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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Already fall, and yes, we have a lunch this month on October 19.  It is at Smokey Bones and it begins at 11:30 am and ends at 1 pm.  The cost of the event is $13, either in cash or check made out to CNP of Ohio, Ltd. No pre-registration is required.  You never know what the Board of Action has up their sleeve for the networking exercise.  Come with an open mind and learn along with your table mates.  Of course, we always welcome your guests. 
Social Media
Don’t forget to answer the question of the week on our Facebook page.  It gives other readers an insight into your personality and add a bit of fun to the community at Barb Wilson keeps the page updated and you’ll be able to keep abreast of all that’s happening in your community.

Board Member taking on New Responsibility.
Rick Reichow, Martin & Lark Insurance, has been asked to take on a three year commitment of leadership for the Rossford Business Association.  With that in mind, he has asked to step off the CN Board of Action.  His last official duty was the member spotlight article he wrote for this issue, but he has helped and volunteered in so many ways.  This year he donated the hamburgers for the summer picnic and in years past he has helped with the very smoky job of grilling all the food for the picnic.  Additionally, he has been one of the most supportive members when it comes to telling others about the course.  We are going to miss him but are excited about his opportunities moving forward.

Longtime Proofreader Moving On
Sandy Pirwitz is not only a trainer with CN, but she has also kept the newsletter up to snuff for years and years.  She has used her proofreading “pen” to correct the grammar, spelling and awkward phrases that just seem to appear in the rough versions that Debby sends to her.  What comes back is the polished issue that you all get to see.  A huge round of applause goes to Sandy as she decides to pass on her virtual pen to another stickler for the written word.  Don’t worry; she is still going to be leading CN classes!

Member Spotlight:

C.J. Nelson, C Julia Photography
by Rick Reichow, Martin & Lark Insurance,

What a pleasure it was to sit down with C.J. Nelson recently. She was in the first CN graduating class in the Cleveland area. CJ is a Toledo native and graduate of Start High School.  Her passion for writing in high school led her to start using her signature name “C. Julia Nelson” and then “CJ”.  She graduated from Ohio University with a BA in Journalism.  CJ then returned to Toledo to work for The Mirror Newspaper for 5 years where she earned some prestigious recognition.  In 2003 and 2005, she was chosen to receive the Ohio Schools Board of Education Media Honor by Springfield and Maumee schools. In 2007, she started her photography career.  She moved to Atlanta to do photography work but shortly after that she was called back to Ohio to work for PR Newswire in Cleveland.  While in Cleveland, she started her photography business.

CJ’s favorite photography work is when she is traveling around various cities.  She loves to do cityscape and metro specks shots.  Some of the areas she has done this type of photography for include Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, Chicago, Charlotte, and Hocking Hills. Even though she is a professional photographer, this is one of CJ’s many personal interests so it isn’t really like a job to her.  Through those travels as well, she has had the opportunity to take photos of Governor Kasich, President George W. Bush, John Kerry, and Marcy Kaptur.  On the portraits' side, CJ focuses her time on expectant mothers which she calls “Belly to Baby”, updating head shots for businesses with less than 40 employees, and construction trades, taking before and after shots of projects.

One of CJ’s biggest challenges when she launched her business 6 years ago was that she wasn’t from the Cleveland area so she didn’t know a lot of people there.  She overcame these challenges by joining a BNI Group, the North Coast Chapter in Rocky River, becoming an active board member for the Hispanic UMADAOP, involved herself in Cleveland Plays, a co-ed intramurals sports league (more specifically football), and of course Connext Nation.  

Although CJ lives in Cleveland she frequently visits the Toledo area where her family lives.  Her mom, dad, sister, niece, and nephew are here.  So when she has the opportunity to come back she said it’s like a whirlwind to see her family, friends, and sometimes has to squeeze a photo shoot in here or there.  If you have the chance to connect with CJ in Toledo or Cleveland, I highly recommend spending an hour to get to know her. It is well worth the time.  Who knows she just might have a connextion to your next big referral.  


CN Horn Tooting


Krisi Vadnais, DoTerra Essential Oils, is incredibly proud to announce that she has won in both categories (Humorous and Table Topics) in the Area contest for Toastmasters. This means that she will be representing the Bowling Green Toastmasters in both categories at the District level on October 17.   She has only been in Toastmasters a few months. Her humorous talk was her fourth prepared speech for the club.

Michael Temple of Temple Development Corporation is proud to announce the launch of the brand new website for Fiddle Stix Boutique in Levis Commons, Perrysburg. It is a custom developed eCommerce site with a full featured content management backend and integrated marketing tools. The new website will help them expand their existing presence in Northwest Ohio as well as reaching new markets around the country. 

Jenn Wenzke, has announced that So Now Professional Network for Women will have their first event in Findlay on September 24th at 5:15 pm at the Findlay Country Club. Visit for registration information. Jenn is the founder of this group.

