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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 Samantha Stainbrook, Comfort Keepers who was in our September class from last year,
“I just wanted to tell you that taking your class really helped me with preparation for my speaking last week. As soon as I started taking I felt confident with how I presented it! I said my "why" and it is so crazy how my "why" is still expanding and light bulbs still are going off! .” 

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,Andrew Stainbrook and Jeanne DeWitt, are going to share how we can leverage technology to our advantage.  I think the title is Sex in the Clouds!  But I could be wrong!  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 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.

April Lunch (Toledo) – Annual Fantastic Four
Monday, April 24 will be our annual Fantastic Four lunch, BUT THERE WILL BE A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FOCUS THIS YEAR.  Instead of asking everyone for their target market, we are setting the expectation that you will get to meet two or three new people.  In order to do that, we are partnering with the Maumee Chamber of Commerce.  We will still have it set up with tables of 4 or 6 with a table captain to facilitate the conversation.  We think this is a great way to add to your network and also to have a bit of fun.  We have space for 60 people at Smokey Bones and the lunch starts a bit earlier at 11 am so that everyone can network casually first.  The cost to attend is $20 and guests are welcome so bring a new face to meet some of the old faces!  Registration must be done in advance at under the Events tab.

Our next graduation will be May 16 from 5:30-7:30 PM at the Maumee Indoor Theater.

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:

Andrea Henning

by Ray Meiers   

Andrea Henning graduated from CN in 2013, when her last name was Pietraszak.  She is an attorney practicing bankruptcy law, criminal law, and traffic law.  Her website is
Andrea graduated from law school in 2005.  Instead of jumping right into law, she spent a year teaching English in Seoul, Republic of Korea (South Korea).  She was actually sworn in to be an Ohio attorney while in Korea!  

She returned to the states in 2006 and began working as public defender and as a solo practitioner doing bankruptcy and other civil matters.  She can assist clients under Chapter 7 and under Chapter 13 (both forms of consumer bankruptcy).  By practicing independently, Andrea is able to provide more personalized and attentive service to her clients. 

Andrea has been married to Peter for six years and they have a son and a daughter.  They are expecting a third child in June, 2017.  Her interests include walking the dogs with her husband.  Someday, she would love to get back into running.

The best part of CN for Andrea was that the class taught her about promoting herself, efficiently identifying referral partners, and focusing on her target market.  The lessons she learned in the CN class have helped Andrea make her marketing efforts more productive.  Andrea is also a member of So Now and was lucky enough to receive the 2016 Women in Business Award.

Andrea really enjoys helping people make it through financial challenges and she has found financial planners and other attorney to be good referral partners.  

Andi, as she is known, has a winning smile and caring way about her.  If you can fit into her busy schedule, find time to see what she is all about!


CN Horn Tooting


KC Allen recently added to his Allen Film & Video workload, by taking on a free-lance position as a writer and photo editor for the Archery Trade Association!  KC is an award-winning competitive archer as well as an outdoor photographer and video documentarian.

In her newer position at Sheakley, Angela Crosby is specializing in helping new start-ups, to assure they have the proper workers' compensation coverage.  She can be reached at 567-203-4467.

Love Legacy owner, Beth Boehr’s second book, Love Legacy Letter, is now available on Amazon for purchase! Beth says that it's been a journey but she is thankful for several CN grads that have contributed to this accomplishment!  Go to to find out more about this achievement.

Laura Osborne, of Laura's Framing Place, has been voted the Best Professional Framer of 2016 in the Toledo City Paper.  The last time the category was included was 2009, and Laura was voted best that year, too.  The paper with all the Best of Toledo winners came out February 22, 2017.

David Bodner Mass Mutual Financial Group, enrolled in the US Masters Swim course for his second season. He is learning techniques most important 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, Northwest State/Custom Training Solutions  shares 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 rograms 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 indicates that Northwest State/Custom Training Solutions is proud to be an educational partner in this initiative.  They are 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. This year Marbee has already reached the annual sales goal which Randy had set for the business.  They would like to thank to all their network partners for helping them achieve these goals.

Debby Peters, Connext Nation, was the proud recipient of the 2016 Outstanding New Member Award for 2016 by the Rocky River Chamber of Commerce.  This award recognizes members who joined within the past three years who have been very supportive and active in the chamber. 

Carrie Hoover, Lyndall Insurance, received the 2016 Most Active Member award for the Rocky River Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber staff tracks attendance at Chamber events and Carrie attended 14 events in 2016, more than any other member who is not on the Board. Carrie is on the membership committee and was recently appointed to serve on the Board.
Casting Wider Than You Thought
by Greg Peters,
For about two years, I’ve been focused on the Credit Union industry as the target market for my company, The Reluctant Networker. I’ve been developing specific products to fit their needs and I’ve been calling on my contacts in the industry to get their advice on how I can better serve them. I’ve even reached out to decision makers at various institutions to interview them to find out how they use networking in running their organization. With this latter effort, I turn around and write up an executive profile that I post on my blog and social media. I also send it to the interviewee to do with as they please. 

I’ve begun to see some minor success in this area. Here’s the funny thing, though. In pursuing my target market, I’m also becoming known in some associated markets. One of my executives posted her profile to LinkedIn where one of her contacts, an officer at one of the Chambers of Commerce to which her credit union belongs, read the article. She thought her Chamber members would benefit from hearing these same ideas. 

