Is this email not displaying correctly?
View this email in your browser

Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Celebrating Our 15th Year of Helping Our Grads to REALLY Connect!
Our grads over the years

….each month we will have one grad comment on their CN experience and memories.  This month we hear from Nick Nigro, Davis College
. “It has been a high honor to be affiliated with this organization and to both learn and teach the skills associated with this training. I have incorporated the tools in not only my work but also in my personal life as they have been a huge reason why I am the person I am today and have had the success I continue to accomplish. I have met and maintained relationships with so many members in the CN community. There have been ups and downs throughout my career. It has been the wonderful people in my life that have made the difference and kept the downs to a minimum. It is with gratitude and acknowledgement that I support the work that goes on in the CN community.” 

January lunch (Toledo)
For those who would like to get dates on the schedule in advance, our next lunch will be January 16 at Smokey Bones on Dussel in Maumee.  It starts at 11:30 AM and ends at 1 PM.  Guests are welcome so bring those who want to rub elbows with the best networkers in NW Ohio!  If you want to see how we weave the #15 into all we do this year, come experience our teenage years!

February Breakfast (Toledo) 
Breakfast is scheduled for February 28 from 7:30-8:45 am.  It will be at Pam’s Corner downtown and that morning a couple techie CN grads are going to share how we can leverage technology to our advantage.  For people like Debby Peters, this will be an important presentation!  Hopefully it will solve her many technology questions! This event is free to attend and you can purchase a yummy breakfast from Pam that morning.  Of course, bring a guest to enjoy the casual networking.

March Afterhours (Toledo)
Reserve March 20 for an afterhours social event from 5-7 PM.  It will be Hoops, Hopps & Hooch at Charlies Taverna on Tollgate in Maumee.  You can cheer for your team in the March Madness!  We have always had a great time at Charlies for our afterhours events and we think this one will again be the place to be that evening.  Again we love our guests.

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:

Greg Kissner
by Kerri Brimmer

Greg took the CN class in the Spring of 2015 as he launched his own business, Duke Architecture & Design, LLC, (DAD for short). The name was his daughter’s idea, pulled from his college nickname, Duke. (Yep. Greg does a great John Wayne imitation! But has 20 other voices in his repertoire.) His favorite job is drawing architectural concepts in 3D. He designed his previous and current home, and is certified as a plans examiner for the building jurisdictions. 

A unique architect in the local area, Greg has the experience to offer full service architectural design and drawing services, for projects large and small. Drawing is only part of what services Duke Architecture & Design, is able offer however. Duke Architecture & Design has the insight to meet schedules, deal with regulations, and work to a budget.

Greg grew up in the Toledo area with two older siblings (Bob and Donna), and is living the dream! 
•Hobbies:  fishing, golf, drawing, reading on his iPad, puzzles and doing voices
•Favorite foods:  peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, vegetable beef soup, milk   and potato chips.
•Most important: family. He has a blended family of four grown children with      wife Liz, plus four grandkids.
•Favorite season: specifically, the first week of May with everything blooming.

He breaks the mold on a few things, however. Many would not guess he has run 8 marathons, and spent 10 years teaching high school students at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Greg has 40 years of experience working on Architectural / Engineering projects of various sizes in the Commercial, Institutional, Governmental, and Residential sectors. Greg started out in Cincinnati after college but moved back to Toledo to work for a small architect’s office. Later he worked for SSOE for almost 15 years. West Carroll hired him and employed him for close to 10 years. After that, he worked for Dubose for about 5 years, and about 5 years with Poggemeyer Design Group. 
One of his favorite clients and projects was and is working with the Toledo Zoo, where he recently mentored on new exhibits and helped develop master plan ideas. The aerial adventure course, the giraffe feed deck, and Tasmanian devil exhibit were part of recent fun projects. He also works on other projects like houses, office remodels and, at the moment, a historic barn.

What Greg uses the most from the CN lessons is developing a target market by identifying unique abilities for his business focus.

If you have your ear to the ground, Greg is looking for commercial realtors, and single design consultants that need to know what something might look in the end by having Duke dig his spurs into the ideas in the beginning.

Greg belongs to many organizations, including CN and the Madison Avenue BNI chapter. He is also a member of: AIA (American Institute of Architects), NCARB (National council of Architectural Registration Boards), ASAI (American Society of Architectural Illustrators), ICC (International Code Council), HBA (Home Builders' Association) and LEED AP NC (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accredited professional for new construction).

Take the time to meet this interesting and friendly man... give Greg a call for a 1-2-1 today!


CN Horn Tooting


KC Allen, Allen Film & Video, is proud to announce a huge upgrade in their production equipment.  They recently purchased a new camera, new lenses and new lights, as well as upgrades in their editing software.  It’s not a surprise that they were nominated for three awards for their short film, "A Collar For Kevin", in a Buffalo, NY film festival.  It didn't bring home any awards, but KC says that it was a delight to be nominated, and it marked the screen acting debut of KC's teenage daughter!

David Bodner, Mass Mutual Financial Group, enrolled in the US Masters Swim course for his second season. He is learning that technique is the most important attribute while in the water.  He is joined by about seventy other adults in the area who meet way too early in the morning for the opportunity to swim. Dave is training for a 5k open water swim next summer.  He is making up for lost time since he was never on a swim team and really did not know how to propel himself forward with any grace until fairly recently.

