We are celebrating the 19th year of helping our grads to REALLY connect!

Monthly Lunches
As we go to press, we are currently delaying the re-start of our lunches and have planned a complement of zoom lunch time gatherings.

Sept 21

Oct 19

Nov 16
This is the third Monday of the month.  We are continuing our virtual lunches in order to keep our grads and guest safe AND connected. Virtual lunches are free to attend and guests are welcome.  Register by sending an email to to receive the zoom link.
Social Event; ON HOLD; Stay tuned to our FB page! 

While our semi-annual taco night at R Taco in Maumee is still on hold, we are launching a fun one-to-one initiative this month.  See the article below about it.

We already have three wonderful sponsors, Patty Cavins, Higher Ground Advantage, Laura Osborne, Laura’s Framing and Bill Rickman, Tutor Doctor and FranNet which means we will have plenty of tacos.  
Mini Classes 
Our next Mini classes are scheduled for Friday, September 25 and October 23. All are at the same time from 9:00am to 11:30am EST. We are excited to be presenting these classes as a virtual offering.  The fee is $35.  We do need people to register in order for us to send out the handouts for the class.  This is for both Toledo and Cleveland areas, and even beyond that!  Please let those in your network know that they can take advantage of this by sending an email to Currently as our contribution to helping businesses during COVID – 19,  we have waived the class fee.​
Did You Know?
Connext Nation is nationally certified to provide CPEs credits for CPAs. For the mini class CPAs get 2 credits and for the ten week class they get 24.  Our next Toledo 10 week series starts this fall on September 4, from 11am - 1pm EST or our virtual class begins Sept 9 from 9am - 11am EST. 
Board of Action
The BOA gives great feedback on events within the community of how to make them better.  For our future events within the COVID guidelines they have made suggestions to keep our community connected. 
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 on your Facebook page as well! Visit our page at today!

Karla Lewis was recently recognized as one of the Top 10 Producers at Southwestern Coaching for the first half of the year. Karla finished #8 out of over 120 producers in terms of her own individual production. Southwestern Coaching is a company who is focused on growth both for our clients and for our own team members. The coaches of Southwestern Coaching are professional practitioners and industry leaders who have personally been involved in sales for at least 10 years. Highly skilled and eager to help, they meet clients with a promise of accountability and a passion for results.

Steve Hopingardner and Heather Baker report that the Exercise Coach Perrysburg has been open for one year! They are excited that their fantastic staff and amazing clients made it possible for the strongest launch ever in the 20 year history of the company and they continue to grow. More importantly, the combination of whole effort exercise and whole food nutrition has made a world of difference for so many in the area.

Greg Peters, Third Generation Networking, passed the examination to become a certified virtual presenter. This is becoming a certification that many organizations look at favorably when hiring a speaker for a virtual meeting or event.

Kelley Webb, founder and Executive Director of Matching Peace, will be hosting a new Learning Series on Wednesdays, beginning September 9 from 4pm-6pm. The learning series includes the book for the month, journal prompts that help gather thoughts for each week's discussion and discussion with other parents. Registration at closes Wednesday, August 26. 

Jodi Zink, Re/Max Preferred, received a top honor "Pinnacle of Performance from Ohio Realtors and Northwest Ohio Realtors. She is member of the 2020 Presidential Sales Club for more than $7.5 Million in sales. She says that the trust and confidence her clients have in her and her teamy team, means the world to them.

Kyesha Jensen, Health Markets, recently finished her Medicare Certification and has become appointed with many of the Medicare carriers in the area. She can talk with people aging into Medicare, retiring and needing to move from group plans to Medicare and/or take appointments for Annual Open Enrollment (AEP). She is able to meet with people in person, but with Covid-19 changes, she can also meet with and enroll clients virtually.

Leni Mueller, Group Benefit Consultants, recently became a "Dementia Friend" and then encouraged her boss to have the entire staff attend a session to become Dementia Friends.  Group Benefit Consultants is the first business in the Findlay area to have all staff members trained as Dementia Friends.  She would encourage everyone in the CN community to consider becoming a Dementia Friend.  Dementia Friends is a global movement with the goal to help everyone in a community have a better understanding about dementia, how it affects people, and how we each can make a difference in the lives of people living with the disease.  Dementia Friends Ohio offers free informational sessions to businesses, community groups and individuals.  Each session lasts about one hour and may be offered in-person or via live-stream webinars.  For more information about Dementia Friends or to schedule an information session contact Marty Williman, BSN, RN, Program Director for Ohio Council for Cognitive Health at 419-348-0493 or  Additional information as well as a schedule of future virtual live-stream information sessions can be found at

Horntooting, COVID-related

We all know that giving without thought of directreturn, is the best way to give.  So many of our CN grads are giving in this way during this crazy time of COVID-19.  There are several examples below starting with a story from Board of Action member Andrew Strainbrook, dotnet Technologies and how Patty Cavins’ interest in his success has made a huge difference for him.