Shortly after that, an association of financial professionals in the healthcare industry also contacted me to speak at their fall conference. Guess where they heard about me? Yep, that same executive profile. 

It’s funny how when we talk about dedicating ourselves to focusing on a single narrow target market, we feel a lot of resistance. It feels like we’re giving up on so many opportunities. The irony is, by the very pursuit of that market, we become known to a much larger audience -- an audience which might come calling, hoping to buy. 

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with credit unions, financial industry professionals, and associations to create a world of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at or

 Part 2,The Award for the Most Important Aspect of Networking Goes to…
By Chris Kapelski,

 In the January issue of this newsletter, Chris Kapelski, wrote about following up after an event where you received some good leads.  We talked about why follow up is important (to help them remember you) and specifically noted emailing and phoning as two methods we might use for this.  Now we’re going to look a bit more in detail at how we can use technology to do the same.

Connect on LinkedIn
It’s no secret that LinkedIn has become the social network of the business professional. This should not be taken lightly. If you’re unfamiliar with how LinkedIn works, here is some help.
•    Choose Wisely. You don’t want to send an invite to connect for every person      of the business card you collected, however, you do want to connect with    
     those people that were good leads. 
•    Help them remember you. When sending the invite, keep it short and        
     sweet. Include where you met them and the reason for your follow up. For        example, “It was a pleasure talking to you at the XYZ event. I’d like to
     continue our conversation about the partnership we had discussed.”

Update your Online Presence
When you pass out your business card, you have just provided the receiving individual with a wealth of opportunity. Between an email address, phone number, website URL, and maybe even your social media accounts you have given them a ton of avenues to follow up with you. No matter which one they decide to choose, you better be prepared. As soon as you return from the event (and probably even before you get back) you should be updating your website with an article or a new slider graphic and adding relevant posts to your social media pages talking about how exciting the event was. You could even mention one or two of the companies you met in your posts. Having your presence ready to go when your contacts decide to follow up will not only show them that you were prepared but that you truly cared about the event as well.

So now that we are fully prepared to follow up after an event, begin looking at your calendar to see what settings you will be in during the next couple weeks.  Plan ahead for the ways and methods you will use to connect with these very important people so that each event provides a level of success that you had hoped for.

Ways to Generate More Referrals from Your Chamber Membership
by Jason Madasz,

A few weeks ago I was approached by a gentleman named Tom who was a bit frustrated with his results in generating referrals.  I asked him all of the typical questions.  What’s your target market?  What are you trying to accomplish?  What type of networking are you doing?  His answers to the first couple questions were vague at best, which is normal for someone just starting off, but he was able to share that he had joined the chamber a couple months earlier.  Unfortunately, his expectations of joining the chamber weren’t quite lining up with reality.

Tom’s experience with the chamber isn’t unique.  And it has nothing to do with the chamber.  A chamber of commerce can be a terrific place to network, but only if you know what you’re doing.  So, how many of you reading this would like to generate more business from your chamber membership?  As with any business networking, I have found that there are a few helpful techniques that can help you to get the job done while attending chamber events.

1: Participate:
OK, this first one may be a gimmee for some of you.  But, if you are currently sitting in your office having lunch while your local chamber meeting is going on, this one is for you!  This may sound like common sense, but there isn’t a chamber in the nation that wouldn’t like to get more of their members involved.  Think about how powerful these events would be if ALL members attended the activities!  But I’m not just talking about showing up.  If it was that easy, there would be 1000 people at every chamber lunch, and everyone would all be rolling in referrals!

To elaborate, when I say Participate, I don’t mean just show up, talk to your buddy for 3 minutes while in line to grab your food and then sit down.  I mean GET INVOLVED!  Talk to someone you don’t know.  Actively try to develop new relationships.  Participation is all about building visibility in your network.  If you aren’t seen, then it makes it extremely difficult for the members to build a trusting relationship with you.  Most chambers give you a TON of ways to participate, from commercials and table displays, to flyers and networking opportunities.  Start using them!

There are four more helpful ways the Jason suggests for gaining more from your membership.  To read them go to

Oh, Come On! 
by: Debby Peters,

A few weeks ago a networking friend gave me the name of a person he had chatted with.  Evidently in the conversation, Connext Nation was mentioned and this person was very interested in finding out more.  So my contact sent me an email with this new person’s phone and email address asking me to call.  I did so and chatted very briefly to this person as he was going into a meeting.  He said, “I really want to talk with you and I will text you some dates to meet in just a little while.”  Days went by with no text.  I know how that can happen when life happens and it takes your brain in a new direction!  Knowing that, I reached out again and left a voice mail message.  Still nothing came back….until I opened my LinkedIn profile about a week later.  Sure enough there was an invitation to link with this person, one that I have yet to meet.  Now I tell you, I don’t link with people I have not met.  

I sent a reply to this request saying that very thing and that why didn’t we meet for coffee so that we could link in the future.  So far, dead silence.

The point I am making is that relationships, ones that are helpful and powerful, don’t happen (at least in my world) unless there is a meeting of the minds.  Now I know that we are in the age of NOT meeting, but I’m sorry, I’m old school.  My phone just can’t take my place when it comes to finding out how and if I can help someone in the future.  I’d like to get to know you.

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