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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Announcement! 2015 Lunch Kickoff
The first lunch of the year will be January 19 at Smokey Bones Restaurant on Dussel in Maumee.  The time is 11:30 am – 1 pm.  Bring $13 in cash or a check made out to CNP of Ohio,Ltd.  Connect with other grads, answer the question of the month and also have a chance to win a door prize.


Board News  

By Debby Peters,

We would like to thank Lynne Calvelage, Coffee Amici, for her service on the Findlay BOA.  She has met her obligation and has decided that she wants to make room for someone else to join the board.  Lynne always had creative ideas AND was very insightful about how to get new students to come to the CN Mini classes.  Thank you, Lynne!

Chris Kapelski, IDS, has agreed to join the BOA in Toledo.  Chris will bring his acumen of website development and management to the board.  Welcome Chris.


Member News of Note

By Debby Peters,

CN grad, George Evanoff, died of brain cancer after having entered hospice.  He was the stepfather of another CN grad, Annie Kim.  George was one of the "nice guys".  We will miss him in this world.

Linda Parker, Re/Max Preferred, was involved in a very serious auto accident where she experienced many broken bones.  She has been moved from the hospital to Manor at Perrysburg to continue her rehabilitation.  


Member Spotlight:

Jennifer Alford
Creative Financial Partners
 By Debby Peters,

When I first met Jennifer Alford, she was this very energetic young woman, working at Savage & Associates where she had been since high school.  I observed her laughing and just cutting up and having fun.  Fast forward to today and she’s not much different in her personality, but wow, she has accomplished so much.

Jennifer’s upbringing was a little unorthodox.  Her mom would put her to bed at a normal 9 pm and Jenn shared, “Then my dad would wake me up a couple hours later and we would play Parcheesi and eat fried bologna sandwiches.”  He also taught her the skill of knife-throwing and gave her first knives to her when she was 13.  And she says, “My mom was definitely not happy when he also gave me nunchucks.  I was popular because no other kid had them.”

She's a partner at Creative Financial Partners, which will celebrate their 10th anniversary in business this year.  They also have owned their building since February of 2005.  Jennifer explains, “We certainly knew our business would grow, but we thought we would have an office full of other financial planners.  Instead we now have both an attorney and a CPA in-house.  It is so great when I can just walk a client down the hall to get his or her taxes done.”

She is very involved with N.A.I.F.A, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers, serving this year as the state president.  When asked if she wanted to take her leadership to the national level, she explained that getting to state president had taken twelve years.  The next step would be a national trustee, which probably would take 5-7 years and she is not sure she wants the rigors of actually campaigning for the office. One thing that does excite her is that her mentor in N.A.I.F.A. is the first ever female national president.

For many years Jennifer was very active in WEN and then had stepped away, but last year she decided that it was time for her to get back to this wonderful women's organization.  She will serve her second year as president of the board.  She is very proud of the progress WEN made this year, with growth in membership and more than tripling their partner sponsorships.  She also mentioned that when Alicia Wagner decided to resign as Executive Director, it was most amazing to have the opportunity to bring Linda Everhardt Kardux back to that position. 

Jenn did get the opportunity to teach courses for the financial industry at the American College in Washington D.C. We also were lucky enough to have Jennifer teach the CN course for a number of years.  She liked her stint with CN better because it was so much fun and she could be creative in the way she taught.  She also loved seeing the very quiet reserved person come into class and watch them develop into a very talkative, involved student.  She also liked that CN classes were small and that there was a constant flow of new people.

One interesting fact about Jennifer is that she doesn’t decorate her home for Christmas.  She says, “There is a place for everything and I just don’t think a Christmas tree belongs in my home.”  Her assistant was brave enough to decorate her office one year and Jenn said, “I almost fired her!”  

Looking forward, Jennifer is looking into taking a culinary class and her big project is to get her partners to agree that they need an office in Fort Myers, Florida.  She says, “I think we just need to buy a condo down there!”  But in the meantime, we probably should establish an office in Columbus because we all make so many trips there per month.  Also, the digital magazine, The Sales Purse, that Rebecca Booth and Jenn launched last year, will get help from a social media campaign this year.  “We have put out ten issues, so we have production and distribution figured out, but we have now bought someone on to help us get the word out better about it.”     
No matter what challenge Jenn takes on, I have no doubt that she will be successful and have fun doing it.  You can meet her at a WEN meeting or if you’re lucky she might be able to carve out some time to meet you for a 1-to-1.