Andrew says, “During COVID-19, my company dotnet technologies has been looking for ways that we can continue to prospect while practicing social distancing guidelines. All in-person networking events are being canceled.  Word-of-mouth marketing is the number one way that we promote and prospect for our business. In a conversation with a fellow CN board member, Patty Cavins, Higher Ground Advantage, about prospecting in this new age of networking, she asked me a powerful question that hit home, "What can you give to or leave your prospects with?"  After digesting and thinking on this question for some time, I came up with a simple way to educate my target market through a free webinar series.  I love presenting and educating people and it's even better when I have an opportunity to generate leads for my business all from the safety of my "clean" office. If you find yourself stuck or foundering in this alternative work environment, I encourage you to reach out to someone and try to talk things through. You never know what can come of it. Now more than ever, we need to support and lean on each other because let's face it; we are all floating around on this giant rock trying to figure out this thing called life.  Kudos to both Patty and Andrew for freely giving and for then experiencing a positive ending to this generosity.

Andrew Kistner, Lending Source, shares that for SBA loans, they are waving the fees they would normally charge their client. Usually it’s 1% of the loan amount. Also, the SBA is paying all principal and interest payments for 6 months if the loan is closed by the end of September.

Diane DiFrancesco, Connect to Your Joy, reports that she made a contribution for the August International EFT Tapping Month. The free resources will still be up in September. Here's the link to the website:  Hers is day 11 and is for people going through a divorce, which is not for everyone. There are other helpful resources on that site, as well.

During COVID, Kym Cragel, GR8 Lakes Swim Babies, is continuing to offer all 1st responders, active military & pastor's families 50% off of weekly fees. She also works with individual families to offer discounted weekly rates if they have been unemployed due to the pandemic. GR8 Lakes Swim Babies is dedicated to ensuring not one more child drowns. No child will be denied lessons based on a family's ability to pay. This summer alone, over 10 families have received financial assistance when requested.  Over 125 children have received self-rescue swim lessons adding another layer of protection in the fight against drowning. 

Debbie J. Papay, Attorney, held three events in August full of a dozen persons each making cards for our overseas troops.  If you'd like to come to a future event in Sept/Oct (which will be Thanksgiving and Christmas cards for troops), or if you know of a free meeting location for this purpose, please email her at   Social distancing/sanitization is followed.

Member Spotlight – Suzie Greene
by Kerri Brimmer,
Toledoans may remember Suzie Greene, a 2009 CN Grad, who moved to Traverse City from the Toledo area. "I miss my family and friends in Toledo, but we have a lot of visitors and at the end of the workweek, we don't have to leave this beautiful place and go home. We are home!" (Before starting their business, her husband Jim used to spend every week at his distant worksites and return on the weekends... for 10 years!) Their company, Greene Construction Group, provides commercial contracting services. Suzie, Office Director, is responsible for payroll data, bookkeeping, taxes, and compliance issues. They have an office in Toledo, where five employees work  and an office in Traverse City. Her husband, Jim, is at each office a few days a week. Suzie related that Jim is really good at thinking outside of the box and coming up with creative solutions... like their new house. 

Suzie now lives in "Grand Central Station" (what she calls her home), including a pole barn, two RV hookups, and two guest rooms. Recently they had 12 guests and only needed one air mattress. Suzie says that their innovative house is her favorite project of their business, Greene Construction Group. They have such a regular stream of visitors they call the extra bedroom upstairs room #201.

The Greenes fell in love with the Traverse City area, where they regularly traveled to build her in-laws cabin. Suzie loves the plethora of crystal clear lakes like Lake Leelanau and Torch Lake. They take their boat across, grab dinner, enjoy the boutiques, and then boat back home. There are wineries everywhere. Her favorite is the Rove Winery, which is only six miles away. "Boating and shopping are my things! We take our bulldog Jack for walks. Go to wineries," shared Suzie.

Suzie lives with her younger son, Ryan and her husband, Jim. Ryan just graduated from college and will be moving to his first apartment in Traverse City with his girlfriend, Lexi. (Her son's room will become guest room #102!) Her other son, Josh, and his wife moved to Texas. Josh works for Greene Construction but is too far away for his mother's taste. "Our plan is to park our RV in Josh's extra long driveway in Texas! I can drop in a couple of times a year and work from there."

Greene Construction has current projects in Toledo, Columbus, and West Virginia. In Columbus, they are building three ICF (Intermediate Care Facilities) for autistic children. These big ranch houses have 6 bedrooms each and sit side-by-side in a Columbus neighborhood. In West Virginia, they are rehabilitating another ICF home. Their downtown Toledo projects are converting older buildings for apartments. They just finished one at 625 Adams, and are starting one at 715 Jefferson. They are licensed in 40 states.

Covid-19 restrictions have not slowed them down much. "We have had to put off inside remodeling projects for now. We were able to keep everyone employed with the help of the PPP program and continue with outdoor work," shared Suzie.

