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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 .  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:

Dec. 16
Jan. 20
Feb. 17

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

Social Event
Debby will be hosting a Book Celebration on Tuesday, Dec 3 (Giving Tuesday), from 4-6 PM at the Bard's Coffee in Perrysburg.  This will be to officially launch her new book, "Tell Me Exactly What to Say."  In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, this will be a benefit for Standing Courageous, a non-profit whose mission is to support victims and survivors of interpersonal violence, victim services, and promote safer communities through their educational outreach.  They believe that every person living in our community deserves to live their lives free of violence. For each $20 book sold that evening, $10 will go to this grassroots organization.  It is rumored that there might be a raffle that night with the prize being canned peaches!

Please drop by, have a small bite to eat, a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, network with other like-minded business people and make this just a fun event.  I hope you will support me in this endeavor!

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. Our next  Toledo 10 week series starts next spring on March 13, 2020, but there are mini classes starting October 31. In Cleveland, the starting date for the 10 week class is March11, with mini classes starting Oct 30.  We will also be offering Ann Arbor classes beginning in March 2020.
Changes in the Board of Action
Welcome to Jeff LaCourse, Affinity Advisory Network LLC, who has joined the Board of Action.  He took the CN class in 2004, was a trainer for several years, and has served on the BOA in the past.  He will join the other members who help to organize all the community events.

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:

Lisa Gourley
by Debby Peters,

Being bullied is not fun.  Just ask Lisa Gourley, owner of Simplicity Spa.  She says, “I was bullied all the way through school.  After my elementary years, I even moved to a different school and I was so excited to have a fresh start, but the very first day, one of the boys decided that it was his job to continue that abusive treatment.  I finally dropped out of high school because I just couldn’t take it and got my GED instead.”

Today looking at and hearing about Gourley, you would never know she had this rough beginning.  Since 2016 she has owned Simplicity Spa.  She shares, “I had always wanted to own a business since my early twenties.  I was working at a massage place as an esthetician but the owner was taking a huge percentage of what I made.  Even though I was scared to death about failing, when I got the opportunity to join the ranks of business ownership, I didn’t think twice.  On July 21, 2016, I opened in Sola Salon, which is on Center Ridge Road in Rocky River.  I remember lying in bed that morning and being so excited and happy!”

Last year yet another opportunity came her way and she moved to her current location on Ingersoll in Rocky River.  She completely redid her space and turned it into a very Zen-like atmosphere.  Since 2016 her business has grown by almost 300%.  Not bad for the first couple of years in business!  Stayed tuned though, as she may be enlarging her space this spring.

Single mom to two wonderful children, Gavin, who is 14 and Sophia who is 9, she is so thrilled that she can flex her schedule enough that she can be there when her kids need her.  She says, “Don’t get me wrong, I work a lot, but I make my kids my first priority.”  This summer she moved into a dated home in Lakewood that needed a lot of tender loving care.  The 88 year old owner told Lisa, “This house is calling out to you, it wants you.” True to form, she has painted every room, put in new blinds, new fans, new light fixtures, redid the bathroom and did some work on the kitchen.  “I am really proud of it now,” Gourley explains, “and when my dad originally saw it he thought I was crazy, but now he sees the beauty that I saw!”  Her private joy right now is the live-edge dining table that a friend helped her to make and they are also making a buffet table out of an old door.

In her spare time, Gourley is the person who, behind the scenes, raises money; a lot of money, for smaller grass-roots charities.  She adds, “I guess because of my rough early life, I always want to do something to make a better life for someone else.  That’s just how I’m wired.”  She is currently working on a project for Reel Recovery, a charity that teaches men who have had cancer to fly fish and hosts them during a weekend retreat at Rockwell Trout Club.

Ever thinking of her kids, she is taking them to San Diego for Christmas.  She has a friend that they will visit while out there.  She says, “I told my kids that I could either buy presents for them or we could go to California. They chose the trip.  I am so proud of them!”

From bullied to buoyant.  That would be the best way to describe this woman that never wants to let herself down by failing.  Her motto is not, “If” she is successful, but always stretching towards her next success!


CN Horn Tooting


Matt Lee, Accessible Renovations, shared that he and his lovely wife, Suzanne, just returned from a two week tour of Italy, where they went to celebrate their 30th anniversary.  They spent 7 nights in Florence along with three in Rome and one in Tuscany at a winery in celebration of their joyous remembrance.  The trip included numerous historic tours of buildings constructed in the 1200-1400 along with a special Papal Blessing from the Pope and a detailed tour of the Vatican while just enjoying each other’s company after 30 years of love, patience and respect. Congrats, Matt!

Patty Cavins, Higher Ground Advantage, is now offering two Empowering Success Learning Communities.  With six learning modules to choose from, people can engage with one or all six to reach the next level in personal and professional development.   