CN Horn Tooting


Crystal Jordan, N.O.I.C.,received the 2014 Affiliate of The Year award from the Toledo Board of Realtors at their awards ceremony.  This is only the second time this award has been given away.  Owner, Mark Vinceguerra and CFO, Rex Culver were hiding in the audience to surprise her.  Also in attendance were N.O.I.C. Rudy Ondrus, Sales Manager, Chad Gensler, Cheryl Carroll and CNer, Shannon Henegar, all part of the sales team. 
David Bodner, Mass Mutual Financial Group, is a mover (and a shaker)!  He has been invited to participate in the 2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship in  Milwaukee. He qualified by coming in the top 10% of participants in the 2014 Sylvania Triathlon.  Swim, bike, run!
Kim Cragel, Wellness Fix, reports that she finished her first class toward her Masters in Sport Psychology, Ethical Practices & Issues, with an A+.
Tami Norris, Custom Training Solutions, was recently interviewed for a segment on WTOL Channel 11.  She was interviewed about Decoy Apps on kids' cell phones.  The interview appeared on the 6 & 11 pm news on November 24.

We Do Graduation up Right!

You can always depend on the end of a class series to bring a night of fun at the Maumee Indoor Theater, which is where our graduations take place.  With just one class, we had plenty of seating for our guests AND plenty of food and BEER! (We do have other beverages, too!)

Jason Madasz, BNI and CN trainer, was the leader for this class.  He chose Deb Olejownik, DJC Consulting, as his graduate assistant. 

Tony Szczechowski, ProEdge Lawn Care, Ltd. said, "Connext Nation has taught me a great number of things that help me with my BNI membership.  Going in to the CN class, I did not have a real sense of who my ideal client was.  I now know who they are and it is very powerful to have my weekly presentation planned out with specific referral requests instead of asking for "anybody you know." 
Leslie Moore, BodyWorks Wellness Studio said, “Connext Nation was different from what I expected because of how it helped me personally relate to my business above and beyond what I offer to my clients.  This has really put me on a path to understanding not only what I do, but why I do it and what separates me from every other massage therapist.  Additionally, it taught me how to build referral relationships that will be everlasting.  Personal referrals are the best business builders and I now truly understand how to build my business more efficiently and cost-effectively on referrals alone!”

The MVP of the class was Andy Sprenger, The Safety Guy, the student who showed the most growth in the ten weeks of the course.  We gave his favorite charity, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, a check in his honor.  He shared that he named this as his favorite charity because his wife has both conditions (which is rare) and that she almost died from complications a year ago.  He said, “Anything I can do to help eradicate these diseases would make me happy.”

 Those joining the CN community as official members are:  Shelley Foos, Consider it Done, Chris Kapelski, Interactive Design Solutions, Leslie Moore, BodyWorks Wellness Studio, Binger Show, Re/Max Preferred, Andy Sprenger, The Safety Guy and Tony Szczechowski, ProEdge Lawn Care, Ltd.

Additionally, Nick Nigro, at Davis College had a referral-based class graduate the week before.  Nick said that this was his best class ever.  Whitney Higgins, Sharon Stone, Amy Crapes and Chelsea McCauley (Fitts) helped to bring the numbers of grads in the CN community to 728.  Just think of the opportunity that these grads provide to each other not only with direct connections, but also with connections into their personal networks.

 For all our graduates, what is wonderful is that this is not an ending but a beginning of changing the way they do business!

What is Connext Nation???
Debby Peters, Connext Nation,

The above question was asked as a result of Debby hearing several people say, “I haven’t gotten any business from CN.”  That grabbed her attention not because of the lack of business but because of the concept.  Debby was worried that people were getting CN’s mission mixed with BNI’s mission.  Our goal is NOT to give our members referrals (like BNI) but to provide them tools for them to do so.  We are an empowerment organization.
Debby thought you might be interested to hear what your Board of Action has to say about the matter.  But first, here is the Mission Statement of CN:
“We want to give our community members the confidence to gain their next referral that then helps them to earn more money, feel more secure and find more happiness.”
Here are some thoughts from the BOA:
Connext Nation is:
  • A community of professionals that support each other after having learned what networking is.
  • A college-like institution that is phenomenal.  The alumni know how to network and especially to do one-to-ones.
  • A secret-society! The members are close-knit, but they reach out to others to help.
  • A business catalyst, where class teaches you what to do and the community events teach you how to do it.
  • The user manual for networking.
  • A business game-changer.
You probably have your own definition.  Go to Connext Nation’s Facebook page and all posts or comments dated by January 15 will go into a drawing for a Panera gift card.  The link to our FB is here.

Looking for Lunch???

Want to get lunch dates on your calendar?  Here is what the BOA has scheduled in the Toledo area for 2015.
  • January 16, regular lunch
  • February 18, regular lunch
  • March, date TBD, After-hours social
  • April, date TBD, Morning event
  • May 18, Fantastic Four lunch, earlier start time of 11 am
  • June, date TBD, After hours social
  • July 20 regular lunch
  • August, date TBD, summer picnic
  • September, date TBD, morning event
  • October 19, Fantastic Four lunch, earlier start time of 11am
  • November, date TBD, After hours social
  • December, date TBD, Morning event.
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