Mary Ann Mills, Re/Max Masters, incoming 2016 Women's Council of REALTORS, Ohio State Chapter President, takes great pleasure hosting, presenting and providing all 2016 incoming Ohio Local Chapter Officers their orientation in Perrysburg at Hilton Garden Inn on October 9, 2015. The current 2015 National President, Sindy Ready and the 2016 incoming National President, Melissa Zimbleman, will be attending and presenting.  Women's Council of REALTORS is a national real estate organization with more than 11,000 current members, 238 local chapters and 24 state chapters.

Mary Nyitray, Optical Arts, is excited to announce that they’ve launched a new ad in the Toledo City Paper. Mary says, “It looks really great and I hope people love it!”

Jason Conklin, J Conklin Consulting, has been accepted into the National Fire Academy's EFO (Executive Fire Officer) Program to help him expand his capabilities as he continues to serve his community as Deputy Chief of the Lindsey Volunteer Fire Department. This is a graduate level, four year program, held in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Jason was chosen from thousands of applicants from across the United States. He will begin classes in June of 2016.

David Bodner of Mass Mutual Financial Group recently enrolled in a US Masters Swimming course. This is a year-long program designed to teach adults how to become better swimmers and is taught by certified coaches. Although David doesn't have any Olympic dreams, he does hope to improve his swimming times in triathlons (Swim, Bike, Run) in 2016.

Jennifer Alford, Creative Financial Partners, will be the president of Creative Financial Partners officially on January 1. She has already taken on the role but will make it official with the IRS in January. It has been a long-time dream of hers to become the general agent so she is pretty excited! She has already passed her securities supervisor exam and will take two more tests before January 1.

NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors) also named Jennifer The Young Advisor of the Year. This is the sixth time in their history that they have given this to an agent under the age of 40 and the first time ever to a female.  They will present her with her award on the main stage of the convention in New Orleans in October. NAIFA has over 42,000 members so Jennifer is incredibly honored and touched. 

Cristina Bertero, EmbroidMe North Olmstead, has announced their fall open house on October 15 from 5-8 PM.  It will be at her store location of 3683 Clague Road, North Olmstead.  Cristina is synonymous with fun, so this is an event to attend!

Networking Bloopers! 

Networking Blooper #1 by Simony Silva,
What do you do when you show up at a networking meeting thinking that you are well-prepared to interact with other professionals and you are taken by surprise by a cold, hard sell?
Just because you have attended several meetings and know how to talk to people, and just because you have taken classes to improve your networking skills and learned the DOs and DONTs, it doesn't mean everyone has.
During one of our lunch meetings I was approached by a person I had never met before and she asked for a one-to-one. We exchanged cards and next day she called to set up a meeting. We had a meeting that lasted 1 and 1/2 hours talking mostly about her family and her business. I knew I didn’t have the desire to buy her services, nor had I ever said I was interested nor did I ask her to contact me again but she thought persistence was her greatest talent. Finally at some point she gave up, but that bitter taste stayed with me. Now every time I go to meetings I do my best to stay away from her.
What I learned from this blooper was that I should had said “NO” much earlier, before that one-to-one took place. If you don’t share the same target market or if you are not interested in their product or service, it’s just fine to politely say NO.
NO is a powerful word!

Networking Blooper #2 by Deb Olejownik,
At a recent networking event, while responding to a networker’s (We’ll call her Suzy) training question, another networker (We’ll call her Betty) cut me off at the knees by promoting a coach/trainer she knew better than me. At first, I felt miffed; however I was able to continue answering Suzy’s question, focusing on the specifics of the question. Afterwards, I instantly recognized an opportunity to set up a one-to-one with Betty to get to know her better and to learn how I can help promote Betty’s business and in turn help her to understand what I do and how she can help me promote my business. I could have just gone away mad, but instead I’m excited about this opportunity to forge a new partnership.
The Networking Dance
by Greg Peters,

“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Each year, as a family, we get together at a nearby campground for the Memorial Day weekend. The park we’ve been to for the last few years, Groveland Oaks, lines up all sorts of entertainment for the holiday weekend, including live music in the evenings.

This year, on Saturday night, Kaylie, my ever-adventurous 7-year-old decided she wanted to go to the dance party over at the pavilion. Now, I’m a pretty easy-going dad, but this was not an activity she was going to be doing unchaperoned (as was her plan). So, I slipped on my dancing shoes to be her “date”.

When we arrived, Kaylie immediately grabbed my hand and dragged me out on the floor where, for the next hour or so I did my best “giraffe on roller skates” impression. My daughter simply threw herself into the fun. Was she the best dancer on the floor? Nope. But she sure had a good time.

So, what does that have to do with networking?

When we start our formal networking efforts, or even when we start networking with a new group, we often focus on looking right or saying the right thing, and we end up feeling like that roller skating giraffe. What if, instead, we just leaped into the fray and danced with all our heart? What if we just went in and had some fun? What if we went with the purpose of meeting new people and sharing a laugh or two?

Wouldn’t that be a little more effective?

I mean, if we have fun one time, wouldn’t we be more likely to show up again? If we’re sharing a laugh, isn’t it more likely other people are going to want to be around us? If we just danced with our hearts, isn’t it more likely we’ll make better and deeper connections?

And isn’t that what we want?

So, what do you do to get past the “giraffe on roller skates” feeling?

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