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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Celebrating Our 18th Year of Helping Our Grads to REALLY Connect!

Monthly Lunches
It’s back!  Monthly lunches are now on the calendar for 2019.  We will again be at Smokey Bones 512 W Dussel Blvd, Maumee.  They will be from 11:30-1. The dates of the lunches are:

Sept 16
Oct 21
Nov 18- Celebrating and honor our Military Veterans

This is the third Monday of the month.  We are going to ask you to register in advance which means you can use your business credit card to do so.  The fee for lunch is $16 and the link to register is:

Social NEW!!
The second after-hours event of the year will be Sept 26 from 5:15-7:15pm at Rusty Taco at 1470 Ford St., Maumee.  Three CN grads have stepped forward to sponsor the evening:  Leo Idraikh & Nida Ammar, CTronics, Jeff Ogg, Jeffrey P. Ogg, CPA and Bill Wilson, Express Transmission are making sure we have plenty of tacos for the event.  We’ve had several successful after-hours events there. Come to have a bit of fun, drink some margaritas and get to know fellow CNers and their guests.  Yes, bring your friends.  It is a great way to introduce them to Connext Nation.

Did You Know?
Connext Nation is nationally certified to provide CPEs credits for CPAs. For the mini class they get 2 credits and for the ten week class they get 24.  Fall is a great time for that community to acquire these necessary continuing education units to satisfy the requirements for their CPA accreditation.  Our next 10 week series starts this month on Sept 6.

Terra Community College
CN is offering both the mini class and a 5 week version of the Referral Pursuit class this fall at Terra Community College in Fremont in their quest to connect better with the business community of the surrounding area.  If you know a business person in this region, please alert that person to this new opportunity.

New Offering for Grads
Thanks to  ’05 CN Grad, Barry Van Hoozen, State Farm Insurance, for the wonderful idea! Connext Nation will offer a grad review class that has a Master Mind component attached to it.  This is targeted to those grads who want to reinforce the techniques from the CN course that they may have forgotten.  Each of the six sessions will include training on a specific topic and then the facilitated brainstorming, accountability segment.  Each group will be limited to only 5 or 6 grads.  The cost for the series is only $599 and there is a budget plan of 4 monthly payments of $159.  If a grad requires a Connext Nation manual, the fee of the manual will be $50.  The course will meet weekly from 7:30-9:30 am with the first class on Oct 1 with no class on Oct 15.  Currently the location is to be determined in the Toledo area.  CN can offer this in the Cleveland area if the demand is sufficient.  If you are interested please contact Debby at

Changes in the Board of Action
As our Board of Action continues to evolve, we have one person stepping off and another grad accepting a seat on the group.  Linda Everhart Kardux, Co-Executive Director of WEN and VP of Business Navigators, is a long time member of the BOA. She has contributed with advice, door prizes, ideas and has always supported all our events with her presence.  She currently has a full plate and is making an effort to focus her efforts on just a couple areas.  We thank her for her service of so many years.  Starting Oct 1 she will be the president of the Partners for Success BNI chapter which will certainly take her time and attention.

Joining the BOA is Bill Wilson, Express Transmission, who has taken all he learned from his CN class and put it to use both in his business and with his community life.  Bill has already stepped to the plate and offered to sponsor the social event at Rusty Taco on Sept 26.  Welcome Bill!

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:

Nicole Quinn
by Jon Meyers,

I first met Nicole in the Connext Nation Referral Pursuits class.  Immediately, I knew that she would be a success because of her love of the Lord and her family.  She clearly understood that relationship was a key element in success and networking was integral in building these relationships. 

Nicole was presented an opportunity by her parents to shadow the owner of a window fashion business called Bellagio Window Fashions.  The owner wanted to retire and was looking to find a buyer for her business.  Nicole thought this might be a perfect opportunity to start her own business without starting from scratch.  After shadowing the owner for some-time she felt this business opportunity would be a great fit with her skills and passion.  

What drives Nicole is her desire to help people transform their dull washed-out spaces into charming rooms brought to life with fashionable window treatments.  Her goal is to position her business in the residential and commercial new construction market to take advantage of the blank canvas these projects offer.  This allows her to use her talents and fervor to complement the space with the perfect window fashions.

Nicole is a 2018 graduate of Connext Nation.  She said “the Referral Pursuit class really opened my eyes to the power and strength of networking.  It also taught me how to network properly and gave me the tools and confidence to grow my business.”  She also said that she regularly uses the one to one’s to meet new people that she can build long-term relationships with.  She also goes to networking events with a strategic plan for she wants to accomplish.  This allows her to stay focused and further her agenda.  She is always focusing on her target market at these functions.

