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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Mini’s Begin for the Winter Sessions

Our last 2 hour Mini classes will be on: 

        February 5, from 9-11am, 
        February 10, from 11am-1pm for the Rocky River/Cleveland area.  

If you know of someone who would like to register for either session, please send them to

February 1-5, International Networking Week

CN, BNI, WEN and So Now are banding together to celebrate International Networking Week during the first five days of February. Read what you can do to participate in the article below.

February 21, BNI/CN Toledo Walleye. This is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and early evening at this family-friendly event. It’s only $14 per person! Doors will open at 4:15pm and the game begins at 5:15.  Jason Madasz, BNI, has planned this event to foster fun, family and networking.  There is an area behind our seats where we can chat and get to know those in attendance.  Even more fun, there is skating afterwards for those who bring their own blades.  We will be near the best food area in the stadium, so it will be easy for you to purchase what you’re “hungerin’ for.”  To register go to here.  Our goal is to hit 100 people. Can you help to make that happen?

Next Toledo Breakfast

If you are one that likes to get events on your calendar, the next Toledo Breakfast networking event is March 8, at 8:30 am at Pam’s Corner Restaurant.  Greg Peters will be making a return appearance at the request of the BOA members.

April Toledo Fantastic Four Lunch
This is the lunch where as best we can, we seat you with three other people who have the same or similar target market.  The conversations are facilitated by BOA members so that no one person dominates and everyone gets to engage.  This event is planned for April 18, with the earlier start time of 11 am.

Cleveland Socializing

Tonya Anderson, ACN, from our Northeast region is thinking about planning an event to provide a time for the all Cleveland grads to get together. Stay tuned for further details.

Social Media

As part of International Networking Week, we will be asking you to post about your out-of-network one-to-ones on our Facebook page using the hash tag of #INW.  We want to get at least 100 comments during this five day period.  Also, if you see a comment that speaks to you, please like and also share it.  To find our page, either key in Connext Nation in the search bar of FB or using this link.  Barb Wilson keeps the page updated and you’ll be able to keep abreast of all that’s happening in your community. Plus you might see your face there if you attend one of our events.

Member Spotlight:

Peggy Cook
by Debby Peters

Peggy Cook has always been one to seize the day!  She is a Cleveland CN grad, having completed the first ever class in that area.  When she came to the two hour mini class as a result of being invited by her co-worker, Phil Vedda, she said, “I knew that I was going to take the course because I love to learn.”
Peggy sells for Vedda Printing+, however she knows that she really doesn’t sell, but just keeps all her customer’s best interests in mind.  And that is the very reason she attributes to her success.  She says, “They know that I will only do what’s right for them, so I have very loyal, long-term relationships that continue to pay off year after year.”

This past summer Peggy had some major health issues and was not able to work her usual hours, but her referral partners kept sending business her way.  Even though she was not physically working, her spirit was out there!  Peggy says, “Because of CN, I realized that first of all, my area of focus is non-profits and then because of that knowledge, I was able to deepen certain relationships that I already had to the referral partner status.”  She adds, I currently have three that keep sending me business.  #1 is Tracy who used to work for Magnificat High School, but since leaving there has landed at St. Edwards.”  And Peggy was able to land all the printing for that private school too.  Peggy shares, “Another one is Mary Ann, a graphic artist for a non-profit, but she also does work for other non-profits.  She just keeps rolling more business my way.  I’m able to refer her to my other clients too.”  Finally, Peggy has a solid relationship with Mary, who is a professor at Cleveland State University and Mary is a huge referral supporter of Peggy.

Peggy didn’t start out in the printing business.  She and her now former husband owned 3 martial arts studios, but when they divorced, it made sense to move on.  She didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do and she was out with friends one night when she met the owner of a business.  “I told that business owner that she needed me! I must have been convincing because she told me that I could start on Monday, but that there was no desk or any office set up.  So over the weekend, I got a desk, chair, rug and even some art for the wall and went in to set up my office!  When the owner walked in on Monday morning, I was already there working.  She looked a little surprised!”  

While employed by this business, Joe Vedda became a vendor, in fact, Peggy says that he was her preferred vendor.  “We would go out on calls together, with he being the printing expert and I was the mailing expert.  I worked there for 8 years, before Joe convinced me to leave so that I could go to work for Vedda Printing+.  But I told Joe that I wouldn’t come unless they invested in mailing equipment, which they did.  I became their mailing expert!”

