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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

February is again a month where we are having a regular lunch at Smokey Bones.  It will be February 16, 11:30 am – 1 pm and the cost is $13, cash or check. 

Social After Hours
Andrew Stainbrook is again leading us in a social after hours event on March 26 from 5-7 PM.  Andrew is sure to have surprises up his sleeve.  You don’t have to register, just show up. 

First ever evening Mini Course
Debby is getting with the times and has scheduled an evening Mini Course for those who can’t come during the day.  This one is February 16, from 7:30-9:30 pm.  Our target for the session is those in direct sales and/or as Sandy Pirwitz puts it, for those who think some things are just more fun when they're done in the dark!

Facebook Page
If you haven’t yet found our Facebook page, go to Facebook and in the search window at the top key in the words Connext Nation.  You will see the logo and the name appear.  Click on it and then click on “Like” to continue to be in the Facebook know!

Member Spotlight:

Debby Peters, Connext Nation 

by Jenn Wenzke, So Now Coaching,


Photo credit: C. Julie Photography

Debby Peters, the charismatic founder of Connext Nation, lives life to its fullest -- in every way -- every day. 

“I love the theatre so much that on my 25th wedding anniversary I want to spend a week in New York and go to a play every night.”  My favorite play is “Anything Goes” because that was the play I saw on Broadway with my good friend Marcia before she passed away.”

Debby loves experiencing the outdoors, from tent camping and weeding her gardens to skiing and whitewater rafting.  “I went down the Selway River in Idaho NINE times.  It is a class five river, the most difficult river to raft on.  And I was a chaperone for the Boy Scouts on a backpacking trip in the Upper Peninsula and I didn’t shower FOR 14 DAYS!”  I also enjoy taking my granddaughters sledding and have taught each of them how to climb a tree. “

Debby is attracted to the unusual and unique.  When you meet her, you won’t forget her.  She stands out with her fun eyewear, contemporary jewelry, spunky hair color and sassy Mini Cooper.  “I love my MINI because it is a cool car, fast, and holds the road really well.”

One of her favorite memorable moments is her wedding day. After Debby and her husband shared their “I dos”, the judge casually said – “Please help me welcome Debby and Steve as they take the plunge into matrimony.” Then they both jumped into their pond with their tuxedo and wedding dress on.
When asked where she would love to have a second home Debby immediately smiled, “Salt Lake City so I can ski. “ She quickly added that she would also enjoy a third home in Costa Rica because she loves the people so much.

“My favorite food is sushi and my favorite desserts are brownies, vanilla ice cream topped with my garden strawberries, coconut cream pie, chocolate cream pie, apple pie, zucchini bread and left over homemade biscuits with jelly.” (Editor’s note: How does she stay so slim?)

 Debby is a family girl!  She loves piling all of her children and their families into her home on holidays.  She has three children, 7 grandchildren, a Yellow Lab named Gable, and a orange tabby cat named “Kitty.”  Her husband, Steve Cotner, is owner and President of Corporate Intelligent Consultants, a private investigating firm with a specialty in Technical Electronic Countermeasures.

Loyalty, compassion, excellence, friends, family, connection and fun are just a few of Debby’s values.  As to her best asset, “I like to ask others questions and listen to their stories more than people hearing mine.”
What is a little something that no one knows about Debby? “I eat everything with a salad fork.  And I have read 600 books since 2008.”  Once again – beautifully unique! 

When you get to know Debby, it is pretty easy to know why she grabs a slice of every heart that she meets.  I mean really…who can resist that smile, sense of humor and daring determination?


CN Horn Tooting


Kris Downey, Send Out Cards, has launched a blog chronicling life on the road. She and Other Half, along with an annoying poodle named Rigby are traveling the U.S. in a 38' Winnebago Big Rig. The blog is called

Mary Ann Mills, Re/Max Preferred, was elected Women’s Council of Realtors, Ohio State Chapter President-Elect for 2015!  She was installed in Columbus during WCR/OAR Conferences, Sunday evening January18.

