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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Celebrating Our 18th Year of Helping Our Grads to REALLY Connect!

Monthly Lunches
It’s back!  Monthly lunches are now on the calendar for 2019.  We will again be at Smokey Bones 512 W Dussel Blvd, Maumee.  They will be from 11:30-1. The dates of the lunches are:

Nov. 18- Celebrating and honor our Military Veterans
Dec. 16
Jan. 20
This is the third Monday of the month.  We are going to ask you to register in advance which means you can use your business credit card to do so.  The fee for lunch is $16 and the link to register is:

Did You Know?
Connext Nation is nationally certified to provide CPEs credits for CPAs. For the mini class they get 2 credits and for the ten week class they get 24. Our next  Toledo 10 week series starts next spring on March 13, 2020, but there are mini classes starting October 31. In Cleveland, the starting date for the 10 week class is March11, with mini classes starting Oct 30.  We will also be offering Ann Arbor classes beginning in March 2020.
Changes in the Board of Action
Welcome to Patty Cavins, Higher Ground  Advantage, who has joined the Board of Action.  She will join the other members who help to organize all the community events.

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:

Melonie Dickey
by Jon Meyer


Melonie knows the art of networking and relationships.  Although born in Ohio (Go Bucks!) she moved away in 5th grade to Charleston South Carolina.  When she was a senior in high school her parents moved back to Ohio; however, Melonie stayed in South Carolina to wrap up school and eventually venture out to California.  She quickly got adjusted to California living and landed a temporary job in accounting doing statistical analysis.  When an internal job opened-up in merchant services, she quickly dumped the mundane analytics of statistics and jumped at the opportunity to be in merchant services, which became her passion.  

After working for a bank for four years, she branched out on her own and formed a merchant services company in 2002 that eventually lead to Affinity Merchant Solutions.  Melonie originally wanted to call the company Infinity Merchant Solutions, but the yellow pages salesman convinced her that she needed to start the name out with an “A”, thus Affinity was born.  Along the way she formed a partnership, with a friend, which then become the biggest learning lesson in her life, even to this day. This lesson is that partnerships are complicated and can wreak havoc on your life!  After dissolving her partnership, she continued her merchant services dream in California for three more years.  She then decided to move back to Ohio in 2007 and called Perrysburg her home.  

Melonie soon met Debby Peters and a networking champion was born.  Her perfect referral partners are people within the treasury management services department of banks.  She has a vision to take her company to the next level through introductions to regional banks such as First Federal of the Midwest, Croghan Colonial Bank, Genoa Bank, Waterford Bank and Signature Bank.  

Melonie is very active in the networking scene.  She is a 2008 graduate of Connext Nation and a member of WEN (Women’s Entrepreneurial Network), BNI (Business Network International), and several chambers of commerce.  In her personal time, Melonie likes to spend time with her husband Joe, and her two beautiful children, April and Finn.  In her spare time Melonie enjoys yoga, mediating at the True Rest Float Spa, and overall holistic living.  Her life experiences have given her a passion for supporting women in the workplace by providing a work atmosphere that is supportive of new moms.  Melonie’s claim to fame is traveling the world by ship and visiting 13 countries.  She is a dynamic person that I recommend getting to know.  


CN Horn Tooting


Liz Thees, Liz Thees Coaching, would like to announce that soon she will be offering a new online course that will help spouses and family members who live with or have an alcoholic or an addict in their life. Those interested in receiving more information can send Liz an email inquiry.

David Bodner and his team at Skylight Financial Group recently moved to a new location. His phone number remains, 419-887-6303.  His new location is:

Skylight Financial Group
7150 W Cental Avenue Ste 100
Toledo, OH 43617

Diane Spadola, Bella Facia Painting, launched her 6 month business booster class to her Facebook Group.  She is quickly filling the seats for a maximum of 12 students in this intensive marketing and business development small group class.  Accelerate Your Success is a Business Booster program for artists, and entertainers, who grow their professional service businesses through more, and better gigs.   A few spots are currently available, and if you would like to learn more, contact Diane at

Jody Zink-Realtor at RE/MAX Preferred Associates is the new board chair for the Sylvania YMCA/JCC of Greater Toledo board of directors. This is her third year serving on the board. 

On Nov. 8, 2019, Laura Osborne, Laura's Framing Place, will be celebrating her 29th year in business.  Laura Osborne started framing in November of 1983, before opening her own shop.  Come visit at her location at Heatherdowns and Key Street to meet and greet with Tori, the shop dog.  No treats required.

Leni Mueller has joined Group Benefit Consultants in Findlay as Senior Marketing Director.  She is available to assist individuals in reviewing and/or selecting Medicare health and prescriptions plans to fit their individual needs.  Because plan benefits and prescription drug formularies change frequently, Medicare and other senior advocates recommend that those eligible for Medicare review their options annually to ensure their plan is still a good fit.  Consultations are free and available by appointment at 419-425-0916 or  

Michael Temple of Temple Development Company just finished building out an affiliate program for an international manufacturing company. This new affiliate program will allow them to pay commissions to a vast sales force of affiliates across North America, track all commissions to be paid, provide marketing support materials, and provide education to help them more effectively sell the products. This step completely changes the distribution for this company from only working with a limited amount of dealers to working with a vast network of sales reps.

