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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 in the first and second quarter are:

May 20
June 17
July 15
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:

Social Events
We will also have two after-hours events this year, one on May 16 from 5:30-7pm at Rusty Taco (formerly R Taco) at 1470 Ford St, Maumee.  Because of our wonderful sponsorship by CNer Melonie Dickey and her company, Affinity Merchant Solutions, there will be plenty of tacos to sample that night.  The margaritas at Rusty Taco are to dream about especially if Manager, Kara, makes them.  Come hang out right after work, link to other helpful people, and have a bit of springtime fun.

The second event of the year will be Sept 26 from 6-7:30pm at Clara J’s Tea House at 219 W Wayne St, Maumee.  The owner and young executive chef, Gretchen Fayerweather, has breathed new life into this old location.  To say the least, it’s not your mother’s tea house! There will be other beverages served that have nothing to do with tea!

Mini Classes
Coming up in we have several mini classes on the horizon.  If you want to send one of your friends to experience a little bit more of CN, this is the best way to do it.  The cost is only $35 although; if two people register at the same time it is only $40 for both.  Registration is easy at this link. .  All of these mini classes below are at the BNI office from 11am-1pm.
May 3
June 14
July 19
Aug 23

New Classes
We have scheduled another Why class for June 17, 10am-1pm at Higher Ground Advantage at 315 N Main Street in Bowling Green.  The cost is $89 and you can register at .  There are only ten seats reserved for this training.  Our first one in January was SOLD OUT and had rave reviews.  Maggie Sullivan said, “OMG, it was a wonderful 2 hours!  I loved seeing you and meeting new friends.”  Kathy Burrus said, “Currently, I am writing a second book. The working title is Envision You: Unstuck and Confident. I have been aware that many women I work with are struggling with wanting to make their difference, but they feel stuck.  I thought I was writing it for them.  But after yesterday I came to realize that I am writing it because of my own WHY.  My journey with confidence was challenged in the 2nd grade.  Those messages/lies that I have carried with me as truth now for 50 plus years are the reason I want to write this book.  I rewrote my intro.  I’m leading with my WHY.”  Debby would love to help you find or find-tune your why!
Then in July a second special topic session will be launched entitled, “Who’s Your Who?”  This session will help people to select or fine-tune their target market.  We will all work together to help each other determine the best referral sources for the chosen market.  The date is July 22, from 11am-1:30pm.  The cost of this session is $89, however if you register for both at the same time you can have both for $160,

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:

Don Miller 
by Chris Kapelski,

If you are hanging out with Don Miller, you know you are going to have a good time. As fellow BNI Directors, I recently traveled to Dallas with Don, and had the chance to learn more about him. I’ve known him for a few years now, but I had never heard how he got started in business. He shared with me that it was only after taking the Connext Nation class that he truly understood his why and started telling this story. 

Don grew up alongside computers. His first experience with a machine was a TRS-80 that his neighbor owned. From the moment he saw it, he was hooked. Going next door all the time to learn and teach himself how to program. Until one day, his Grandma bought him the computer as a surprise. By the young age of 14, Don had taught himself how to program, and it was getting noticed. A Controller at his mom’s work reached out and asked if he could build a program to optimize their shipping process. Not phased by the large task ahead and fully confident in his abilities, he set out to build the program. He completed the program and it cut their packaging time down considerably; eventually selling the program to the company for “a whopping $150”.

But the programming life wasn’t always glitz and glamour. Upon taking his first college programming class in COBOL, Don hung up his programming hat. It just wasn’t for him. He went on to get a degree in Accounting and then a degree in Business Finance. This led him to work with ERP systems for businesses, but something wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t long before he started making customizations for these systems and the fire for programming was reignited. In 2001 he wrote his first “professional app” for the HP iPAQ. It was a food safety app that took the very paper intensive process of auditing a restaurant and made it entirely paperless. In this process Don realized this is exactly what he wanted to do. He loved taking difficult processes and making them paperless. Over the next several years he successfully built his own app development company GroundSpeed. Fast forward to today; Don is working on a new chapter in business, Kinship, where he and a few partners “work together to ship better software”.