Nicole is building her window fashion business by establishing relationships with experts in the real estate profession, such as Realtors, builders, contractors, interior designers, architects, and remodelers.  Nicole recently joined the Partners for Success BNI (Business Networking International) chapter of the Northwest Ohio District.  As illustrated by her faith and family values, Nicole firmly believes that givers gain.  She is hopeful that service, giving and gratitude in her BNI group and the CN community will eventually attract strong relationships that will lead to qualified referrals.  She is also active in WEN (Women’s Entrepreneurial Network) and the Maumee Chamber of Commerce.

When Nicole is not focusing on her business, she spends time with her husband who is also her business partner, Jason Quinn, and raising her four children ages 7 through 13.  Again, her family values and relationship God are very important in all aspects of her life.  She believes that a strong education influenced by Christian values is important, therefore, is sending her children to Toledo Christian School in South Toledo.  Outside of her beloved time with her family she enjoys golfing and bee keeping.  So next time you have a hankering for fried goat cheese with honey and black pepper be sure to help Nicole with a referral.  She just might offer you a jar of honey to express her gratitude.


CN Horn Tooting


Shannon Caperton, Shine Wellness & Acupuncture is proud to announce that she has hired Patrick Foy to staff her Rocky River office which will now be open five days per week.  Additionally she was nominated for the Athena Award, which acknowledges women who give other business women help and support.  This was reported in the Medina Country Woman’s Journal. She is providing scholarships for women to pursue holistic health careers.  Her first awardee is currently studying at her alma mater learning acupuncture skills.

Diame Spadola, Bella Faccia On The Lake, was recently recognized by a large international face painting group “Inspiration to Paint” for her dedication and contribution to the industry. This is what was said about Diane. This awesome lady is definitely a superhero. She manages Bella Faccia Painting in New Jersey AND Bella Faccia On The Lake in Ohio. She runs a coaching business and business boosting group for creative professionals, Accelerate Your Success. She has run races, she is caregiver to her father, she has helped train seeing eye dogs, she hosts workshops and guild activities, she's a member of the ITP "365 Club" ....and so much more. She has been our monthly sponsor TWICE, and I think last time she somehow found time to comment on almost every single post! She does everything she can to help those around her succeed. She is kind, generous, supportive, talented....and definitely embodies the ITP Family frame of mind!!

Jeff LaCourse, Affinity Advisory Network, LLC, has started offering a genetic cancer screening program for people who have a personal or family history of cancer. Medicare, Medicaid, and many PPO insurance plans cover the testing completely.  The test itself will identify genetic mutations that can cause someone to be more susceptible to certain types of cancer. The information from the report can be used to help in earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment. It can also offer valuable information for family members who may also be may have similar genetics. 

Kendra Bills, In Boom Flowers & Gifts, celebrated her 10th Anniversary on Friday, August 9 with a ribbon cutting performed by the Maumee Chamber of Commerce at which there was a large group of customers and city officials helping her to mark the occasion.  See related article.

Paula Birney, Arista Home Care Solutions, is addressing the need for non-emergency medical transportation by launching Orange Transport. Equipped with a wheelchair lift, this van meets the specific need of those who cannot transport safely and efficiently in a standard vehicle. Their private-pay service will transport you or your loved one to non-emergency medical appointments and other engagements with the assistance of trained drivers and aides.

Nida Ammar, CCTronic LLC, was a member of the panel for the event, IP 101, on August 8 2019.  This was organized by NextTechOhio/ Jumpstartand and was held at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick. The event discussed essential information to know about Intellectual Property and the different types of patents as well as the cases when a patent is necessary.  Each panel member brought a perspective from a different point of view.  There were experts on patenting as well as Nida who provided the voice from the startup businesses that is going through the process of patenting.
A Milestone 
by Debby Peters,
In the above horntooting column you read about Kendra Bills’ 10th anniversary of her store In Bloom Flowers & Gifts.  She added a great amount of information that needed its own spot in the newsletter.

She says, “Owning a business for 10 years has had its ups and downs, but looking back it’s been so worth it!  Initially, when I started the business, I thought everyone would come as soon as I hung out my shingle!  Wrong!!  It took me several years to understand that the way I was going to grow my business was to start networking.  I joined a BNI group in Maumee and Debby Peters was a part of my chapter. Up until then, I had never been in a room full of people that wanted to help me grow my business.  I didn’t know much about networking at that point and Debby kept talking about how she could help you get your next referral. I signed up for a mini class and was astounded!  I felt like this was the next step and I signed up for CN class and I learned how little I knew about networking!  It was eye opening, scary and such a great way to get out of my comfort zone!!  Sandy Pirwitz was my instructor and Krisi Vadnais was the Grad Assistant and these ladies were so wonderful in helping me get past some of the mental roadblocks that I had concerning my business and what I really wanted to be my focus.  CN was difficult, but the work I did there was transformative.  

The CN community has been so welcoming, it’s a great group to be a part of and know that I only need to reach out and there is a whole community there to support me!  So thank you CN, and thank you Debby for creating this tremendous community that I get to be a part of!  You have been such an integral part of the success of my business and I am forever grateful!!