KC Allen,  Allen Film & Video and 10 Ring Films, and his composer, Charles Mallory, came together in Austin, Texas for the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival.  Their film, Poor Baby, was nominated for Best Comedy Film, and they’re bringing home the top prize!  This is the fourth festival they have competed at and they have won in three out of the four events.

Tami Norris of Custom Training Solutions was appointed as a PAC (Province Alumnae Chair) for Alpha Chi Omega Sorority this summer. During this two year term she is responsible for working with Alpha Chi Omega alumni chapters in the state of Ohio. Currently there are 8 face to face and 1 virtual chapter in the state with a few more possible on the horizon. 

In September, Sarah Krafty of Krafty Travel was recently delighted with a wonderful in destination training in South Africa and Zimbabwe.  Sarah traveled with a preferred travel partner and a small group of 11 travel agents experiencing 11 different resorts, 2 private game reserves with safari drives (witnessing sights of the Big Five!), plus having experiences in Cape Town and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.  Sarah will be hosting Travel Tastings, Africa! at Manhattan's Pub on Monday, November 18 at 7pm if you want to come taste a new destination, see her photos and learn more.
Tell Me Exactly What to Say 
by Debby Peters,
Available in November on Amazon.  Or see Debby at the Maumee Chamber Expo on November 12, from 10-11:30 to purchase an autographed copy of this book.  This tome has a conversation for all networkers!  Below is an excerpt.  

Speaking with the competition seated next to you, Part 2

The conversation in last month’s issue of this newsletter was about two cooperative businesspeople, but what happens when you either can’t or won’t ever refer to that person sitting beside you? He may not be the enemy, but for whatever reason he is NOT someone who you want to do business with professionally. Below is a conversation you might consider.

Janette: Hi, Sam. How are you?

Sam: I’m doing well. What about you?

Janette: I can’t complain. Hasn’t the weather been great for June? Are you taking your family on vacation this summer?

Sam: No big trips, just some little ones, mainly around town. We are taking a trip down to Hocking Hills for a couple days in July to a tree house cabin. One of our friends did it last year and they loved it, so we are looking forward to it. The kids love to hike and there is plenty of that down there.

Janette: That sounds fun. What is the tree house like? Is it really in a tree? How many can it sleep?

Sam: It advertises that it will hold eight, but I think it would be a little crowded! There is just one bathroom. I don’t 
think it is attached to a tree; I think it’s on high stilts among the trees. We’ll be there just a couple nights, so if it is not that great, we won’t have to suffer too long!

Janette: That sounds very interesting. What’s the name of the place so I can check it out?

Sam: I’ll send you the link. Why don’t you give me your card so I can do that when I get back to the office?

You can see from the above that you can still have a civil conversation with your competition and gain value from it! We have all kinds of needs for information and resources. Sometimes personal resources are the best.

5 Things to Consider When Networking
by Chris Kapelski, Creative Director at Interactive Design Solutions

With all the networking going on these days it’s often tough to do so effectively. Sure, there are countless resources available to help you network better. But reviewing and perfecting all those tactics can take precious time you probably don’t have. I’ve taken a wide variety of lessons I have learned over the years and compiled them into five simple tips. Here they are.

1.    What’s your goal? – Before you even consider attending a networking event you need to determine your goal. Are you looking to gain followers, trying to reach a specific audience, or looking for leads? Knowing your goal ahead of time will help you make the most of every networking opportunity. It’s also more likely to make it a successful one. 

2.    Who am I trying to get in touch with? – Another thing to consider before you attend an event is your target audience. By attending networking events without your target in mind you’re literally rolling the dice on whether anyone you would like to meet will be there. Take time to understand who you want to meet and why. Then look for events where those people are likely to be. In the end this will help optimize your time and move you closer to your goals.

3.    Am I ready to participate? – This may sound like a no-brainer. But take a moment to understand what participation really means. Going to a networking event and shoving your cards in everyone’s face isn’t it. Successful networking is all about building relationships over the long term. Are you ready to participate in that long-term game? If not, don’t waste your time with networking. 

4.    Is this a good time? – You’ve heard the saying, “timing is everything”. It couldn’t be truer in the world of networking. When considering attending a networking event consider your goals and think about the timing of the event. If you’re looking to gather a few leads for example. Is your target audience thinking about their budget right now or have they spent it all? Is the networking event right before the holiday season? Often this means people are busy with other things and your attempts to reach them will take longer or be ignored altogether. Timing is a critical component to successful networking.

5.    Am I providing value with my presence? – This is something I personally think about before every networking event and remind myself to do. While you can provide value in many ways, I believe the best way is by asking questions, listening, and then providing a thoughtful reply. Not only will this help you become a better networker, but it will likely make you stand out amongst all the other people at the networking event.

Before you attend your next networking event, I encourage you to consider these five things. Take time to look through them and be honest with yourself when you’re answering the questions. I truly believe that by doing so you will have a much more success when networking.

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