Arlene Gerig, BOA Member, just celebrated 13 years with RE/MAX Preferred Associates.

Deb Olejownik, DJC Core Consulting, LLC presented Stress Management Training to staff and coworkers at Lourdes University on January 8, 2015. 

Tony Szczechowski, ProEdge Lawncare, Ltd., is in the process of hiring a project manager with 18 years experience in hardscape installations to run their Project Department.

Angie Weid, owner of Organized Solutions, landed on the front page of The Monroe Newspaper as the area's leading professional organizing expert in a story series of the top 5 New Year resolutions for 2015.  Angie shared tips and tricks to getting your home and office more organized.

Laura Osborne, Laura’s Framing, has now relocated to the Colonial Village Shops at Key Street and Heatherdowns.  The new address is 4400 Heatherdowns, #9, Toledo.  Stop out to the new shop and see an old friend (and her dog, Tory).

Jenn Wenzke, reports that The So Now Professional Network of Women expanded their meetings to Lima, Ohio on January 13th. Their first event was a HUGE success with over 40 women in attendance. The next Lima Night of Networking is February 10th, 6:30 pm at Sycamore Lake Winery.

David Bodner, Mass Mutual Financial Group, reports that 2014 was a record year in profitability for his business. He credits his success to strong refer-ral partners, persistence and community involvement. "Heck, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while."

Steve Cotner, President, Corporate Intelligence Consultants, announced that Michelle Donnelly, a CN grad, has joined the firm as the Sales Account Coordinator.  Michelle brings many years of experience developing relationships in the real estate world which will transfer to the HR community that she will be calling on as part of her job.

Tami Norris, Custom Training Solutions, was recently elected President of the St. John's Jesuit High School Band Boosters.  She says they are an   awesome group of kids and she enjoys working with them and their parents.

Don Kardux and Linda Everhardt Kardux are proud to have reached the 25th anniversary of Business Navigators.

Michelle Quilter, Genoa Bank, a FDIC member and Equal Housing Lender, announces that the bank is offering the New Genoa Bank Consolidation Loan.  This is another way that Michelle helps to take your banking needs personally.

Josette Brinkman, Signed By Josette LLC, was one of the fortunate companies selected to participate in the year long Entrepreneur Exchange.  This is the Small Business Administration’s ScaleUp America educational program geared towards helping small businesses increase their revenue, expand their workforce, and provide greater impact on their communities and local economies.  There are only 30 companies selected each year to participate. 

Naked Networking

by Debby Peters

Many people have a fear of public speaking and one solution recommend by some experts is that they envision that their audience is sitting there without any clothes on.  I guess that’s supposed to make the speaker more relaxed because he or she is the only one properly clothed.

When it comes to networking, many people are just as reticent about the whole scene.  What should I do?  How should I act?  What should I say? 

This brings me to a blog post I wrote recently about Naked Networking.  A friend of a friend of mine networks in the sauna at an exclusive downtown club.  And everyone sitting there is naked.  Evidently this is quite successful for him and he had gotten a lot of clients this way.

Talk about the ultimate awkward situation!  “What should I do?  How should I act? Where should I look?  What should I say?”  My brain is working overtime with some other inappropriate phrases, so I will contain myself for the sake of all the rest of you!

A couple thoughts went through my head that could be printed.  If you’re talking to someone and they want to schedule an appointment, where do you keep your phone so you can make that happen?  Also, if you need to trade business cards, what location is the storage point for those items?  I could go on, but I will take my tongue out of my cheek before it is stuck there forever.

I bring this all up, because now if you think about a “normal” networking situation, just the general lunch or after hours, it sounds a whole lot easier. 

Who knew!