Asking Too Soon
by Debby Peters,

You’ve just met with someone and the coffee chat has gone well.  If you were to measure you would probably say that you are in the early stages of the relationship.  And then all of a sudden it goes south!  That is because this new person sitting in front of you has asked to be introduced to a high-level contact in your network that you have taken years and years to develop. It’s not that you wouldn’t be happy to do this at some point in the future, but for some reason you don’t feel comfortable about it now.  

First of all let’s take a look at why you are experiencing discomfort.  In networking parlance, this new networking contact has “rushed the relationship.”  He or she has asked for more than the relationship level allows at this point.  What can you do?

Say, “You know, George is a very particular guy when it comes to business intros.  I wouldn’t want to ruin your chances with him without talking about it some more.  Really you only get one chance with him.  We can strategize the next time we meet on all the steps you need to take to make this happen in the future.”

The wording would be something like this.  “You know, I make a rule with myself, that I don’t introduce people that I’ve just met to others in my network.  Perhaps down the road it could happen.”

Again helpful verbiage would sound something like this.  “I have made a decision that our relationship is not to the point where I can make this intro.”  Then smile!

Ivan Misner, founder of BNI (Business Network International) has shared that many people have tried to ride his coattails to success.  He uses many of the methods above to remove himself from this challenging type of request. If there is someone else that he feels comfortable referring that person to, he will do it, but only if he feels comfortable.

We will all get surprised with such situations.  Being prepared for how to handle the issue will keep the awkwardness at bay and will preserve your priceless business relationships.

Be Careful What You Ask For
by Chris Kapelski,
The other day I found myself as I often do in a meeting of fellow business owners and professionals. The conversation was normal. We were discussing business and sharing insights on our experiences when an interesting topic arose. One member of our group decided to share a story of a recent interaction he had with a fellow business owner. It went a little something like this.

A Simple Favor
Several months prior he was approached by a newer member of an organization of which he had been a member for quite some time. They talked about business and started to get to know each other. As the conversation died down the newer member asked him if he would be willing to take a quick look at something for them. Not wanting to come off as rude or unhelpful, he agreed. After all, it was a simple favor that wouldn’t take but 15 minutes or so of his time. A few days later he completed the task and reported back his insight on what he had found. The newer member thanked him for his time and that was it. Until two weeks later…

Two weeks later a similar story played out. The member approached him again and asked to get his opinion on something. He again agreed, provided his opinion, and was thanked. Then it happened again a month later, then a couple of weeks after that. Each time they were all somewhat simple favors, but each time he grew more resentful of the requests. You see, he was a business coach, and what the new member was essentially asking him to do was to provide his consulting services, for free. 

The Unspoken Effect
What he never shared with the new member, but elected to share with us, was his displeasure in the repeated requests. The requests had created a divide between the he and the member. As the discussion continued I was shocked at the number of other people in our meeting group that had a similar story. Many had been asked to provide free services, discounted services, or barter. While the details of each story were a bit different it was clear one thing remained the same. Every single story ended negatively. Most ended with a tarnished relationship with a handful of our group now intentionally avoiding those that had made the requests.

Potential Solutions
When you ask for a favor I suggest making note of it. That way you can be sure to return the favor. If possible, return the favor immediately or at least let the person know you intend to return the favor. If I can’t return the favor quickly I’ll usually get the person a little gift to show my appreciation, even if they say don’t worry about it. Whatever you do, don’t wait too long to repay the favor. The other person may just assume you don’t intend to keep up your end of the bargain. 


Worth a Listen 
Ed. Note:  We all spend so much windshield time in our cars. Andrew Stainbrook turns that into learning and listening time for his career development.  Below is one title of an electronic book that he listened to.

Reading” in the Car
by Andrew Stainbrook,
Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
by David Groggins
Every day we wake up, we have a choice to make. Do we to stay the course doing only what is required to meet the status quo, or will we rise to the occasion, take charge of our lives and be the uncommon one who gets after it day after day? In the book, Can't Hurt Me, David shares his story about how he went from an overweight, out of shape, self-loathing exterminator to becoming a Navy Seal and one of the world’s top endurance athletes, completing more than 60 ultra marathons.  Throughout the journey of David’s life, he shares several strategies on how he was able to master his mind and overcome extreme physical and mental challenges. If you are looking for a mental edge on how to take control of your life or if you are already uncommon and want to be uncommon amongst uncommon, this book is for you!
If you are an avid reader, I suggest you give this book a listen rather than read it. The format of this book is unlike anything I have ever listened to - part audiobook, part podcast, part radio show. Of course, David would have to do something that no one else has done before. I will warn you this book is not for the faint of heart, David is very raw, and he truly has a “mouth like a sailor.”
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