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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

New Course!
For the first time since Connext Nation’s Referral Pursuit was rolled out in 2010, CN is offering a new course. Debby calls it a prequel to the famous 11 week course.  This four week series is basic networking skills with a fifth week included where Debby takes the students to a networking event.  The course will begin in Toledo on Monday, October 17 from 9 -10:30am and in Rocky River on Wednesday, October 26 from 10-11:30 am. This is great for those just getting into the business world.  Send them to Debby ASAP as seats are filling.

Meet Everyone!
The annual “Meet Toledo” event is being held October 13 and CN is promoting that as our quarterly after hours event.  Many membership groups will be displaying that evening, so it will be a good time to find a group to join for networking possibilities.  Of course, at this type of networking event, it is fun to meet new contacts and also to re-connect with old friends, too.  It is at the Pinnacle in Maumee from 5:00-7:00 pm.  This event was a huge hit last year so you won’t want to miss it.

Next Year!
As the Board of Action plans in advance, they are beginning to look at 2017 for all kinds of new events.  We’ll have our usual lunches, breakfasts and afterhours events and then in addition, ideas that were being bandied about were:  a euchre party, afterhours/wrapping party at Laura’s Framing, Basketball and Bottles, Bowling and maybe some type of Scavenger Hunt.  Our annual summer picnic will be July 30, so you can put it on your calendar now.  For all the other events, we’ll let you know in numerous ways including our Facebook page.  See below to find out how to stay connected.

 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. Did you know you have the option to subscribe so that you receive a notification on Facebook to those events so you don't miss out? 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:

Cyrus Connors
by Kerrri Brimmer

Many years as an Engineer/Engineering Mgr with Whirlpool in Clyde Ohio, and an empty nest has not slowed Cy Connors down! No naps for this guy. He now sports a Molly Maid logo embroidered on his shirt, and strives to be a great motivator like General Patton, who was able to motivate his troops to win difficult situations. 

When Cy was retired, and wanting to take on a new venture, he investigated several franchise options. Three years ago he chose the Ann Arbor based Molly Maid franchise (although a solid Buckeye fan) because of it’s focus on customer satisfaction and employee friendly programs. Molly Maid has 540 franchises across the country, so they must be doing something right. 

Cy and his team of amazing people have experienced phenomenal growth because he values, appreciates, and respects his teams and his customers. He believes The Team deserves the credit!  

Molly Maid has charitable arm called Ms. Molly Foundation. Their mission is to increase public awareness of domestic violence and to provide assistance to local shelters and agencies that support victims in the communities we serve.  Cy has included hiring victims in the past, and hopes to work for funding for vehicles for victims, so they are able to get to their jobs. 

Cy is pleased to now have three great full-time staff to handle estimating, training and communications, which frees up his time a bit. Sadly, it has not freed up enough time for him to disappear into Michigan to go trout fishing… but he’s hoping.

His wife, Rebecca, has been married to Cy for 32 years, and they have three grown children: Brad who produces Kuka frames for Jeep Wrangler, Ben who is a cost accountant for Materion, and Brittany who is working for Promedica in admitting. 

From his CN training, Cy uses the PAEI personality assessment the most. He better understands his people, how to pair teams up, and assigns tasks based on those traits. For house cleaners, Cy believes that A(administrative) is important to encourage quality over quantity of work finished. Most importantly, he has found that the I(integrator) trait is essential for working with customers. He believes that with a personal service like cleaning, it is not just ability, it’s like-ability.

The other CN training topic that Cy uses frequently is the concept of networking vs. advertising. He works hard to build up relationships, and to encourage his cleaning staff to as well. Since their route is their business, they are trained and encouraged to not only do a great job, but to build relationships and request referrals. It’s THEIR business, too.

Call Cy to set up a 1-2-1 and get to know this likable guy. 