First Lunch of the Year

 Debby Peters, Connext Nation,

Because of the federal holiday for Martin Luther King Day, some of you missed a very fun lunch.  Our tables were all filled and we would have had to move a few more in if additional CNers had arrived.

Mary Bryant, Meleuca our emcee for the day, asked us to not only give our name and company during introductions, but she also wanted us to complete a question based on the “new/old” catch phrase, “You’ll do better in Toledo.”  It was interesting to hear the reasons many of our members gave for why they either agree or disagree.

We asked most of our participants to sit with at least one person they either did not know or did not know well.  Everyone seemed to comply.  The networking exercise led by Linda Everhardt Kardux, Business Navigators/WEN, helped tablemates to get to know each other better.  Linda’s challenge for us was to share an awkward networking situation that we had experienced, what we did and what we thought the solution was.  Then each table had to pick one person from the group to share their situation.  As a result we found out that Rick Reichow, Martin-Lark Insurance Agency, is a self-described “girlie-guy” (which we think is a good thing!) because he doesn’t like to disappoint anyone.  Everyone in attendance was asked to share their story on our Facebook page.  You can too!

Here are the people you missed:  Jennifer Alford, Mary Bryant, Cyrus Connors, Nina Corder, Kym Cragel, Laura Hodgkins, Linda Everhardt Kardux, Karen Keimnec, Greg Kissner, Julie Kuney, Leah Lanius, Nick Nigro, Sandy Pirwitz, Ellen Critchley Pittman, Rick Reichow, Liz Thees, Krisi Vadnais, Jenn Wenzke and Bob Werner. If any of these names are unfamiliar to you, please add the February lunch date to your calendar so you can come meet them!  The date is February 16.  We’re looking forward to seeing you!

One Year Later 

by Sandy Pirwitz, BNI and Connext Nation

 (This is the last in a series of articles we have published about Krisi Vadnais, doTerra Oils.  Krisi graduated about a year ago from CN and we have been reporting on her progress since then.)

Krisi Vadnais...about one year her own words:

 How CN has changed my life in the last year....

When I switched businesses to invest time and effort in doTerra, I knew that it would take a while for people to trust my decision. However, I continued to work the business. Whenever I felt discouraged, I would consistently review a chapter in the CN manual. Whatever area that I felt like I was lacking in, I would study it again. I would look over my notes and read the relevant chapters. I have seen so many people who give up on their dreams because they do not have a plan. When you are stuck in a rut, it is hard to keep going if you don't know what to do. Now that I am a CN grad, I NEVER have to let that happen. I have this exclusive toolbox that I continue to revisit. There is always something new to learn. 

When I gave birth to my second son, I did not realize how overwhelming it would be. I took 4 months off from any traditional networking or "work" events. I needed to focus on my growing family and figure out how to balance it all. Because I had worked so diligently on my CN class exercises and homework since I first started over a year ago, I could take that time off, and my business was still growing. I had referrals coming in from people that I had referred someone to. I had friends who I have been talking to about what I was looking for in a referral. Suddenly, I was getting so many referrals... what a GREAT problem to have! I moved up 2 ranks in my business in the 4 months that I "took time off of work". I am also on par to move up another rank this month. 

People ask me, "Is the CN course worth the money?" My response is always the same. It is worth SO much more than the money that you put into it. When you put the time in and really accept everything that is taught to you in this class, you will always have a growing business. I cannot work my business 50 hours a week. I can only work around my family’s schedule. I am first a stay-at-home mom to an intelligent 3 year old and an amazing 5 month old. Yet here I am with a growing business. I can only imagine how much more I could be growing my business if I could work 50 hours a week. I have to work smarter, not harder. My time is valuable. Knowing what I can do, instead of what I cannot do is the difference between me and another stay-at-home mom who is ready to give up. 

CN has taught me so much about myself, the kind of person that I would like to do business with, as well as the kind of business owner that I would like to be. No matter how much time you have to devote to your business, you might as well make the most of every moment!
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