Tami Norris indicates that Toledo has been designated a TechHire region by the White House. "Tech Toledo, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce and OhioMeansJobs Lucas County are establishing an information technology workforce alliance to address short-term needs and develop longer-term programs for IT internships and apprenticeship programs. Tech Toledo will work with employers, such as Meyer Hill Lynch, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, and The Andersons, Inc., to find and develop training to address their in-demand IT job needs."  Tami reports that Northwest State/Custom Training Solutions is proud to be an educational partner in this initiative and is working to help fill area jobs by connecting employers and prospective employees through their IT Specialist short term certificate program. For more information on TechHire Toledo visit

January 2017 marks the 25th anniversary for Randy and Teresa Raymond to have ownership of Marbee Printing. In the past 25 years, the two of them have learned to use many new pieces of equipment and have relocated the business to a more visible Main Street location. Last year Marbee reached the annual sales goal which Randy had set for the business.  They want to thank you to all their network partners for helping them achieve these goals.
Celebrating International Networking Week®
by Debby Peters,
This year, International Networking Week is Feb 6-10th.  For those not acquainted with this annual happening, it is a BNI worldwide initiative to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world.

To celebrate in our own way, we would like to invite all our CN grads to play in a game that we have set up.  We have also invited BNI of NW Ohio to participate, too.  

We want you to reach out to network in a conscious effort. To help you to do so we have a set of networking actions that have been assigned point values.  The goal is to accumulate 5 points. The actions are listed below:

□ Meet someone for a one to one meeting – 2 points
□ Pass a qualified referral – 2 points
□ Make a personal introduction – 2 points
□ Attend a networking event – 1 point
□ Place a written testimonial on the CN or BNI NWO Facebook page-1 point

When you have realized 5 points, go to either the Connext Nation’s Facebook page at or the BNI of NWO’s Facebook page at Once there at either one, post a comment to tell us all how you achieved your five points.  Give us the details!  With whom did you meet or what two people did you connect?  Have you passed a great referral or attended an event?  Testimonial?

There will be a post about this event that will be pinned at the top of the feed for the duration of the week, so it won’t be difficult for you to find.  For all those who participate (and Cleveland area can easily participate in this) those names will go into a hat.  The winner drawn after the week is over will have the choice of having lunch with either Debby Peters (CN) or Jason Madasz (BNI).  Whichever one you chose will pick up the tab, so yes, you can get a free lunch!

What Are You Accepting?
by Debby Peters,
We don’t teach the concept of 16 shades of referrals in the CN course these days, even though it is an important concept.  The idea behind it is that at the very top, #16 is a referral that comes to you already sold before you get involved.  For some folks (like financial planners) they still might have to tailor the sale for the individual.  But the prospect has made a decision to do business with you no matter what.  At the very opposite end of the spectrum is where someone gives you the name of a prospect, but doesn’t even supply a way to make contact.  In between these two there are many different variations that get warmer and warmer as they go up the scale.  Also, the involvement of the person developing the referral is more entrenched as the numbers get larger.  It goes without saying that the likelihood of a high level referral becoming a sale is more likely.
With our referral teammates, we want to help at a level that distinguishes these relationships from our other casual networking acquaintances.  Working together, decide the referral level that you are committed to giving each other.  These are precious connections and you’ll want to treat them in that way!
So the next time you are developing a referral for your teammate, ask yourself, if it were me, would I want a name and phone #, or a personal introduction where my teammate talks about me and what I can do for this prospect, right while I’m sitting there.  After all, your teammate can say things about you that would sound like bragging if the same words came out of your mouth!  Remember, in order to get what you want, you also have to be willing to give the same in return!
High level referrals will help to make 2017 a year to be remembered!  Be memorable!

Networking in a New Location
by Debby Peters,

The members of the BOA suggested this topic as one that we might write about.  I felt that probably there were quite a few articles out there on the web that addressed this very subject.  Guess what!  I was wrong.  Most of what I found had to do with computer networking!

So I guessed there might be a need.  But then I thought, “How many of our grads move?”  Then I realized that a move wasn’t necessary.  A new location could mean a new group or even a new target market.  No matter whether it is a physical move or one like the two examples above, I have some thoughts.

1.  Know that you are going to feel uncomfortable in the new situation. You will not know everyone and perhaps depending on the situation you won’t know anyone!  That’s scary in itself.  But remember that you can still be scared and move forward anyway!


2.  Use your friends to find new contacts in the new arena.  A warm connection is better than nothing at all.  Three years ago when I started my attempts to expand to the Cleveland area I asked my Toledo friends for help in this way.  They opened the door to five or six Cleveland area people that unknowingly pointed me in the direction of the Rocky River Chamber of Commerce.  Those first few appointments were a lot easier than just getting a directory from the area and making cold calls.  If you’ve joined a new group, use the same concept, but review the member list of the new group and see who in your current contact list might know some of the newbies.  Again ask for introductions.

3. Use the newsletter or other ancillary marketing materials of your new area.  Many times members are spotlighted.   Reach out (OK, I know this is not easy) and introduce yourself, explaining that you are new and would like to be able to meet them.  Tell them that you read their article and would love to hear more about what they are doing.  (I know, I repeat, this is not easy!)

4.  Determine a way that you can become involved with your new area.  If you are in a new location, what interest do you have that will allow you to connect with other with similar interests?  If instead, it is a new group or target market, what committee can you join or events can you volunteer to help with? Working along-side someone you don’t know usually means that a new friend has been developed by the time you are done!

5. While I am not a social media expert (CNer Barb Wilson is) use Facebook to create a conversation about your situation.  People will want to help!

Before you know it the new situation will be as comfortable as an old bedroom slipper!

Copyright © *2014 *Connext Nation*, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp