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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,


Back to our normal format for the August lunch; join us at Smokey Bones on August 17.  We gather at around 11:30am and no registration is required. The cost of the lunch is $13, cash or check made out to CNP of Ohio, Ltd. It is a great time of casual social conversation with a bit of a structured format.  Bring your guests who are interested in finding out more about CN.
As long as you have your calendar out, turn to August 2 and pencil in the Annual CN Summer Picnic.  Always a fun time at Debby’s home, it will be from 1-5 PM.  Dessert contest still has room for 5 more homemade entries.  To register go to this link.  The cost for adults is $7 and for kids it’s only $3.  And yes, this is a family event.  There is catch and release fishing (bring your own equipment and bait), playing with the kayaks and canoe, swimming, wading and just relaxing and eating well!  This is a BYOB and it is advised that you bring you own chair, too.  Email Debby if you want to participate in the dessert contest.  DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION IS JULY 26.
Coming up in August is our last Mini Class of the season in Toledo on Friday, August 21, from 9-11 am at Owens Community College, Arrowhead Campus, 1724 Indian Wood Circle, Maumee.  The cost of the class is $25.  The information provided is priceless!  Those friends of yours who want to register should go to
For our Cleveland area grads and friends, we also have one last Mini Class on Wednesday, August 26, from 11am – 1 pm.  It is being held at the Giant Eagle Conference Room at 22160 Center Ridge Road in Rocky River.  Again to sign up use the link above.
Social Media
Along with Facebook we are also active on Linkedin.  All of our events get special attention on both of these platforms.  If you haven’t "Liked" or connected with us, please do so, so you can comment and add to the fun!

Member Spotlight:

Linda Everhardt Kardux, WEN;
Jason Madasz, BNI;
Debby Peters, Connext Nation and
Jenn Wenzke, So Now.

 Because of the upcoming September 10, Meet Toledo event, (see article in this issue), it was suggested that we spotlight the leaders of the four main networking groups that are collaborating to sponsor this inaugural event.  Learn a bit more about
The Four Horsemen of Networking in NW Ohio!

Linda Everhardt Kardux, WEN, Executive Director
It was March 1995, 7:30am and Linda was climbing the stairs at Sufficient Grounds (coffee shop in Cricket West) with her friend, Kathy Crabtree.  Sitting there were four other women chit-chatting and waiting for the meeting to begin. One of the women was Debby Peters.  After that first WEN Meeting, Linda thought to herself, “I need to meet with Linda Fayerweather and Debby Peters.”  The second thing she thought was “I wonder if they would let me join and help?”  She fell madly in love with WEN and the rest is history.

Linda goes on to say, “Then the next month Debby Peters sent me a letter inviting me to attend a BNI meeting as her guest.  Another meeting that grabbed me and all I wanted to do was join, to help and to grow the company that I ran with my husband, Business Navigators.”

Although Linda was a graduate of BGSU with a degree in education, she did her student teaching and then immediately after graduation went into retail.  She realized quickly that she wanted to surround herself with business people, not high school students!

Linda knows that she is where she was meant to be. Her job is meeting business professionals and asking them, “Who are you, what do you do and how can we help?  That’s what makes me a very happy and successful person."

Jason Madasz, BNI of NW Ohio, Executive Director
Jason’s first recollection of attending a networking event was his very first BNI meeting in 2005.  He was a young business owner, flying by the seat of his pants.  He had no idea what he was doing in business, let alone networking.  He was reputedly invited by a friend who said that it would help Jason grow his business.  He wasn’t very comfortable in large groups, so it took him awhile to agree to attend.  Jason says, “Eventually, he wore me down and I reluctantly woke up bright and early for the 7:30am meeting.”

Jason continues, “I definitely felt out of place.  Everyone seemed to be so well composed, and I could barely put together two full sentences about my business.  Thankfully, the person who invited me introduced me to many members; otherwise I would have just awkwardly stood in the corner.  Luckily, the members were very warm and inviting, so the uneasiness quickly went away.”

 As the meeting continued, Jason felt more and more comfortable.  He realized that everyone was down-to-earth and really didn’t care that he was so new to business.  At the end of the meeting, to his surprise, they asked him to be part of their group.  He thought, “WOW, I must have done something right!”  It wasn’t until about 3 years later with many, many bumps and bruises along the way, that he finally began to figure out the need to develop relationships and grow his business.