Bill Wilson, Express Transmission, will be helping to assemble bikes for this year’s Noel Project, on December 13th at the Seagate center. The Church on Strayer partners with Toledo public schools to provide for children in need with a new bicycle, toys, school supplies and a turkey. Over 1,000 bikes will be assembled and Bill can definitely use your help getting the job done. Connect with others in the community and also be part of putting a smile on a child’s face.  Contact Bill at for more details.
Tell Me Exactly What to Say 
by Debby Peters,
Available NOW at Amazon or see Debby at the Bard’s Coffee on Giving Tuesday, December 3, from 4-6 PM to purchase an autographed copy of this book.  At this event, for every book purchased, $10 will be given to the charity, Standing Courageous.  There will be free food, a bit of wine and of course, coffee for everyone.

Excerpt from Tell Me Exactly What to Say

Starting a conversation at a networking event

The most-asked question by new (and seasoned) networkers is, “What do I say to people at a networking event?”

That's one of those queries that deserve the “It depends” answer! Let's set the scene for one instance. You are at a Chamber of Commerce lunch and it is the time when everyone is chatting with each other before being asked to sit down. You don't know anyone because this is your first time visiting this particular group; it goes without saying that you're feeling a little anxious and out of place. Someone finally comes over and starts talking to you and you are so nervous that you just want to jabber away nervously. Before you do, let's listen to a good networking attempt.

Jane (the seasoned networker): Hi. I'm Jane. I don't think I've met you before.

Sue (the new person): You're right. This is my first time attending this lunch.

Jane: What’s your name?

Sue: Oh, so sorry, I'm really nervous. I'm Sue Smith.

Jane: Well, welcome, Sue! Tell me a little about what you do?

Sue: Oh, sure! I own a cleaning company; Cleaner with Sue. Believe it or not, I help Realtors get to closing faster.

Jane: So I'm assuming residential cleaning?

Sue: I actually started with cleaning homes, but I have also done commercial. Recently I was certified so that I can clean disaster and trauma situations. That's why I decided to start getting out and meeting people, so I can get the word out about that side of the business.

Jane: Wow! That is so interesting. How in the world did you get into that area?

Sue (thinking to herself, “Talking with people isn't so bad after all!”): I kind of fell into it. I got a call from a Realtor about a year ago to clean a house that was vacant. The owners wanted to put it on the market. What they didn't mention was that the renter who had lived there was a hoarder. It took a lot longer to clean than I thought, so I didn't make any money on that project, but the Realtor was really impressed with my work. He passed my name to several other Realtors in his office. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Jane: Who are the types of people you'd like to meet today? Other Realtors?

Sue: Yes, that would be great. I've only worked with the one firm, but I would love to branch out with other larger real estate companies in the area, especially Howard Hanna. They have just opened an office in town.

Jane: That makes my job easy. Come with me and I'll introduce you to two Howard Hanna guys right now.  Also, could you give me a business card so I can get back to you?

In the above conversation, Jane was the ultimate networker, drawing out Sue and directing the conversation. Guess what, though. Sue, the newbie, could have easily played the role of Jane. Perhaps she couldn't make an immediate introduction, but her ending might have sounded like, “Well, as I mentioned, I am new, but I plan on meeting a lot of people. What should I know about the types of people you'd like to meet in the future?”

Relationship Building within the CN Community 
by Patty Cavins,
 As I celebrated with the new Connext Nation graduates this week, it became clear that networking (and even learning about networking) is all about building relationships.   It’s out of those forged relationships that business referrals, business transactions, and business partnerships occur.  This makes sense, right?  Although it is understandable, it is rarely understood without learning the concepts that every CN grad engraves in their head and on their heart when taking the Referral Pursuit course.

It’s the time of year where gratitude, joy, and even magic begins to fill the atmosphere, and lingers throughout the “holidays.”   Connext Nation wants to begin carrying that spirit all year round as we move into 2020.   We are a blessed community, and ultimately, we want to be a blessing. Let’s begin a new mission of giving in a great way to serve our local communities.   The Board of Action has chosen quarterly fundraisers that everyone can get involved in.   You can donate funds to help, volunteer and share time for certain projects, or you can shop for the items and bring them to any CN activity in that quarter.  Beginning now through March, in our first fundraiser, TWIN SIZE bedding is requested.  A “bed in a bag” is preferred, containing a sheet set and comforter.  It’s winter now, and our generosity can help keep someone in need warm.  

As we go into a new decade in just a few short weeks, I challenge us all to reconnect strongly with our amazing Connext Nation community and the community beyond.   Reach out to old friends and make new ones, attend a CN lunch or an after-hours social event, grab coffee or lunch to create those referral relationships and team members in our community.  Serving the community by donating bedding is just one way to have commonality with others in the area.  Relationship networking!
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