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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Celebrating Our 16th Year of Helping Our Grads to REALLY Connect!


May 8th is when we are going to celebrate with our newest Toledo grads at our traditional networking event. It will begin at 5::30 pm at the Maumee Indoor Theater.  Yes, there will be free beer, wine, pop and food!  Bob Werner will be there to be our “Cheers” bartender.  But the most important part is that this is the time we welcome each student to our community.  It is an opportunity for you to bring a guest or networking referral partner to spend time getting to know that person better or maybe to introduce that person to someone in the CN network.  We end early enough so that you can grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants.  Come have fun and create the noise we need to hear at graduation.

Cleveland’s graduation lunch with be Friday, June 1 at 11:30am.  We are still firming up the location, but an announcement will be made soon.

Toledo Patio After Hours
May 21st will be our next After Hours event in the Toledo area.  It will begin at 5:30 at the new R Taco in Maumee. This restaurant is in the strip that you pass as you turn into the area to get to Panera on Dussel.  CNer, Shannon Benge’s company, Fast Signs is in the same group of businesses.  Rick Small the owner is excited about hosting us.  If it is a nice night, we will have access to the patio.  He has drink specials including Margaritas and there of course will be tacos to eat.  Bring your guests to this event too, to find out how fun our whole community is.

Future Calendar Dates
The BOA decided to take a break from events for the month of April because it seems that everyone is busy with many other activities – spring break trips, Easter Holidays and just getting outside with the nice seasonally warm weather.  We do have many plans for the rest of the year and the dates and  types of events are listed below so that you can get them on your calendar.  Guests are always welcome at all our events.

May 8th,    Graduation, 5:30 PM
May 21st,   Patio Afterhours, 5:30 PM
June 1st,    Cleveland Graduation lunch, 11:30 AM
June 18th   Breakfast, Nina Corder speaking, “Networking diversity”,
                   Location TBD
Aug. 5th      Annual Summer Picnic at Debby's home
Sept. ?       Toledo Lunch, perhaps a downtown location
Oct. 20th    Corn Maize at The Butterfly House 6:00pm
Nov 19th,   Graduation, 5:30 PM

Social Media
Stay in the Know!!
Never miss out on a networking event again!  As CN confirms an event, it is set up under the Events tab on our Facebook page with all of the info and links to register if applicable.  While on our Facebook page, simply click on the Events tab and you will see the Subscribe button on the right just above the list of events. Click on it and you are set to go! You can also invite people to the events and share them to your Facebook page as well! Visit our page at today!

Member Spotlight:

Kevin Walker, J.A. Orsky Wealth Management
by Debby Peters,

Tennis is a big part of this big –hearted financial planner’s life, but dancing, especially Hip-hop, certainly is a talent that continues to peak through!  Having toiled in the financial industry for 11 years, Kevin Walker joined another CN grad, Jason Orsky’s firm, J. A. Orsky Wealth Management, a little over six months ago.  He and Orsky met when they both worked for Edward Jones.  Walker then became a solo practitioner for three years before this last move.  Walker shares, "I made the decision to go with Jason because we have similar ideals:  community, facing problems head on and volunteering.  Also, he has great technology and even better staff!  It was truly a win for me."

A Boy Scout growing up, he continues to be active with that organization with his youngest child, Ben.  Kevin is the Committee Chair for the Avon Scouts, which basically means that he runs the Cub Scout program for the area.  He earned his Life Scout award, stopping shy of achieving his Eagle Scout and knowing what he knows today, he wishes that he had continued on.  His favorite quote is one that he sees at a Boy Scout campground, “Never do anything for a Scout, that a Scout can do for himself.”  Kevin says that he actually changes the word to child in working with his own children.

Married to Sarah for 16 years in June, they met through a work acquaintance.  He scheduled a date, but then in the meantime she got a job at the same Best Buy facility that he managed.  He then had to cancel the date for obvious reasons.  Several years went by but finally she no longer worked for the same company and they reconnected.  He found out then that the very first day she had met him she told a friend that she had found the man she was going to marry.  You could call her Kevin’s Best Buy!  They are the parents of three children, Kate 14, his sports nut; Zach 11, who is into climbing and the aforementioned Ben, 9.  Between tennis and his kids he is busy all the time.

One funny story about Kevin is that his tennis team made it to the 2013 nationals.  At the end of the tournament, there was a big celebration type event that included a dance competition.  He won the contest, so his teammates call him the 2013 UTTA National Dance Champ!  Kevin laughs and says, “I guess you could call me the ‘wedding dancer’ as I am the one who always gets things started out the on the dance floor.

He is a member and chapter president of the Seats for Success BNI chapter; also he is a board member of the Westlake Kiwanis and the Westlake/Bay Village Rotary and is a member of the Northcoast Chamber.  He lives the Rotary 4 way test in his daily life:  1) Is it the truth? 2) Is it fair to all concerned? 3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships? and 4) Is it beneficial to all concerned?

Whether it is smacking a tennis ball, kicking up a storm on the dance floor or helping educate those who come to him with their financial stuff, Kevin always has a story to tell and an easy laugh that goes along with it. If you can catch him, get to know him by having a one-to-one or lobbing some tennis balls at him.


CN Horn Tooting


KC Allen, owner of Findlay’s  Allen Film & Video, in Findlay finished 2017 with a busy season creating training videos for DGS, the ground crew subsidiary of Delta Airlines.  When you fly Delta land safely on the ground anywhere in the USA and see baggage agents acting professionally and taking good care of your luggage, following their safety procedures and scanning your luggage tags so you can track them in your Delta Airlines app, you can thank Allen Film & Video. (

Barb Wilson, owner of SM3 is excited to be managing the social media for the Lucas County Fair again this year! There are some exciting changes coming to the fair and we can't wait to make the official announcements soon. The Fair will run from July 10-15 at the fairgrounds in Maumee. 

