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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Announcement #1 Save the Date For Fun!
David Trisel, graf-X-cape
, is giving Findlay an early start this month. Instead of the monthly lunch, David is chairing a networking breakfast. It is being held at Lakeview Pool Clubhouse on August 12, from 7:30- 9:00am. CNer , Ernie Lewis of E.A. Lewis Consulting is sponsoring this event. The meeting fee is only $10, or if 2/$15 if you bring a non CN grad guest. There a delicious selection of breakfast treats from Kelley McClurkin’s Bread Kneads. Couldn’t be more yum! To register and pay in advance please go to this link.

Announcement #2  Toledo Changes Lunch Location
Beginning with the August 18 lunch, the Toledo lunch will be at Smokey Bones on Dussel in Maumee.  We will have the back room to ourselves.  Lunch will be $13 including entree, beverage, tax and tip.  We will still accept cash or check made out to CNP of Ohio, Ltd.  

Member Spotlight:

Leslie Podolsky of Organized by Design LLC
Simony Silva, Designs by Simony LLC


This month we have Leslie Podolsky in the spotlight. Leslie graduated from Connext Nation about two years ago, a year after she had started her business Organized By Design. Her work history is as diverse as the places she has lived in the past.

Leslie grew up in the small town of Youngstown, OH but she always knew someday she would be leaving for a bigger city to go to college and for work. She started college at the University of Michigan and later moved on to Philadelphia to go to grad school to become a licensed architect. She names Philadelphia as one of her favorite places where she lived an exciting time in her life and also where she met her husband Michael. Right after grad school she took a big project into her hands: the design of a new house for her parents, back in Youngstown. Her mom’s dream was to have a place big enough to have all three kids coming back with their own families to visit her on holidays. And Leslie was quick at work to help make that dream come true.
Later on, Michael’s work took them to Washington D.C. where they stayed for about five years. In DC Leslie had a fulfilling job where she not only designed for homeowners but also worked with them during construction and remodels. It was very rewarding seeing the project grow right in front of her eyes, she recalls. Yet another move was in their plans when they traded DC for Cleveland where Michael was starting school. After three years in Cleveland, they finally made their last move in 2002, when they came to Toledo.

When Leslie and her husband arrived in Toledo with 2 1/2 kids, she realized this was a perfect place to raise those kids. It was the right size town; just big enough to offer entertainment and a job and small enough to offer a safe place for her children to grow. She worked for Springvalley Architects as a part-time architect and split her time between office and her three children. She settled in Sylvania and later on the couple decided to build their dream home. She knew the kids were at the right age to move into a permanent home, she knew all her needs and wants and they were ready for the big move. Now they are located right around the corner from me, with just an empty lot between us where her youngest son meets my daughter for a sip of Starbucks coffee once in a while, and yes they are only 11 years old!
Leslie says that what inspired her to start her business was the need to help others. During a difficult time when her grandma was transferred to a nursing home, she and her sister were packing grandma’s belongings and Leslie realized how much simpler and more efficient life could be if people were more organized. Even though that was the initial thought, now that thought has evolved into a greater level for her business.
Leslie wants to help people with small businesses (1 to 10 employees) by making their working hours more efficient and less stressful. She offers a very diverse list of jobs: from setting up the office layout to setting up a system where people can do what they need to do more efficiently. She can organize electronic clutter and teach the clients how to keep it organized. She can transform an office and make it a pleasant place where productivity comes easily.
Her hard work has pushed her towards new networking groups. She belongs to the National Association of Professional Organizers, Cleveland chapter. She also is a constant presence at SO NOW and participates in CN networking meetings. Her next group of interest will be Women in Construction.
After she graduated from Connext Nation, she realized the best lesson she had learned was to focus on her target market and she recognizes that CN has made her a better networker.