When asked, "What's the craziest thing you've ever done?" Suzie hesitated. She replied, "I'm not really a crazy person. Hmmm. Asking Jim to marry me at my class reunion. I got down on one knee in my long dress! It was a second marriage for both of us, and we'd been dating for a while." 

Suzie used her CN skills when she moved to her new city. "Before CN, I was super shy. It was a turning point for me when I attended a WEN meeting. Leasa Lee introduced me to Debby Peters. From the CN course, I learned it’s ok to ask; there is no such thing as a dumb question. I got over needing everything to be perfect and just started attending events. In Traverse City, I am an ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce, which has helped me meet many friends. I am also in the Builder’s Exchange, but the Chamber is my best resource. I still struggle with wanting to meet everybody instead of meeting a few people at a time."

If you'd like to set up a virtual 1-2-1 meeting with Suzie, you can reach her at
1-2-1 Tree
By: Debby Peters, 

How many 1-2-1s do you think we can do in September????  Your Board of Action has thrown out the challenge. They will start by reaching out to at least 2 grads each for a meeting either in person or virtually.  Then those two grads will each reach out to another two grads.  The list of grads with contact info, as updated as we know, will be sent out to the community members for use on this project.  We would ask you to share what you found out byusing your smart phone to video yourself answering this statement.  “I met with _____ _____ and one thing I learned that I didn’t know was _________.”  Post on your feed and then share to the Connext Nation Facebook page.  Simple!  Do you think we can do 100 connections during the month?
Zoom Fatigue
Debby Peters,

There is a new term that has entered our lexicon in the past couple months – Zoom fatigue.  Those two words probably mean something different for each of you. I know that I have experienced it when I have filled my day with back-to-back virtual meetings.  By about the 5th or 6th conversations I am not my fresh self that I was in the morning.  But you know what?  I would feel the same, if those were in-person meetings.

In my opinion, using that term to justify not attending a virtual event or just not connecting for 1-2-1 meetings is a smokescreen and easy way out.Virtual meetings are now a part of our world and even when COVID-19 is under control, my guess is that Zoom is not going to disappear as one of the ways we stay connected.

Let’s talk about how to eliminate Zoom fatigue or at least minimize it.


As you would with an in-person meeting, think ahead about the connection.  Is this a new individual or an old acquaintance?  If so, use your GIFTS form (you can get this from the student area of our website at to have a helpful agenda for the meeting. During the meeting be thinking about how can you help this person with an introduction or maybe just a recommendation of a good book to read.  If you are actively engaged in this person’s success, I promise you that you won’t experience ZF! One other thought!  Take a page from the helping profession.  Schedule your meeting to end at the 50 minute mark (or less) and give yourself a 10 minute break before linking in to your next meeting.


What can you do to make your meetings not so boring and two dimensional?  The most important aspect of a successful virtual meeting is to keep your audience involved.  This is no different than in-person meetings.  And haven’t we all sat in the audience while a presenter droned on and on, reading her material and never making eye contact? Let’s think about how Zoom makes it easy for us.  

Most adult learners need a change every ten minutes or our attention spans go wonkers!  Plan you presentation to include active audience participation at least 4 to 5 times per hour. 

Breakout rooms, get people talking to each other. Once the ice has been broken, they are more likely to participate in a general discussion.  

Use a poll to take the pulse of the group on a specific topic and then share results.  

Encourage the use of the chat box, both formally and informally.  Ask a question of the group and then have them weigh in using the chat box.  If this is a group that doesn’t know one another, ask them to include their contact info in the box.  

Also, encourage them to reach out using the chat boxprivate feature, with other participants on the call.  Insure that the setting that enables you to save the chat dialogue is active and then you can send out the file to the participants after the event.  

From time-to- time add a quiz into your slide deck.  It can be a trivia type question, just for fun.  Give funny virtual prizes for winning answers.  Announce winners on your social media feeds.


This is probably when most ZF is manifesting its ugly head -- when you are not in control. A couplethoughts…..  Unless you are naked, keep your video on.  (I do know that sometimes for connectivity issues, turning off the video is helpful, but that is rare for most!)  Eliminating the real you, allows you to wander away from the meeting at hand.  Of course you have ZF, you’re doing a thousand other tasks (checking your FB feed, writing that article, answering email and texts) when drilling into the meeting may mean that you could actually contribute!  Perhaps later you could post on social media about the topic and what you learned as result of attending. This gives you a task that requires active listening. CLE CN Grad, Heidi Hooper, Ultimate Air Shuttle, is an excellent example of demonstrating this if you want to check out her feed.

As mentioned above, the chat box can be your friend.  Unless you are asked not to use it during the session, stay engaged by chatting with other participants.  Just be aware, this chat dialogue may be distributed later.  Don’t put comments in about the presenter or another person that you wouldn’t tell that person to his face.  You can also use the chat feature to ask questions of the presenter as thethoughts hit your brain.  This way you don’t have to try to remember it for later when he is taking Q & A. 

Zoom Fatigue is a mindset and attitude.  You can choose both to embrace it and use it to your advantage or you can complain about it and not gain the full value. It’s your choice!

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