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Member Spotlight:

Susi Lehtomaa

By David Trisel, Graf-X-Cape 

It is my pleasure to introduce to you my friend, Susi Lehtomaa - partner and spouse of Steve, co-owner of Lehtomaa Funeral Home and Director of Sales at Sunrise Assisted Living.
I told Susi that I was excited to write about her because she went out and became a part of her family business' contact sphere!

Susi Lehtomaa and her husband Steve moved into Findlay in December of 2011, from Napoleon, OH when they purchased their very own funeral home.
It had been closed for some time, so there was no current clientele. They were moving into a market that had 3 other funeral homes already in operation. Two of the competition have longtime family connections in the town and are very well established.  They knew they had a marketing challenge on their hands!

The family joined the Findlay • Hancock County Chamber of Commerce before they had finished unpacking. Once a member, Susi quickly became an Ambassador.  At her very first ribbon-cutting function in this new role she was introduced to Debby Peters. By March she was enrolled in the next class of Referral Pursuit.
Susi was diving head first into the community, and that was part of the plan. But taking a referral marketing class? She still had some explaining to do to Steve.  You see, Susi TAUGHT sales training in her roles with Dillard's and Ford. She can still remember getting excited about the diagram that Debby draws during the preview of a circle with 4 people that have given you referrals. Then you figure out how many more people each of them know and could refer. She told Steve to trust her, and she loved the class.
Through the course of Connext Nation, Susi figured out that her sales training had been about selling more to the customers that were there - not finding them in the first place.  She coached her team to sell to the customers that were already in her store.  No one "window shops" a funeral home. There is no way to turn a "just looking" response into a sale if they aren't in your showroom.
CNers get involved!  Susi joined Rotary, Lion's Club, and the marketing committee for the Alzheimer's Association. She now sits on the board for both Zonta and Hancock County Agency on Aging, and just recently graduated from the Hancock Leadership program. All of this was new to her. Prior jobs and family responsibilities had kept her out of many civic groups.
It was through her efforts marketing the Alzheimer's Association Walk and soliciting for the prize baskets that she caught the eye of Charlie Stoner, Executive Director of Sunrise Assisted Living. He had to have this bundle of energy on his team. "But I'm not looking for a job," replied Susi. And that was before he found out that she had background as an RN! He pursued it farther, and she insisted that she needed to help establish the new family business.
And then the light came on. Contact Sphere. She should get to know all of the area skilled care providers, nursing homes and assisted living facilities to grow the market share for Lehtomaa Funeral Home. How much easier would that be from the inside?
And that is when all CNers should giggle and clap their hands.  I know I did.
The story progresses a little beyond that.  Since her appointment as DOS at Sunrise, her own father has come to the point in his life where he needed a facility like Sunrise. Now Susi knows first hand what a family goes through to make the decision to place a loved one - and the 100s more decisions that come from closing the house, moving accounts, power of attorney and more.  More and more she feels like ALL of this is the path she was meant to take. She has a father who was living in Toledo that she now gets to see every day of the week.  Do you need more proof than that?

David Trisel is the owner and lead creative of graf-X-cape.

CN Horn Tooting


Chad Gensler, NOIC, has been on Channel 11 news for a As Seen on TV segment.  He was the tester for the Potato Express.  The website to check it out is
Deb Olejownik, DJC Consulting, was a Conference Ambassador for the District 28 Toastmasters Spring Conference - Reaching Beyond Your Goals, April 25-26, 2014 at the Westin Hotel in Southfield, MI.
Leasa Lee, has accepted the position of Director of Marketing with Bowling Green-based CMC Group, which includes Century Label, DayMark Safety and DayMark (United Kingdom). The CMC Group of companies provide packaging labels as well as safety products and systems to the food industry, primarily.  Leasa’s new contact info is 419-806-9648 (cell) and
Karla Lewis once again has achieved the Fast Start ADN Super Fast start award for Campaign 2 with Southwestern Consulting. This is achieved by setting and running 15 workshops in the first 4 weeks of the campaign. Not an easy task but when connected to the right people it just works.

Dave Bodner, Mass Mutal, recently gave a presentation in front of 100 high school students in Defiance OH. He spoke at the World Community Workshop which is sponsored by the Rotary club of Defiance.  This three-day workshop for high-school students is designed to help participants learn about the history, customs, economic and political issues of a selected region of the world.  Dave shared his experiences of working and living in France, emphasizing not only the cultural, labor and economic differences between France and the US but also between the different regions of France.

Jessica Smith shares that Comfort Keepers of Toledo (CN Grads Julie Kuney, Marcia Regan, and Jessica Smith) achieved two scheduling milestones within the Comfort Keepers system in 2013; for 1,500 hours/week and 1,750 hours/week. These accomplishments were recognized at the Comfort Keepers Annual Leadership Conference Awards Banquet which was held from April 24-26, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.

Coyle Funeral Home and Cremation Services proudly recognizes Megan Coyle Stamos for receiving the prestigious President’s Award in honor of Physician’s Mutual president, Robert A. Reed. Megan was selected for her demonstrated commitment to families as well as her characteristics of quality, integrity and passion. The Outlook Group, in collaboration with Physician’s Mutual Pre‐need Insurance Funding Solutions, presented this award during its annual Leaders Conference in St. Thomas.

Angie Weid, owner & rocket organizer of Organized Solutions, was a featured professional organizer in the spring publication of "Organize!" which is sold at Target, Barnes & Noble, Costco and other nationwide retailers.  The publisher was so pleased with Angie's creative organizing tips that she was interviewed for the upcoming holiday edition set for release in October 2014.  Her topic this time was "Overcrowding in Toyland." 