This workaholic woman has eased off just a bit as a result of her illness this past summer.  “I used to work 24/7, but now I want to enjoy life a bit more.”  (Although this interview was conducted at 7:30 pm and she was still not home.) She adds, “I also have found some relief from my sleeplessness so I’m getting more than just a couple hours of rest each night.”

Peggy has three children; twin girls and a son.  One daughter lives in Portland and just gave Peggy her fifth grandchild on Christmas Day.  The other half of the twin set lives right next door and Peggy gets to see those three children more often. Her son is in the area too and he has one of the five.  In her free time, Peggy is an outdoor advocate, loving to go biking on the towpaths in the Cleveland area, gardening in her raised beds, kayaking on the Rocky River and camping in the Hocking Hills.  

Her goals for this year are very simple.  She wants to always do her personal best, to enjoy life and to know that she is blessed to be alive.  A one-to-one over coffee with Peggy would be a good idea...if you can catch her.


CN Horn Tooting


Bill McConnell, Dunright Building Services, shares that Sunrise windows just named Dunright as their largest Sunrise Essential dealer in the nation for the third year in a row.

Nick Nigro, Davis College, reports that he has an additional and new responsibility at Davis College. In addition to being the Career Services Director and teaching courses, he is now the Externship Coordinator. He connects with local companies to help their students continue to learn and get hands-on experience in their career field. His first group of externs are at sites this Winter quarter.

Michael Temple, Temple Development Company, LLC, recently was appointed to a 3 year term for the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce's board of directors. Previously he served 5 years on the TASBA board for the Chamber and also attends and assists with various committees including the Leadership Fund, which is the Chamber's Political Action Group.

Deb Olejownik, DJC Consulting, recently earned her Myers-Briggs Type Indicator MBTI® certification. MBTI® is a personalized description of your personality preferences and is a fascinating tool to help people and organizations understand what makes them tick and why.  To learn more about the MBTI®, contact Deb or 419.392.7737.

Randy and Teresa Raymond are celebrating 24 years of ownership of Marbee Printing in Findlay. In the past 24 years the business has grown in customers and in sales and has four times the number of employees.  The print shop moved to a new Main Street location and was named the 2012 Small Business of the Year. They can't wait to see what the next 24 years brings.

Kym Cragel, Wellness Fix, reports that she is only 3 classes away from her Masters in Sport Psychology.  Her grade point average is an impressive 4.0. She’ll be accepting clients by spring.

Dave Bodner, Mass Mutual, has horntooting that is informational.  He and Richard Chamberlain, Chamberlain Law Group, are using the online platform Trello to better manage the referral process between them. It saves them time and gives them instant feedback on where someone is in the referral process.  A referral to a Financial Planner or an Attorney can takes months or years to develop into a client.  Trello is a fun interactive, online tool that manages ongoing projects with multiple participants.  It is easy to use and intuitive.

Tami Norris, reports that Custom Training Solutions Toledo is now holding classes in the newly renovated Engineering Technologies building at the UT Scott Park campus.  Through a grant obtained by Northwest State, Terra State Community College and The University of Toledo, the center focuses on advanced manufacturing training designed to help people develop the skills necessary for employment in today's ever-changing manufacturing industries.  Information technologies, programmable logic controllers
and robotics are some of the specialized hands on programs offered at the building.  A ribbon cutting and grand opening for the public will be scheduled soon.

Sarah Krafty, Krafty Travel, received notification in early January that Krafty Travel's application for accreditation with International Air Transportation Authority was approved.  The application requirements are stringent and the process was lengthy.  From the beginning it has been her mission to display professionalism and commitment within the industry.  Sarah is a certified travel agent with the Travel Institute and now her agency is accredited with IATA.  

A second exciting announcement this month is that Krafty Travel has received the WeddingWire Couples' Choice Award® for 2016, as determined by reviews from her clients. The Couples' Choice Awards recognizes Krafty Travel as amongst the top 5% of wedding professionals nationwide.

Debra Gorman announces that there will be no more Sweet Chocolates from The Chocolate Shoppe. She is closing her business.  She says that it has been a terrific 19+ years, so don’t be sad. She had a wonderful retail business and she got to try the online world which she had wanted to do for a long time. You couldn’t ask for more.

Debra is grateful for all that she learned and the friends she made at CN, WEN and BNI.  Her next big challenge is to find a job that she loves as much as she did The Chocolate Shoppe.  Her only regret:  she’s no longer surrounded by chocolate!!!

