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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

April is NOT a lunch month, but instead, a breakfast that Mary Bryant, Melaleuca is chairing.  We will be meeting at Pam’s Corner on April 14, from 7:30-8:45 AM where you will be able to purchase the breakfast of your choice.  Instead of one speaker, this time we are going to have a panel of three:  Debra Greeley Gorman, The Chocolate Shoppe, Jason Madasz, BNI and Tony Szczechowski, ProEdge Lawn Care, Ltd., who will answer questions posed by both the BOA, CN Facebook followers and the audience that morning.  All three of these CN grads have transitioned their business in some way and we will want to hear the reasoning and planning behind this transition.  We can all benefit from their knowledge because our businesses or careers are always in transition.  Again, guests are welcome at this event.  Ellen Critchley Pittman, The Toledo Symphony, is the sponsor of the event.  We will use her money to purchase a cool door prize!
Because we want to support our friend’s from WEN, we have changed our lunch in May to May 4.  That is two weeks earlier than normal so please change your calendars right now.  We will still be at Smokey Bones in Maumee and the time will be 11:30am – 1 pm. 
WEN is having a special lunch on our regular date.  Hazel Walker, will be back for an encore presentation as the keynote speaker.  For registration information call Linda Everhardt Kardux at 419-578-2661.  The date of the lunch is May 18 from 11am-1pm at the Pinnacle.

Along with Facebook we are also active on Linkedin.  Over 1800 people saw a recent post about our networking lunch!
Again, we would like to thank Chris Kapelski, Interactive Design Solutions, for updating the CN website.  It is easier to navigate and just has a more up-to-date feel.


Member Spotlight:

Hilary Hinz, 
Decorating Den Interiors,

by Barb Wilson, SM3,


If you have not had the chance to sit and chat with Hilary Hinz, owner of Decorating Den Interiors, you are missing out on a wonderful time! Hilary is a graduate of Anthony Wayne High School and attended BGSU majoring in interior design. When asked why she chose that major, Hilary said, “As a kid I always liked to rearrange my bedroom at least once per month and it had to be perfect.  I also, had to have my desk at school be just right and the other kids made fun of me because of it.  But I didn’t care.”  Hilary also liked singing and considered that as a college focus, but realized that interior design would have so much more opportunity.  She says, “And I am shy, so probably getting to sing professionally, would have been difficult for me.”
She also shares that college was not what she expected.  “I think when students go into design, they, just like I did, expect to focus on the design part.  Actually the first two years are spent on courses such as architecture, electrical, lighting and elevations.  I even had a class on lettering so that my titles on the plans I drew up would be perfect.”  Hilary adds, “By our senior year, I was glad that computers completed that task because I wasn’t very good at it.”  What she did find out was that interior design involved a lot of math and it was another subject that she was good in.

Upon graduation, Hilary was grateful for the chance to work at a local furniture store in Grand Rapids where she was able to further develop her design and business skills. As the store prepared to close, Hilary began looking for her next career move when she came across the chance of a life time to become a small business owner under the Decorating Den Franchise.  She was attached to a local master franchise owner, with the company name of LIVV.  Again, when that organization unexpectedly closed, Hilary had to make some quick decisions about her business.  She had to change to the Decorating Den name, purchase a different car that fit the franchise requirements, find space for her office and showroom and generally do all the things we all have done as we’ve started our businesses.   Because Hilary enjoys space planning and creating solutions and functionality for various spaces, she was able to easily do it for herself. She is excited to be approaching her 4th business anniversary and is looking forward to what the future holds. She says, “Within two years I would like to have three other designers working for me, so that if I need to step away for a day or so, the business will still continue.”

Very competitive, in her spare time, Hilary loves to play softball, volleyball and sings when she can. Several years ago, she and her husband, Nate, showed her BNI chapter the “stuff” they were made of at a chapter bowling outing.  No one came close to their scores!  She has a sister who now lives in Texas, but has not yet visited her there because she doesn’t really like traveling.  “She offers, “I always miss the dogs too much!”  She does enjoy local trips, such as staying at a cottage in Michigan.  Decorating Den has an annual conference and she does enjoy that because of seeing and talking with all the other people in the industry.  She does go to the Furniture Mart yearly, but she says that it is an exhausting trip.

This coming June, Hilary and her husband are looking forward to welcoming their first child and are anxious to see how their dogs, Bandit and Cody, take to having to share mommy and daddy. Hilary hopes to one day design and build a home for her own family!

