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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Celebrating Our 17th Year of Helping Our Grads to REALLY Connect!

Annual Summer Picnic
Summer would not be complete without the CN summer picnic at Debby and Steve’s home.  Who will win the heavily contested dessert contest this year????  The date is August 5, from 2-5 PM.  The cost to attend is $6 for adults and $2 for kids.  We always have plenty of food in addition to the above mentioned desserts.  Water and lemonade are available; please bring whatever else you would like to drink.  Debby and Steve live about 4 miles south of Perrysburg (only about 10 minutes from the turnpike exit for those coming from Cleveland) and offer plenty of activities for everyone including:  swimming, wading, jumping of the dock, fishing (catch & release, bring your own gear), kayaking, canoeing, and just walking around taking a peek at all that might be growing.  Of course chatting with your CN friends is always an option.  Please register no later than July 25th at this link.

Future Calendar Dates

The BOA has several events planned for the rest of the year! The dates and types of events are listed below so that you can get them on your calendar.  Guests are always welcome at all our events.

Aug 5th      Annual Summer Picnic at Debby’s home
Sept ?         Toledo lunch, perhaps downtown location
Sept 7         Toledo class starts
Sept 12       Cleveland class starts
Oct 20th     Corn Maize
Nov 19th,   Graduation, 5:30 PM

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.  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:

Amanda Held
by Kevin Webb,

Amanda Held of Grand Rapids, Ohio is married to Justin, has two children, Joelle and Trenton, puppy Frankie, and several horses.  Amanda entered the United States’ Air Force in 1999 and transitioned to the Air National Guard in 2006.  She remains active with the Air National Guard today.  Aside from being a veteran, she is also an equine specialist and facilitator.  Her passions include spending time with her family and traveling to teach coping skills to deal with PTSD.  H.O.O.V.E.S. and helping others is a HUGE passion!  

Amanda is the owner of Riverbend Equine, home of the H.O.O.V.E.S. program in Whitehouse, Ohio and she is seriously passionate about helping fellow veterans.  She prefers we recognize “H.O.O.V.E.S.” over Riverbend Equine.  Amanda founded Healing Of Our Veterans Equine Services in 2011 to provide support and to teach coping mechanisms to veterans, and others, who have had some form of traumatic stress in their lives.  Amanda, a technical sergeant in the United States Air National Guard, has experienced forms of PTSD herself and understands that this condition, and the manner in which it is treated is different for everyone.  Amanda’s primary purpose is to serve the United States’ veteran by providing her services and attendance to her workshop for no charge – ever.  In her words, “if you raised your right hand while swearing to an oath for this country, you deserve help even if dishonorably discharged.”  Amanda is quick to point out that dishonorable discharges are often the aftermath of some traumatic event in the veteran’s past.  She is not here to judge why you received one type of discharge over the other – if you are a veteran and need help, she is here for you!  Amanda also helps non-veterans, for a nominal fee, who also have some form of PTSD. This could stem from any major life event such as domestic violence.   

Suicide rates, social isolation, and substance abuse are on the rise, especially for veterans.  Amanda is giving all she can to control the numbers locally.  She has been documenting program participation and its correlation with substance abuse and isolation numbers.  After providing the tools to her clients to help them connect their head with their heart, she has seen a 99% reduction in social isolation and a 70% reduction in substance abuse.  Graduation from the workshop is not the end!  To help maintain these awesome results, graduates gather monthly to do community service projects.  Her group will soon be building an access ramp for someone in need and they just fed the hungry after making over 350 sandwiches!  Monthly events such as this are a key component in continued success of the graduates and a way to pay back the community who is supporting the H.O.O.V.E.S. mission.      

H.O.O.V.E.S. is a 501(c)(3) organization and relies on donations to operate.  Today, 90% of the funding comes from other military organizations such as the American Legion, VFW, and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. You may learn more about Amanda and this wonderful organization by visiting 


CN Horn Tooting


 Recruiting videos are really popular right now as the economy keeps adding new jobs in manufacturing and logistics, and CNer KC Allen is excited to announce that Allen Film & Video of Findlay, Ohio, has completed 8 worker recruitment videos for Midway Products, and was awarded a contract for videos aimed at attracting new employees to Garner Trucking in Findlay. (

Liz Thees, The Pinnacle, is excited to announce that we will once again be the official caterer and concessionaire for the 2018 Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and Owens-Illinois! The golf tournament takes place from July 9-15 at the Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania. We can't wait to see everyone on the course! 

Jeff LaCourse, recently completed training and certification for a program that allows him to help business owners reduce the future tax liability on their retirement funds.  Jeff is ready to help! 

Kerri Brimmer of Brimming Design has just launched a new website for the Arrowhead Park Association which utilizes a Google directory. The goal is to assist Arrowhead Park businesses to network more and increase membership in the business park association. Take a look! 