Cy Connors, Molly Maid of Greater Toledo/Bowling Green, shares that his company has expanded the business into Monroe and Lenawee counties of Michigan effective November 11, 2015 in addition to the current service area of greater Toledo and Bowling Green.
What Groups!
by Debby Peters,
Recently I was talking with a networking friend and he said, “I really need to find other groups to become involved with because I’m not getting what I want from the groups I’m in now.”  While this is a very loaded statement, I think it is always good to review your networking efforts each year to determine if you are accomplishing your goals.

To continue the above conversation, I asked him, (let’s call him Bob to make this easier) what his goals were for networking groups that he was a member.  There was silence.  Finally Bob said, “You know, I really don’t know.”  That was a great starting point.  For all the CN grads reading this, you know that chapter 6 in the Referral Pursuit Manual addresses this very topic.  What return on investment of both your money and your time do you desire?  Did you set those goals last year and if so, what are the results.  Many times, what I find is that networkers don’t measure their results so they have no idea of the success rate of their efforts.  The sheets on pages 6-3 and 6-6 will help you with this.

Now is a good time not only to review last year’s efforts, but also to set new goals for this year.  How many new people do you want to meet?  What relationships do you want to take to a stronger level?  What business connections do you want from a group?  What introductions do you want to make?  How active do you plan to be? What is your target market?

Remember, networking is a long term project. What you do this year may not affect results for the year.  I can give you an example.  I am a member of the Rocky River Chamber of Commerce in the Cleveland area.  I have just sent my dues check for the beginning of my third year with them.  Just in the last couple months have I seen some members come forward and register for a mini course. I have had many days where I wondered if I should continue my efforts in northeast Ohio.  The investment of time and money was considerably more than the payoff in $$$.  BUT, I was making wonderful friendships and I knew that they would become fruitful in the end. Also, my informal mission for CN is to have the networking light bulb go on for others and I knew that I was making that difference. It was a resounding yes, when I asked myself the, “Should I rejoin?” question?

With your groups in mind, what are the answers you give yourself about the effectiveness of your memberships?  If the answers tell you to move on, the very next question you should ask is, “What will I do to replace this marketing effort?”  Again return to your manual and begin the selection process.

Some wise person once said, “What gets measured, gets done.”  I think it would be wise to take that advice.

First Ever – New Member Breakfast

Your Board of Action decided to gather all the grads from the past year together and celebrate at a recent breakfast.  Thirteen of the various 2015 classes attended.  The goals were to provide a setting where the grads could meet each other and also the Board of Action members and to have dialogue between the newbies and the more seasoned members.

Lisa Rosen, Etcetera clothing and Silpada, shared, “Not originally being from Toledo, my class gave me the opportunity of getting to know people I would not have ever had the opportunity to meet..  And as a result I am being introduced to other helpful people.”

Kendra Bills, In Bloom Flowers, mentioned “I would have liked more time spent on taglines.”  Of course everyone laughed at this because many know that it is Debby’s least favorite chapter to teach.  But as a result of the comment, BOA member Linda Everhardt Kardux, offered to facilitate a brainstorming session outside of the class setting.  We’ll explore that further.

Looking at the future, there was a suggestion that perhaps, what is needed next is a separate series of classes to actually help with the implementation of referral partnerships.  The comment was, “Now I know the steps to do it, but I need help in actually doing it!”  Debby looked thoughtful over this comment!

Arlene Gerig, Re/Max Masters, and senior adviser on the BOA felt that this new event was a “huge success!”  Debby feels the same way and is grateful for the help of the BOA members and the participation of the new grads.  We will do this again next year.

The Ribbons are Here!
International Networking Week (INW) by Debby Peters,

As we shared last month, International Networking Week is Feb 1-5th.  And we are celebrating!

BNI, CN, So Now and WEN are collaborating to make this happen. Teal-colored ribbons that can be attached to your name tag have arrived.  You might see some people sporting them now as we want to get the buzz happening to take us into the official week.  To get yours contact either Jason Madasz,, Debby Peters, , Jenn Wenzke, or Linda Everhardt Kardux,  

Here is what we would like you to do to help us celebrate.

1.    Wear your ribbon on your name tag during the week.  It will help to create conversation about the week.
2.    Reach out to someone out of your usual network to do a one to one.  As Debby describes it, this is someone who makes you feel a little scared to connect with.  It’s an opportunity to stretch yourself.  Think of the person you’ve had on your list to connect with, but you keep putting it off!
3.    Each ribbon imprint has a hash tag of #INW.  Once you have met with that scary person, go to the Connext Nation Facebook page and post about your meeting, telling us what you learned about this person.  Use the hash tag at the end of the message. (This is a stretch for Debby, but she is going to try it!)

Our goal is to have 100 different comments during the week.  Can you help us?



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