CN Horn Tooting


On Monday, August 15, Ellen Critchley Pittman retired from the Toledo Symphony.  Full-time retirement did not last long.  She could not pass up the opportunity to work with her friends at the Toledo Opera.  This is a much smaller time commitment, but equally as exciting and challenging.  It also gives her a chance to continue being of service to the arts and to our community, and she’ll still be involved with her Toledo Symphony musician friends who are the orchestra for these great operas.  Ellen is now the TOLEDO OPERA Group Experience Lady!  

Kerri Brimmer, Brimming Design, is happy to be the designer for the HBA's Burger Battle and Parade of Homes events; The Women of Toledo's upcoming Dance Around the World event; and assist with the marketing of the new safe house being introduced into the Fulton county area. Kerri, along with her sister, Kit Kimble, is being awarded volunteer of the year with Partners in Education. (Kerri says it's hard to receive "credit" for volunteer work when mentoring is just plain fun! Partners in Education is seeking mentors willing to donate two hours a month to one middle-schooler!)

Starr Wlodarski, Cruise Planners/American Express Travel, received her Uniworld River Cruise Specialist Certification, given in appreciation for her commitment, knowledge and support of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.

Barb Wilson, SM3, says that her family welcomed Andrew Warren Scott Wilson into their family on August 24 at 3:11am weighing 7lbs, 5oz, and 19in long. Everyone is doing well and Andrew is enjoying having three big sisters doting on him.

Twelve years!!!   Wowzers!!  That is a long time to be in business. Organized Solutions is 12 years old.  Angie Weid is not sure how many trips to donation/recycling centers, lost family relics rediscovered or hugs from happy clients, though she does know it is a lot.  It began from a self-pondering moment in the middle of the woods to the area's leading professional organizing service.  From short two-hour organizing magic tricks visit to whole home clear outs lasting weeks, Angie has seen and done them all.  With a new website ( launched, she is looking for continued success in the coming years.

Richard Chamberlain, Chamberlain Law Group, Ltd., reports that they just re-launched their website: It's been completely reorganized and has a ton of information and resources for people to learn about how they can protect their loved ones, their business, and their assets.

New Name, New Look, New Location says Joani Donovan. The new name is 3D Wellness.  Joani has joined forces with Alisha Bruhl, DPT, ELITE Sports and Orthodpedic Physical Therapy and Tony Fondren, LMT along with four other professionals to provide the best massage therapy and movement center to Toledo.

Tami Norris, Custom Training Solutions, is pleased to announce they have been partnering with the Cherry Street Mission to bring training offerings to their Life Revitalization Center.  The first program
launched in September and is a call center/customer service representative program. The students are learning job readiness, computer and CSR skills to help prepare them for entry level jobs in these fields.

Tami adds that CTS has also been busy developing classes in Office 2016/365 and SharePoint 2013 so as area businesses update their software CTS is ready with training solutions to fit those needs.

David Bodner, Mass Mutual Financial Group, participated in the Maumee September 11  Memorial Service at the Maumee Fire Station. The event was organized by Maumee Rotary, which David is a member of, and drew about 300 people to the service.

According to David, the "service was quite moving and emotional." There were not many dry eyes in the audience. Many of the speakers praised our current first responders and encouraged us to "thank them for doing their job", often in dangerous and life threatening situations.

Greg Peters, The Reluctant Networker, will have his first piece published in a national periodical when the October issue of Speaker magazine comes out. Speaker is the magazine of the National Speakers Association.
Target Market Decisions That = Business Success
by Sandy Pirwitz, 
One of the first tasks that students in the Connext Nation classes have to tackle with the assistance of their class trainer, is determining and clearly defining who/what their specific target market is. This is many times so difficult because of the feeling that they student won’t get enough!

My story

When I took the CN class 9 1/2 years ago, I owned a women's resale store. I was the only women's resale store in the area then that sold maternity clothes and I had the largest selection of any maternity store, new or resale,within a 60-mile radius. So it made a lot of sense to choose pregnant women as my target market (thanks to my CN instructor Merri Bame).  I joined BNI and I was also very active in WEN (Women's Entrepreneurial Network).