Along with being a rabid hockey dad for his son Braedon, a dad who shops for a dress for the father and daughter dance for his daughter Samantha, supportive husband for wife Jenn, he also helps many other new business owners who are in the very place he was a decade ago now that he is the Executive Director of BNI in NW Ohio.

Debby Peters, Connext Nation, Founder and Owner
Debby Peters is the owner of Connext Nation, a word of mouth marketing and training company that helps to connect business professionals to their next referral. Jason Madasz shares that he has known Debby for years, and in his eyes she has always been the networking guru.  It was difficult for him to believe that she had a difficult time starting off in the world of business networking.
When asked about her very first experience with a business networking group, Debby immediately remembered her experience with the Royal Oak (Michigan) Chamber of Commerce.  Since she was so new to networking, she had no idea what to expect or how to make this business meeting translate into meaningful relationships.
To Debby, the Chamber Luncheon was just a reason to get out of the office for a little while.  She would go to the meeting, talk with a few people and then head back to work.  It turns out that her boss had no idea why she was attending the meeting either.  At one point, Debby was asked to sponsor an event, and because the boss didn’t see the value in it, he wouldn’t even cough up the $50 sponsorship.
Although it is hard to imagine now, back at her first meeting, Debby was the same as many newcomers to the world of networking.  She didn’t know how to connect outside of the structured Chamber meetings, and growing the business she represented didn’t even seem like a possibility.  She didn’t know how to create meaningful relationships, so she simply attended and went back to work.  When she thinks back now, it was a huge waste of marketing dollars.

A goal of Debby’s is to help her students and grads squeak every last penny out of each marketing dollar.  That means that she is passionate about helping the community to know how to network strategically so that they don’t spend time and money without a result.

Jennifer Wenzke, Founder, So Now for Women
Jenn, as everyone who knows Jenn calls her, came to networking later in her career.  After 17 years in the same business, she made the decision that there must be another way of meeting people other than tapping them on the shoulder when she was out and about in the world.  She searched the Internet for women's networking organizations and the "Women's Entrepreneurial Network (WEN)"  popped up.  She attended her first event at a hotel on Secor Road during the summer of 2010.  She sat quietly at her table as everyone else meandered about the restaurant area.  Lunch was served, followed by an organized networking meeting format and then it was time to go home.  She had joined WEN the previous year and this was the first time she attended an event.  In fact that day she had received a membership renewal notice.  As she was getting ready to leave, Debby Peters approached and asked if she wanted to meet at a nearby coffee shop to have a 1-2-1.  She said yes, not even knowing what a 1-2-1 was.  When they met for the 1-2-1, Debby asked about Jenn’s business and she also excitedly shared the details about a course she was putting together and that would it would be available for registration in a few months. They finished their 1-2-1 and went about their separate ways.

Jenn was so impressed with the format and the connections that she made at the WEN event that she decided in the fall to have a special one-time networking evening for some of the professional women that she knew. Thirty-five women showed up for the event and they all had a great time.  In fact they had so much fun they wanted to meet again and again and that was the founding of the So Now Professional Network for Women (So Now).  And the rest is history!
Now that you know the early networking attempts of the four horsemen of networking in Toledo, your next challenge is to attend Meet Toledo, a new type of networking event, on September 10 from 5-8 PM.  Read article 3 below to find out more of the details.


CN Horn Tooting


Deb Olejownik, DJC Consulting, recently presented to the National Association of Women In Construction (NAWIC) in Cleveland for their Regional Conference. The purpose of the presentation was to equip women in construction with the tools necessary for recruiting and retaining WIC volunteers for committees and projects. 
Nick Nigro, Davis College, has much to share! He has been a driver for Mobile Meals for two years. They had a few openings on their board, so he applied and has been recently added to their Board to serve a three-year term. Then recently, after many years,  NIck renewed his State of Ohio license to officiate at weddings. He did his first wedding in early June. This was very exciting for him. Over the years, he has officiated at more than 250 weddings. He loves doing this and looks forward to opportunities to serve in this capacity.
Mary Nyitray, Optical Arts, is so excited to be the only optical store with the Zenka line in Ohio. Zenka is the frame line that you can change the look of the front of your glasses by adding a clip!!  
Dave Bodner, Mass Mutual Financial Group, and his wife, Beth Dennis, are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary this year.  They recently returned from an unbelievable vacation in Alaska. The natural beauty of Alaska and all the wildlife were breathtaking. David did go running in Alaska but he kept clear of the bears.