Hilary is full of excitement and enthusiasm to help those around her and it was a joy to get to know her better. 


CN Horn Tooting


Pam Weirauch, Pam’s Corner, has announced new hours at the restaurant.  She now is open Monday and Saturday mornings from 10am-noon and Tuesday through Thursday 8am – noon.  Her lunch hours are 11am – 2 pm.  Great place for one-to-one meetings both morning and lunchtime.
Ellen Critchley Pittman, the Toledo Symphony Group Experience Lady, is the tour director for the TSO-sponsored trip to Chautauqua, July 27-30 -- her sixth time to do this for friends of TSO.  In the first week of March there were already 32 people on board.  The excursion to this place of education, entertainment, empowerment and inspiration is a very special Group Experience.
Joe Fath and Bill McConnell, Dunright Building Services, would like to toot their horn.  They just received Angie's List Super Service Award for 2014. This is an honor held for the top 5% of their categories.
Deb Olejownik of DJC Core Consulting, LLC has been busy.  She is a new member of BNI, Partners for Success, as a Stress Management Consultant. In addition, Deb competed in the Toastmasters Area 3, District Level, International Speech Contest, March 16, 2015.  Furthermore, DJC is also working on a three-day training for Bethany House and their collective collaborates for December 2015. 
Jenn Wenzke with So Now Coaching is excited to announce that her Leadership Coaching Course kicked off in March. Part of the training process will include certifying individuals to be So Now branded coaches.
David Bodner, Mass Mutual Financial Group, has accepted a Board position at the Chinese Association of Greater Toledo (CAGT). As many of you might guess, David has no Chinese background.  Why serve the CAGT?  Well, David has developed a number of Chinese American clients and this is a good way to meet and help more people in that community.
Karla Lewis, Southwestern Consulting Sales Coach and Trainer won the Area Toastmasters International Speech contest and will now be participating in the Division Contest on April 11th. Her speech is titled "Work While You Wait" and she is looking for groups and organizations to deliver this speech to as she practices for the next level of the contest. 
Kym Cragel, Wellness Fix, just finished psychopathology with a 97%, on her way to a Master's in sports psychology. 
Mary Nyitray and staff at Optical Arts are pleased to announce that they were voted "Best Eyewear" by the Toledo City Paper for the 8th year in a row. 
Mark Urrutia, Catholic Order of Foresters, Skyway Financial Group, has earned his FICF (Fraternal Insurance Counselor Fellow) designation from the Fraternal Field Managers' Association.  
Barry VanHoozen, State Farm, is celebrating 25 years of being a State Farm agent.
Joe Francis, announces lots of new features for Data Service Center.  The are now selling a fully integrated time and attendance system with their payroll system.  They offer magstripe readers, proximity readers, and biometric clocks.  "We also have an app for employees who travel to punch in and out using their smart phones."
Laura Wilson, Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A., has been elected as the new Chair for the Lucas County Children Service's Board!  She is very excited for this opportunity. 


Assistants are the Best! 

by Debby Peters, Connext Nation,

A friend of mine helps her friends and family members in a very special way.  She becomes their assistant for the day!  Yep, you got it.  If the friend needs an upgrade at a hotel, this very efficient assistant of Ms.________ calls and explains that she needs the help of the person at the other end of the line to keep Ms.________ happy.  She uses a very professional, yet friendly approach.  She is successful 100% of the time!
The above got me to thinking about referral partners or teammates as we now call them in CN.  Basically, they make the call to get you the upgrade (which in our world is an introduction or presentation.).  They curry the favor of your target by asking for the prospect’s help in making you happy!  Good assistants are not to be ignored.  They can make or break your day.
What assistants do you have and how have you rewarded them recently?

BNI Sponsored Mini Course!

Taking a step in a new direction, Jason Madasz, Executive Director of BNI of Northwest Ohio, has announced that he will be sponsoring a CN Mini Course at the BNI training room on June 3, from 11 am – 1 pm.  This is a very special endeavor, because it will be limited to BNI members AND additionally, Pam Weirauch of Pam’s Corner will be sponsoring lunch that day.  The usual course fee of $25 has been reduced to only $5 for this session, a real benefit for BNI members.  We can only take 20 members, so don’t miss out by waiting too long.  Spread this info to your chapters because it will help your business if your members are better educated.



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