Debby Peters, shares that Connext Nation, was a sponsor of the TEDx event at the Way Public LIbrary.  CNer, Debra Gorman, The Chocolate Shoppe, attended.
Becky Pegorsch reports that for the third year running Lee Winters Florist has been picked for the Top 1000 FTD Florist in the world.

What's Ya Readin'?


Ray Meiers, Remarck Law Group, just finished reading "Small Town Girl" by Jack Paquette.  Jack retired from Owens Illinois as a vice president involved in marketing.  The book is a collection of short biographies of people from NW Ohio who accomplished some amazing things.  I know he has collected so many stories that he is at work on sequel. 
Richard Curran, Curran Fixes, recently read “The Trial and Death of Socrates” by Plato translated by Jowett. Because “the unexamined life is not worth living" is an analytic for why, Why Works.
Sue Waterhouse, Key Concerns, Inc., read Malcolm Gladwell's book, "Outliers," and loved it.  It's a very interesting perspective on how certain people and groups of people became very successful, from the Beatles to Jewish attorneys in New York.  I think it's a very educational book, as well as easy reading.  I highly recommend it.
Michael Temple, Temple Development Company, loves "Own Your Niche" by Stephanie Chandler.  This is a fantastic, hype-free book about narrowing your marketing down to a specific niche and how to reach out and communicate with that niche.
Kym Cragel, Wellness Fix, just finished, Real Love and Freedom for the Soul, Eliminating the Chains of Victimhood, By Greg Baer, M.D.  Everyone is a victim of something, but it is important that we do not act like victims.  We have a choice and that choice is always real love.

Margie Sparks, Your Home Essentials, re-read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.  Every time I read this my eyes are opened to how blessed I am, and it encourages me to be thankful for even the little things.
Stas’ Krukowski, joenstas Gallery, says his precious little reading time has been consumed with the classic lyrics of Bob Dylan.  He only read one or two poems/songs at a time, but the imagery that fills his head sets his imagination wandering. He strongly urge everyone to see the poetry on paper, rather than just listening to it!
Leasa Lee, CMC Group, Inc, is reading “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” by Gary Chapman and Paul White.  I recommend it (like me). In the same way that people do business with whom they like and trust; people need to build these sort of trust relationships with their co-workers in order to build effective organizations.
Leah Beck, Beck Client Service Solutions, read, “Clued In,” by Lou Carbone.  She says that this author opened her eyes as to why understanding and designing a client's experience is the key to creating a lasting relationship between you and the people you serve.
Tongue- in-cheek,Ellen Critchley Pittman, The Toledo Symphony, shared that everything she was reading had to do with tourism in Washington DC as she was headed that way.

Mary Ann Mills, Re/Max Masters, recommends two books; “Angels of Abundance” by Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue - Heaven's 11 Messages to Help You Manifest Support, Supply and Every Form of Abundance. and “C  Flute Obsession” by Damaja Le - Originally from Toledo (4 time purple heart vet) and a friend of hers, It is a diary form of his obsession to teach himself how to play the concert C Flute.  It is so inspiring.   




by Debby Peters,

Where else can you learn Spanish at the same time you are networking?  None other than the May Findlay networking event!  Lynne Calvelage, Coffee Amici, ever the creative thinker, was the organizer AND the sponsor of the event.
Every person who arrived got a Spanish word on a name tag stuck to their back.  Then they had to ask yes or no questions to figure out the word.  An old networking exercise with a new twist!  It’s not as easy as you think either.  It took me about 50 questions before ,with a lot of extra help, I finally figured out my word, “verde” meaning green. 
We all had a nice Mexican meal together and then even more surprises!  Lynne, as sponsor, had purchased gifts from local downtown Findlay merchants that we all got to have a chance at winning.  Zander, Josette Brinkman’s son, pulled the winning business cards from the basket.  Fue una buena tarde.

Fastastic Four
Power Hour Lunch Report

By Debby Peters,

What do you have when you have 53 people concentrating on how to help each other?  You get a Connext Nation lunch with results.  Our first ever attempt at being more strategic with our Toledo lunch offering could certainly be called a success.  There were a couple reasons for this triumph.  We tried to group the tables of four so that they all had the same or similar targets.  Another aspect was that the table captains facilitated the conversation with three questions, the first being, “Why do you do what you do?” 

Target Market

Karen Keimnec, Releasing the Ties that Bind,
after the end of the event said, “Thanks for the Power Hour meeting today!  At our table, we talked about ways that we can work together in the future that we were all excited about. I love brainstorming with 3 or 4 other people; it always gets the ideas flowing for me!"  Her tablemates all focus on divorced women, as Karen does.

Why you do what you do

Rick Reichow, Farmer’s Insurance,
says, “It just so happens that I was randomly placed at a table yesterday with a potential client that I was scheduled to meet with right after the event. Right after the lunch he gave me the green light to go ahead and process the paperwork. My jaw almost dropped because I hadn't even gone over the price. He didn't care he just knew that I would take care of him. This is the power behind CN and having your Why Statement prepared.”
Additionally, one guest, Sam Silva, District Manager for Farmer’s Insurance, said that normally he doesn’t like to come to “these lunches” because nothing is accomplished.  His words were, “But this was different. I really got so much out of this format. I would like to participate again.”
The Toledo Board of Action will now look at the evaluations and make decisions about how we use this format in the future.  We want to provide the strongest value possible to all our grads.
Copyright © *2014 *Connext Nation*, All rights reserved.

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