Meet Toledo

Meet Toledo
So have you ever tried to figure out where else to network and you didn’t really know where to turn to?  I think we’ve all been there.  We all know the usual networking groups, but are there some that could be out there that you don’t even know about?  Is there a group that your target market is an active participant of?
The Meet Toledo premier event is your place to find the group for you!
We are so excited about this event on September 10, 2015.  For the first time, WEN, BNI, So Now and CN are collaborating on an event.  This has never been done before.  The time of the event is 5-8 PM.  There is already a Facebook Event page and there has been lots of chatter on it with over 200 people noting that they will attend.  It will be at the Pinnacle in Maumee.  The fee to attend will be $5 and Julie Woods is selling tickets already.  Contact Julie at to get your ticket now!
Those who have already committed are: BNI, So Now, WEN, Junior League, Maumee Chamber, Ad Club of Toledo, Exchange Club, REIA, Women of Insurance, Women of Toledo and Junior League.
There is plenty of room for more organizations, so if you are a member of a service club or other type of networking group, contact Julie Woods at  The cost of a table for the groups is only $35 which is a small investment in gaining new members.
Also, you can go to the Meet Toledo Facebook page at  and join the fun.  Share it with others, too.  The Four Horsemen of Toledo Networking know this will become a premier event and it will happen with your help.

When You Don’t Want the Hat to Fit!
by Debby Peters,

What do big hats and networking have in common?  Nothing!  You see, big hats, refers to the “Big hat, no cows syndrome.”  What is that you ask?
Let me explain with a story.
About a month ago, I got the dreaded question from a networking friend. “What do you know about fill in the blank with a name?”  Of course, my politically correct response was, “Well, what do you want to know?”
It seems that the person in question (we’ll call him Albert) had committed to volunteering for several committees and had not honored any of those commitments.  Additionally, Albert had volunteered at the last minute after the deadline to do a job for a specific event.  Because the volunteer schedule was already organized, this offer was declined.  Then several volunteers had an emergency and had to step away.  Again when the call went out for emergency volunteers, Albert stepped up.  Schedule was again completed with Albert’s name on it.  The very next day, Albert, via email, again declined the responsibility because of a family-related emergency that required a trip away.  Unfortunately, Albert didn’t think clearly, because that evening he posted on Facebook that he was getting together with friends at a local restaurant.  And the next day another post showed Albert at a local golf course.
So as you can guess, this person’s credibility is at a minus 5 and certainly moving in the wrong direction.  Hence the "Big hat, no cows" statement.  What it means is “all for show, but no substance.”
As we all attend the Meet Toledo event and talk with groups that we might become involved with, we want to be sure we have the time and the commitment to make a good impression.  The new members will be watched for how they give to the organization and what their level of engagement is.  Before September 10, look at your schedule to determine what time you have for another group or maybe even look at a group that you need to remove yourself from, so that some time is made available.  Make sure the hat fits just right!

Fantastic Four Lunch
It was fun and fantastic for forty-two energetic folks who attended our third lunch where we organized the tables of four (usually) by similar target markets.  Sometimes that means that participants are talking with others whom they would never have thought to talk to or even knew to talk to!
Andrew Stainbrook, DotNet Technologies said, “I thought the event went real well. Allison Hammons and I will be connecting on our target market. That connection may have not been made without the Fantastic Four lunch.” That is the beauty of having a solid and very specific target market because it means you can more easily find referral partners.  That is just one way of many that you can help each other.
Some of the participants said that they learned about specific, helpful hints from others at their table.  Michael Temple, Temple Development, shared how to get a listing of all the businesses in Toledo for free from a list that normally would cost money. Guest, Theresa Boyer, The Provisional Pen, shared an idea with Debby, called Google Hangouts, that might be a solution to video trainingArlene Gerig, Re/Max Perferred, liked Jenn Wenzke’s (So Now Coaching) idea of getting rid of unqualified “lead” slips after she called them once, so the slips are not staring her in the face.  What is so interesting is that we all have knowledge and strengths that we’re willing to share freely.  That doesn’t always happen in a competitive atmosphere.
Thanks to all who helped to make this lunch a success.
Copyright © *2014 *Connext Nation*, All rights reserved.

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