Deb Cash, Yuballa, shares the power of the "ask" on our email list that had a happy ending when Debby Peters sent us an ask on behalf of her friend, Laura Salazar’s husband Jose. Jose was looking for employees at the Waterville Krogers and it just so happened that her son Chris was looking for a new job. Chris applied and was hired! He loves his new job and teammates.

Kerri Brimmer, Brimming Design, is excited to be creating several new websites including those in progress for Arrowhead Park Association, Anderson Family Chiropractic and Wellness and Spoke Life Cycles. She has just completed rebranding the Women of Toledo website and is creating promotional materials for all their events.

Monique Myers is now working in her passion as the Midwest Outreach Coordinator with iLEAD Schools Development. She is excited to report that the school awareness has grown since she started 6 months ago. Enrollment is increasing as well! It is only April and they are already projecting that enrollment will at least double for the upcoming school year.

Megan Coyle Stamos, Coyle Funeral Home, had a world record pre-need year in 2017. She had sales 1.1 million dollars in funded contracts and as a result earned a trip to Alaska for a 7 day cruise. Coyle Funeral and Cremation Services continues celebrating 130 years of business. 

CN Graduate, Teresa Boyer, Provisional Pen Writing Services, Ltd ,will perform in Charmed Like a Snake, a farcical tragedy set during the chaos surrounding the 9/11 attacks, involving f, ictional characters at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The play shows one time only on Saturday, April 28th at 8:00 pm at the Toledo Repertoire Theater. 

Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain Law Group is proud to announce that they now have their estate planning seminars available as free, on-demand webinars that can be accessed from their website at  Now people can learn at their convenience from their own device.

Jennifer Antonini, Law Offices of Jennifer Antonini, Ltd., had her first jury trial in Sandusky County with a probate matter.  She were successful in getting a jury verdict in her client’s favor. Jennifer has had several bench trials over the years, but this was the first jury and it was quite a moment.

Tonya Anderson is proud to say that she and her husband, Corey Anderson are featured in the most current edition of Success from Home Magazine new on the shelves now. Their company, ACN, is celebrating their 25th anniversary with the founders of our company featured on the cover.  However, Tonya and Corey are being recognized for being top producers in the company for the past 22 years. 

Liz Thees, The Pinnacle, is proud to announce the start of their 7th season of Twilight Thursdays this month. In the past seven years they have helped more than 100 charities raise over $120,000!

Good news! After a 7 month job search, Nick Nigro was hired by Zepf Center as an Account Rep for the Health Profession Opportunity Grant program where he works on the Business Outreach Team helping the candidates in the program with job search and career development issues while developing relationships with local healthcare employers and community resources.
The Retro Candy Store
by Jason Madasz,

This past summer my kids discovered this really cool, retro candy store that opened in the plaza down the street from us.  Every other day they would walk down the street with their friends and discover one of the unique candies that many of us grew up with.  Candy Buttons, Pez, Wax Bottles and Double Bubble just to name a few.  It was so cool to see their smiling faces, while also reliving my youth.  So, you can imagine my disappointment this week, when I learned that the retro candy store was permanently closing.  Unfortunately, this is just one additional closed retail store that can be added to the pile of closures that the plaza has seen over the past few years.  What is even more disappointing is that the majority of them could have been easily prevented.

So, why is it that some businesses succeed, while others quickly fail?  Obviously, this is a complex question with hundreds of different reasons, so it is not a question that can be answered in a simple blog.  That said, there is one thing that I have seen repeatedly make a difference for small startup companies……Business Networking.  The owners of the Retro Candy Store had been repeatedly asked to visit some different businesses networking organizations in the area, but like so many others before them, they always had an excuse why they couldn’t attend.

In stark contrast to the Retro Candy Store, not a day goes by that I don’t hear some small business professional tell me, “I wouldn’t be in business today if it weren’t for this group.”  Business Networking provides so many critical resources to new companies for a price tag that they could never find anywhere else.  Here are a few that came to mind.  

To read more go to

How Can You Stand Out?
by Debby Peters,

This past week I heard award-winning author, John U. Bacon speak at a program about diversity and inclusion and I have been thinking about that topic ever since.  In my opinion his description of diversity was the best.  He said “Diversity is just different.”  Perfect.

What ways does diversity enter our lives every day.  Most of us tend to think of ethnicity or other traditional markers when we hear this word, but it could also mean so many other things. 
How does that affect our networking worlds? It does subliminally in so many ways.

Have you ever been at a networking event and you made a quick decision about someone that perhaps you haven’t even talked to yet?  Appearance or behavior that is outside your “normal realm” might be shaping those thoughts.  Or have you made a judgment about another business person based on his business model that is different than yours?  Or have you made immediate friend with someone who plays golf at the same club you do?

An element of networking is finding those folks that we can easily make a connection with.  Sometimes it is just one isolated item or experience that ties two of you together.  Having that commonality bonds you together and fosters a stronger relationship.  Stronger relationships usually mean that the two people have a desire to help each other – which certainly could mean referrals!

The question I have had to since hearing Bacon speak is, “Am I getting past the surface to find more of what I have in common rather than what I have in difference?”   I’d like to think that I do a pretty good job, but I am just as human as the next guy.  Are my judgments holding me back from finding the best referral partner in the world?  This is a work in progress!


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