Always looking to share his knowledge and learn more, Don is extremely involved in networking. He participates in a wide variety of organizations including, BNI, Connext Nation, the Sylvania Chamber, and his very own Seed Coworking. When I asked him why he networks he said that he loves to share his knowledge that he has acquired from his many years in business. It also provides a great place for him to meet people and help them recognize problems they may be experiencing in their business; problems that he can solve with apps. At the end of the day, he truly does love helping people.

My shameless plug: If you haven’t had the chance to meet him or check out Seed Coworking downtown (25 S. St. Clair St.), do it. Seed is an amazing co-working space where people from different businesses all work from the same location. It’s an awesome idea and a great space to visit.  


CN Horn Tooting


Kym Cragel, announced that Swim with Kym has been nominated by her many swim families as one of Toledo Parent Magazine's Family Favorites as best swim lessons.  This nomination means so much because she was the only individual nominated.  Voting continues for all nominees through May 15. Additionally, Toledo Parent Magazine will be featuring an article about Water Safety that Kym wrote in their May issue. 

Michael Temple of Temple Development Corporation is proud to announce the launch of a new website they completed for a local flooring company, Carpet Spectrum. They provide all types of flooring from carpet to premium vinyl for homes and business in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. The site was designed with the goal of generating leads for their sales staff. You can see the site at

In January, adventurous Angie Weid (owner of Organized Solutions) began training at Orange Theory to prepare for hiking the Fisherman's Trail in Portugal.  She will be hiking the 50 miles in 4 days with her college roomie starting April 18.  Through her training, she became the winner of the studio's "Transformation Challenge."   Not only did she receive $500 but ended up with endurance to hike 12-15 miles each day and trimmed down over 12 pounds.  If you see her after April 29th, she will likely have her shoes kicked off and feet elevated.

Angela Crosby, COSS, COSM is approaching her one year anniversary at the Safety Council of Northwest Ohio. In her first year, she has obtained her Certified Occupational Safety Specialist, Certificate for Occupational Safety Management and her accreditation to teach others Basic First Aid and CPR-AED. Her bosses recognized her talents for connecting to others and most recently added to her title; Business Development.

Jason Conklin, J. Conklin Consulting, graduated on March 29 from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, after completing a four-year graduate level certification of Executive Fire Officer (EFO). This certification is only held by 166 other firefighters across Ohio and by less than 4,500 firefighters across the United States since the program’s inception 30 years ago. The EFO program required Jason to attend the National Fire Academy each year for two weeks of classroom training and then complete a six-month research paper following each on-campus course. Over the course of the four years, Jason was able to network with firefighters from 29 of the 50 states and, additionally, international students from Canada and the Netherlands. It is extremely rare that this certification be completed by a 100% volunteer firefighter. Jason looks forward to continuing to use what he has learned to better the Lindsey Volunteer Fire Department and his community.

Melonie Dickey, President and Owner of Affinity Merchant Solutions, is honored to be the Grad Assistant for the current CN Course in Bowling Green with trainer, Krisi Vadnais. Melonie says, “It is refreshing to dive back in to the coursework and offer insight on my own networking experiences. I love when the students have their ‘aha’ moments and you can see that glow on their faces.” Melonie and her team are also excited to the be the sponsor of the CN After Hours event at Rusty Taco on May 16th at 5:30pm. Grads bringing a guest will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card to Fowl & Fodder, one of Melonie’s favorite local restaurants.

CN’er KC Allen, Allen Film & Video and 10 Ring Films, Findlay, recently produced, wrote, directed and edited "Poor Baby", his latest short film.  This one got a lot of local attention in Findlay because it involved a bank robbery, police, sheriff's deputies, squad cars and even a scene in the Hancock County jail.  We caused a lot of furor over a simple 7-minute film that was filmed over two days and had its first public screening in Cincinnati on April 20.