Debby Peters, along with Greg Peters, TriNet360, is attending the National Speaker’s Association Annual  Conference in Dallas, Texas.  

Sarah Krafty of Krafty Travel is proud to have been selected as the next president for Westgate Toastmasters Club.  The club meets Friday mornings at 7am at West Park Place.  Come join us to improve your speaking skills! 

Chris Watson reports that has added a new feature, the Area Job Board.  It is free to job seekers and is easy for employers to post a job using a simple contact form.  If you want to know more contact Chris at
Don't NetWORK Too Hard
by Chris Kapelski,

This is a follow up to last month’s article “You Should Network … More”. ( If you haven’t read it, I strongly encourage you to. It discusses some of the traps we fall into and the opportunities we miss when we get caught up in technology and forget to network offline.
There is another trap business owners, especially new business owners, often fall into and the results can be much worse. Unfortunately, just like the last article, this was a lesson I learned on the battlefield of business and it almost cost me big time.
The Trap
As I mentioned in the last article, my business initially operated almost exclusively online with clients across the United States. Then one day after a significant loss of business, (that’s a story for another time), I decided we had to step out into the local marketplace and start acquiring clients in the area. That’s when it happened. I fell into one of the biggest traps of networking. I tried to do too much. I went out and joined multiple chambers, business organizations, started volunteering, and attended a ton of social events. I started netWORKING too hard.
The Problem
What I didn’t realize at the time was by doing too much and trying to be everything to everyone, I was accomplishing the exact opposite. You see, I couldn’t attend enough events at any one chamber or organization to be memorable. At the time I thought, “No problem. I can make myself memorable by volunteering to help whenever one of my organizations asks for assistance.” But that only compounded my problem. Eventually I realized that only attending every 4-6 months was keeping me from building strong relationships, and worse, by over committing myself through volunteering, I almost ruined my reputation altogether. Simply put, I had too many irons in the fire.
My Dose of Reality
After about a year of very little progress I was getting burnt out. One day a friend of mine asked if everything was okay. I said, “Of course! Why do you ask?” Initially I didn’t know why he was asking, I was so zoned in to what I was working on I was missing the bigger picture. As good friends do he gave me a dose of reality. He told me that I was noticeably more tired, less organized, and I had pushed a couple deadlines on projects back. All of which to him were very uncharacteristic of my actions just a year prior. That ended up being the conversation that flipped the switch.
My Solution
Being in the website design and marketing world, we do a lot of planning. I decided I needed to make a plan and get control of my problem. I picked a day and put it on my schedule. I sat down and mapped out every organization I was in, how much progress I felt I had made toward my goal, outstanding tasks I committed to, and all the other relevant details. By the time I was done the list was startling. It quickly became clear, I needed to wrap up my commitments and narrow my focus to just a couple organizations. So that’s exactly what I did, and the results were amazing. Within the next 6 months I was able to attend events much more consistently. People got to know me, trust me, and even started referring some business. While I wasn’t committing to help every time they asked, I was able to do a much better job when I did volunteer, and it was noticed. By narrowing my focus and netWORKING less, I was able to make a bigger impact on the organizations I was a part of and move toward my goals quicker.
While this is a trap that most business owners fall into early on, it can really happen at any stage of your business life. Let this article be your friend that provides the dose of reality and take a moment and think. Are you netWORKing too hard? 

"One Size Never Fits All"-My Way of Defining in Networking
by Nina Corder,

 According to Ivan Misner, “if you wish to build a powerful personal network, branch out. Build a diverse network of professional contacts that includes people that don't look like you, sound like you, speak like you or have background, education or history like you”.
Like Ivan, I also believe diversity is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do when it comes to networking. Being a part of diversity networking is one thing, and to be a diverse networker is totally opposite. We know it is human nature to congregate with people who are very much like us and it is necessary to work toward sameness for social competency. But how do we do it? How do we create or be part of a network that is diverse AND be a successful networker?
I was actively joining all types of associations, organizations, groups, agencies and clubs, to prove that I was not just a successful networker but also added diversity to my networking efforts. Fortunately, because of my own demographic identity; I also helped enhance diversity to many organization cultures. Then, while networking I discovered a new experience- Inclusion. According to the dictionary, Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. The keywords here- fully participate. It’s important to note that while an inclusive group is by definition diverse, a diverse group isn’t always inclusive.
Diversity advocate Vernā Myers puts it, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Think about that for a minute….
Hence, I learned that it is important to not just participate in any group, even the group that allows diverse individuals to participate. Challenge yourself to want to be part of a diverse, united, inclusive group where you feel welcomed and that embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for connection. I believe, that is what makes all of us a true diverse networker.
The steps needed to embrace successful Diversity in Networking are to turn diversity – into inclusion and to fully participate – into a valuable long-lasting connection.

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