Her business goal is to have clients who can retain her services with a 6 or 12 month contract, where she can offer a plan for that period of time and she can make frequent visits to their offices to help them keep their plan working. Because we know that getting referrals is one of the most efficient ways to meet the best prospects, Leslie would like your help spreading the word about her business. She is looking for business owners who would like to sit down with her for one hour and talk about their business and how she can help.
If you want to learn more about Leslie and her business, please visit her at, where she is a host at Toledo BizTV Show and she teaches us how to make our life less complicated. You can also reach her at:419.343.7275 or visit her website at
Thank you Leslie for sharing a little of your life with us!

CN Horn Tooting


Kym Cragel, Wellness Fix, was asked to serve on the board of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 
Jennifer Alford, Creative Financial Partners, is excited to announce that on July 1 she became the president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors for the state of Ohio. At 35 years old she is the youngest president of Ohio. She will travel to 27 locations during the year of her presidency.
Deb Olejownik, DJC Core Consulting, LLC, has announced that they are holding a 90-minute preview Wednesday, August 20, to introduce their new 8-week Bounce Back from Burnout workshop to individuals, businesses and organizations.
Kevin Webb, David R.Webb Builders, Inc. recently traveled to Dallas where he obtained his second certification through Haag Engineering. He is now a certified inspector for residential roofing as well as being certified for wind damage. These certifications are traditionally held by insurance adjusters. Kevin is the only general contractor in the area with this new designation. He is the only general contractor in the entire states of Ohio and Michigan with the wind damage designation as he was a graduate of the inaugural class for this particular certification.
Nick Nigro, Davis College, has been reappointed by the Lucas County Commissioners to serve a third term of two more years on the Lucas County Workforce Investment Board (WIB). This board oversees the very important work of the Ohio Means Jobs - Lucas County One Stop (formerly known as The Source of Northwest Ohio) in workforce development for our county. Nick say that it is an honor to accept this responsibility for another two-year term, to represent Davis College in this capacity, and to serve the county in this way.
Phyllis Sheets is proud to announce that My Shop on Rugby Drive will celebrate its 4th year in business by having cake and coffee on August 5th in the store. Please stop in to share this milestone.
David Bodner, Mass Mutual Financial Group, is currently training for the Sylvania Sprint Triathlon which will take place on August 10. The swimming, biking and running combination is keeping him quite busy this summer.

Kelley McClurkin, Bread Kneads, is very excited to do some horntootin' for August because Bread Kneads will be opening a 2nd locale in downtown Findlay. They will be at 540 S Main St in the old Cooper Service building (aka The Wine Merchant building). She is hoping to be open sometime in the beginning of August. 

Greg Peters of The Reluctant Networker, LLC has been named the Vice President of Programming for the Michigan Chapter of the National Speakers Association. As such he will be using his CN training to reach out to high-level professional speakers throughout the country. Wish him luck!
Smokey Smoktonowicz is pleased to announce his new Karatbars Gold for Everyone blog at His goal is to inform and educate about the role gold can play in protecting and preserving your wealth.

New Tool to Get You Where You Want to Go!

By Debby Peters,

CN has a new map A.K.A. the Mapping Tool. This tool will help you to determine what your “networking number” is. Debby Peters developed this form, knowing that the old adage of “What gets measured, gets done,” is so very accurate. She says, “I took some time to really think about what steps make networking sense. After all, it’s ridiculous to do something just to do it! At the end of the day, I included ten different tasks, four of which are various one-to-ones.”

Each task has a point total assigned to it. For example, a one –to-one with a current prospect or referral source garners 4 points whereas the same type of appointment with a new person is rewarded 5 points. The goal of the tool is two-fold. One is to begin to understand the amount and type of networking you need to do in order to be in a position to get the referrals you want. The second goal is to have a trigger that reminds you to do take these very steps. For example, Peters explains, “I had gotten out of the habit of handwriting thank you notes. I had all the reasons why, but they were just excuses! Now that I can get points for doing them, I have committed to myself that I will do at least one or two per week.” Peters, adds, “And knowing the electronic age we live in, there is an item on the mapping tool for thank you/follow up emails. That one just doesn’t get the point value of a handwritten one.”

