is being put on in support of the CKNW Orphans Fund, a charity dedicated to promoting the health and welfare of physically, mentally challenged and disadvantaged children in BC communities.

Big Tsunami President, Allison Cousins, says “What a privilege to be in the position to take an event that has given us so much and turn it in to an opportunity to help such a great cause!”

If “givers” do in fact gain then what does the Big T stand to gain? To start, the opportunity to network with media and a network of CKNW Orphans Fund supporters and exposure on CKNW radio for the event, Big T and BNI.

The 5th Annual BNI Big Tsunami Wine Pairing will take place on June 11th at the grand Hycroft Manor. For more details, check out

January 14th, 2009

Almost there!
The Big Tsunami is just shy of our revenue goals set for 2008. In January 08, a goal of $2.5 Million was suggested and the members of the chapter took up the challenge. The total dollar amount of referrals passed in 2008 was $2.4 Million. This is a new BNI BC record!

December 3, 2008
Written by: Dave Pinton

The Big Tsunami Provides a Wave of Christmas Giving

The Big Tsunami is getting into the spirit of the holidays by giving a sleigh-load of gifts to underprivileged families across Metro Vancouver.

Members of the Big T are stepping up and donating toys to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. Thanks to their efforts, more than 50 children who otherwise might not receive a single present, will now get a gift on Christmas morning.

On December 3rd, Big Tsunami members brought an unwrapped toy to their breakfast networking meeting, and used the toys in their individual infomercials, to describe how the gift embodied the qualities of their business

After the meeting, firefighters from the West End Firehall collected to toys to be delivered in style to the Christmas Bureau’s headquarters.

Chapter President, Troy Busniuk, says the group realizes they’ve done well in raising over 2 million dollars of referred business amongst chapter members and this was a good way to give back.

“We have all had a phenomenal year and continue to have a phenomenal year and this is just a small way we can give back to those who might have had a hard time.”

Rather than simply assigning a gift to a family, the Christmas Bureau gives parents a chance to choose an unwrapped gift specifically for their child. The process helps personalize the gift and gives parents a more dignified way to seek help.

Secretary Treasurer, Elinor Warkentin, said this organized method helps provide almost as much relief for parents as it does fun for the kids.

The Christmas Bureau’s Board President, Mimi Grad, is grateful for the support, especially during an economic downturn.

“We’re seeing more and more of the working poor – people who are bringing home a paycheck and still can’t make ends meet, and this just helps them have a little something for their kids at Christmas.”


October 2008

The Big T reaches 50 members for the first time in the chapters 8 year history. Chapter President, Troy Busniuk put a challenge to the chapter in April when he took over the lead role of the group “We challenged the group to see if we could reach 55 members by the end of 2008. We’ve hit 50 members and have over two months go”

Back in April of this year the chapter decided to drive up the quality of the business referrals passed but also set a goal of $2.5 Million in referred business. Troy says, ” with the 50 members, we have increased our chances of hitting the target and perhaps even exceeding it”.

Summer 2008

$1.6 Million(& counting)

The Big T sets a new BNI BC record for most revenue generated by referrals surpassing the record set of $1.4 Million in 2007.

We are well on our way to our $2.5 Million goal set in January 2008. The 50+ business professionals are all 100% committed to hit this goal and reach for even higher targets in the years to come. Check out the members and reserve your seat at the next meeting

Ozzie Kipnes from Hot Wax Mobile MusicCongratulations to Ozzie Kipnes from Hot Wax… February, 2008

At the BNI Gala on Saturday February 23rd, 2008, Ozzie Kipneswas crowned the Big T’s Master Networker of the year. This was the second year in a row that Ozzie was awarded the title.Congratulations to Allison Cousins and Troy Busniuk for being nominated. You are all valuable members of our chapter.

This years Gala was organized once again by Deborah Wallace and her team from The Finer Details. The evening was perfect!

Check out the photos from People Shots Photography!

The first to $1,000,000January 1st, 2008
The Big Tsunami is the first chapter in BNI BC history to reach over $1,000,000 of referred business. They started out the year with a goal of $900K which would beat their 2006 record total of $714K. As the end of 2007 approached, the smashed the $900K goal and raised the goal to one million. The very next week after some qualified referrals they not only reached the one million mark but smashed through it! When all is said and done, The Big Tsunami generated over $1.3 million of referred business between over 40 members. Read about “The Little Wave That Could” in this months issue of BNI’s Success Net!

Stay tuned in 2008! The Big T is looking to set new records with a goal to generate $2.5 Million between 60 members. If you or someone you know is interested BNI, pay the Big T a visit and see how we do it.