Using the knowledge gained from CN, I exclusively spent my networking time talking about maternity clothes. Within two months, the sales in my maternity section increased by 25% and my overall store sales increased by 38%, as pregnant women most often brought friends, sisters, or their moms to shop with them. I had recouped my investment before my class had concluded.

Other CN grads who found success via the same route:

Karen Kiemnec, ReleasingThe Ties that Bind

"What I do is hard to explain to people and since I chose a target market (women going through a divorce who are having a difficult time "letting go" of the emotional baggage) , it was easier for me to explain what I do to others and it’s easier for people to understand it. And when people ask how they can help me, I have an answer ready and they often know someone going through a divorce who can use the help."

Jennifer Hamilton, JH Photography Studio,LLC

"Before CN, I marketed every aspect of photography: family, weddings, high school seniors, babies, businesses.  But while taking the class, I realized how much I loved working with women and decided to focus my marketing primarily on brides/weddings.  Not only did my sales increase by almost 30%, we were able to hire more staff, and moved our studio to a more upscale location in downtown Toledo.  And now because of successful marketing, we are known for our Romantic Sunset Portraits taken on the wedding day.  And the most surprising part?  We still photograph and get inquires for the other categories of photography, like high school seniors and family.  I thought that focusing on one specialty would mean giving up the rest, but it's a marketing strategy that helps us really stand out."

Group or Event 
by Debby Peters,

 As our students go through the CN course, one aspect that we talk about is how to choose which networking groups with which to belong.  Another aspect of networking that we should also think about is how to choose which EVENTS to go to?  These are one time offerings not regularly scheduled events.

These are probably at least 10 events every day that we could all attend.  How to choose?

If all comes back to determining what your goal is. 

For example do you want to meet new people outside your usual network?  Then look for an organization’s event that is totally foreign to you.  This will challenge you to initiate conversation, but we know that you can do it!

Are you a BNI member and you want to recruit for your chapter?  If you are already a member of a chamber why not attend a different chamber’s lunch or afterhours.  The same type of people will be there wanting to make connections, but they will just have different names and faces!  Great prospects for BNI!

Do you want to give back to your community?  You might already be a member of a service club, but how about volunteering for a one time city clean up or perhaps even helping to organize a new community event.  This will bring new people to connect with and you’ll also have some fun!

Want to find new people to socialize with?  Depending on your hobbies, there would be all kinds of choices.  There are drive-ins for Mini Cooper drivers, fishing contests for anglers and community book reads for readers. All these people will have one thing in common so conversation is easy!

The whole idea is that you can add to your network by attending a one-time event.  The relationships will still need to be developed and you will have to make it happen. But these might be the friends and business associates that you will not meet anywhere else.

Ask your friends to share with you fliers of events they receive.  Look on Facebook for events that might be of interest to you and also you can go to to find events in your area when you sort by zip code.  There should be no lack of new prospects for whatever your networking goals are.


Three Questions
by: Debby Peters

 September is when new leadership teams are trained for BNI and last month I had the privilege of delivering some of that training along with CNer Jeanne DeWitt.  In our Power of One session, we shared with the participants three questions that could change the outcomes of their one-to-one meetings.  They are such powerful questions, that I wanted to share them with you too.

1.    Why do you do what you do?  You just might have heard that question before!  But it’s been asked of you in class.  Think about how powerful it would be if you knew the motivation behind what your friends (or new friends) are doing!
2.    What does success look like for you?  The answers you receive really tell what this person wants to accomplish and it helps you to know how you might assist them on that journey.
3.    How can I help?  The first answers are probably just surface replies, if you keep asking for more details, then probably the answers will help you again in helping the person you are meeting with.

Look out, because I am going to be using these queries in my upcoming appointments.  I think it will be a game changer for me.  What do you think?

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