Debby Peters, Connext Nation, presented to the Morning Mingle networking group in Avon Lake helping the participants to understand how to better choose their referral sources.  This was the third time she has been asked to present to this group.

Bill McConnell, Dunright Building Services, shares that they were awarded Best of Toledo 2018 for best Home Improvement Company from the Toledo City Paper.  

Chris Watson, Right Size Life, expanded his entrepreneurial skills and opened a quaint coffee shop, The Bard, in downtown Perrysburg. If you are ever in the area, or need to schedule a 1 to 1, make sure that you stop in and say hi. You will probably see many familiar faces. It is located at 120 Louisiana Avenue Perrysburg, Ohio. 
Krisi Vadnais, Doterra, Connext Nation AND The Bard, recently competed in the World Champion of Public Speaking through Toastmasters. She received third place at the Division Level. 
Google is Not Trying to Network With You
By Chris Kapelski,

In my line of work, I’m asked all the time about the infamous calls “from Google”. They usually go something like this. “Hi this is (fill in the blank), I’m your local Google specialist. We noticed your listing is not correct and we’re calling to help you fix it.”
It’s simple. Google is not trying to call you. Notice that the person usually says, “Google specialist”, or something along those lines; meaning, someone that works with Google products, not someone that works for Google. There’s a big difference. In fact, Google will never call you. Unless you specifically request that they do. But just because Google doesn’t want to network with you, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t network with them.
How Do You Network with Google?
One of the biggest things you can do to increase your online network and exposure is to create and maintain a Google My Business profile for your business. Not only does this help with brand recognition, but it will help your company overall with rankings (usually locally) online. It also helps you network/communicate with your clients more. With the ability to add everything from business hours to images, and products/services to reviews, your clients can easily find out information about your business. I also recommend that you provide answers to common questions about your business on your profile as well. The combination of these elements will help break the ice and ultimately make future communication with your clients easier.
Other Networking Areas
Even though Google is by far the biggest search engine available, they’re not the ONLY search engine available. Just as you wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket by networking with just one group, you shouldn’t do the same when it comes to search engines. In addition to Google My Business I suggest you also looking into, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo, and Duck Duck Go. 
Now that you know Google doesn’t call, spread the word. We’re in the midst of a war with spam callers and it is going to take an army of educated people to defeat them. Once you’re done spreading the word, make sure your business is listed online. If it already is, please keep your information updated. Misinformation is the number one cause of a negative customer experience and it could lead to you missing opportunities you didn’t even know existed.

Stupid Networking
by Debby Peters,
Do any of you remember the Reader’s Digest stupid criminal stories that were written to spotlight those who tried to break the law but were not so successful?  An example of one was that the would-be bank robber wrote a note to demand the teller to give him all her money…..on the back of his own bank deposit slip.  It wasn’t too difficult to track this “stupid” criminal later.
So now let’s talk about Stupid Networking.  This is when the actions of the networker, like the bank robber, go against what he or she is trying to accomplish.  An example might be when the networker attends an event with the goal of meeting new resources or prospects.  However at the event this person finds a friend and talks to that one friend for the whole event.  It’s easy to find this networker later because he is complaining about how networking is a waste of time and that it doesn’t work.
Another example is when a networker mistakes a relationship development opportunity for a sales presentation.  It’s kind of stupid to rush the relationship of someone you’ve just met to try to make a sale when that person may not even want what you are offering.  But stupid networkers have dollar signs in their eyes and don’t realize how officious they are being. Again this group is easy to find because all the other networkers are running away from them as quickly as they can!
Being a stupid networker is like being a stupid criminal!  It is not a smart way to go about your life.  I hope for all the CN grads, this is “duh” information, but let’s have some fun!  Send your experiences with stupid networking that we can share on the Facebook page.  We can all laugh and learn at the same time.
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