Peters has been using the tool for four weeks. Her lowest point total during that time was 68 and the top was 172. The four week average is 131. She is interested to see what the next four weeks will bring to see if a total in the 130s is about right for her.
Now what about you? If you’re interested in getting your map, so that you can find your way to the best return on your networking, find it at this link

Chapter 9 Review

by Debby Peters,

How do people remember you and how do you stay top-of-mind? Chapter 9 is a short, fun exercise in figuring that all out. Many of you will remember (and hear on the podcast for this chapter) the story of “Where’s the beef?” 
Those of a certain age will probably even visualize the elderly actress, Clara Peller, mouthing those words during a Wendy’s TV commercial. That advertisement had many people repeating the slogan for a very long time. It was fun, easy to remember and delivered a powerful message. Clara was also very visually demanding. What’s really interesting is that this particular advertisement had a relatively short run. Even so it had Velcro that attached to the public’s brain, keeping the message at the forefront of our brain.
Keeping that all in mind, Chapter 9 is all about helping our students to do the same. One slogan developed during a CN class is from Tiffany Brunson. She became and still uses the phrase, “Findlay’s Geek Girl.” It’s easy to remember, has a little humor attached and basically tells us what Tiffany does in just three words. Of course our founder, Debby Peters, is known as CNP Guru. (CNP stands for Connext Nation program). It is easy to remember and beyond that demands that the listener ask a question to figure out what CNP stands for.)
If you would like to listen to the podcast about this concept, go to this file.

Your Boards of Action

by Debby Peters,

A group of CN grads meets monthly to make our community come alive and stay vibrant. These grads of the course volunteer their time. They also provide door prizes and wine for graduation and one, Bob Werner, donates ALL the beer for graduation. (A handwritten thank you note to Bob is in order for all of you who have enjoyed a brew or two!) But the question of the day is, ‘Why do they do it?” That was asked recently at a Toledo BOA meeting.

What Do They Get?
Many of the nine in attendance at that meeting mentioned that the added exposure was certainly attractive to them. They like being introduced at each event and having a spot on the website where they are also showcased. Hilary Hinz, Decorating Den, said, “Because I like to come to early meetings!” (Hilary is NOT known to like mornings!) Jason Madasz, BNI and DebtTech Financial Solutions, mentioned that it helps him to stay in touch with all we have going on. As he said that, there was quite a bit of nodding around the table. Arlene Gerig, Re/Max Preferred, added that she felt that it also gave her additional credibility with prospects and Jenn Wenzke, So Now Coaching, said that as a BOA member, she feels that she gets to meet the guests and new people at our events. Both Rick Reichow, Reichow Insurance Agency, and Andrew Stainbrook, DotNet Technologies, mentioned that they like CN BOA meetings because they are so interactive and that many times they use what is talked about in the meetings in their own business. Several also mentioned that being on the BOA helped them to remember the details of CN and how to continue to use the information learned in class.
What Do They Want?
They were also asked what they wanted as a result of their donation of time and talent and there were two major requests.
  1. They want to continue to be introduced at every event.
  2. They would like Debby to send prospects for CN their way so that each BOA member can share their benefit with the CN prospect. It will also give each member a chance at easily gaining new prospects, referral sources and resources for their own networks.

Thank You to a Retiring Board Member

Shannon Benge, Beyond Business, has resigned from the Toledo BOA as a result of her husband, Todd’s new position. She says, “The timing just doesn’t work anymore because of my having to be the main person with the kids in the morning.” But in the next breathe, Shannon said, “I am still willing to organize the September after-hours event if no one else wants to do it.” We appreciate the year that Shannon was able to give us. During that time her marketing expertise was always helpful.

Passing of a CN Member

Debby has received word from Raymond Ansted that his wife, CN Grad Marlene Ansted, passed away about a year ago. Marlene was in the August 2007 class.
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