We are celebrating the 19th year of helping our grads to REALLY connect!

Monthly Lunches
As we go to press, we are currently delaying the re-start of our lunches and have planned a complement of zoom lunch time gatherings.

Aug 17  CN Grad, Kelley Webb, Director of Racial Justice, YWCA will helped us to see our own racial biases o f which we may be unaware

Sept 21

Oct 19
This is the third Monday of the month.  When we meet in person we are going to ask you to register in advance which means you can use your business credit card to do so making it easier to track that expense.  The fee for lunch is $16 and the link to register is:  Virtual lunches are free to attend. Register by sending an email to to receive the zoom link. 
Social Event; ON HOLD; Stay tuned to our FB page! 

Our semi-annual taco night at R Taco in Maumee which was scheduled for May 14, will be rescheduled when that can happen.  We already have three wonderful sponsors, Patty Cavins, Higher Ground Advantage, Laura Osborne, Laura’s Framing and Bill Rickman, Tutor Doctor and FranNet which means we will have plenty of tacos.  
Mini Classes 
Our next Mini classes are scheduled for Friday, August 21 and September 25. All are at the same time from 9:00 to 11:00am EST. We are excited to be presenting these classes as a virtual offering.  The fee is $35.  We do need people to register in order for us to send out the handouts for the class.  This is for both Toledo and Cleveland areas, and even beyond that!  Please let those in your network know that they can take advantage of this by registering at
Did You Know?
Connext Nation is nationally certified to provide CPEs credits for CPAs. For the mini class CPAs get 2 credits and for the ten week class they get 24.  Our next Toledo 10 week series starts this fall on September 4, from 11am - 1pm EST or our virtual class begins Sept 9 from 11am-1pm EST. 
Board of Action
The BOA gives great feedback on events within the community of how to make them better.  For our future events within the COVID guidelines they have made suggestions to keep our community connected. 
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 on your Facebook page as well! Visit our page at today!

Kerri Kimble Brimmer, says that you can get a bite-sized nugget of marketing information each week with Kerri's Monday Marketing email series. They provide short, useful information on components of your web presence, marketing and branding so you can continually improve. Subscribe on You'll be glad you did!

Kym Cragel, reports that GR8 Lakes Swim Babies was featured in Healthy Living Magazine again this July. It's a great article about water safety. Also, ISR swim lessons were deemed essential by the State of Ohio! Thanks to the legislature for helping to ensure not one more child drowns!

Megan Gallagher, Executive Director for Hope for Cleveland, shares that hope has not been canceled!  In their response to COVID they provided 200,000 pounds of food to those in need, 8200 individuals were served during the Hope Day Drive Through, 7500 letter were written and given out as a symbol of hope and  500 pairs of Crocs shoes were donated to Metro Health Workers.  If you would like to volunteer and give hope go to

Steve Hopingardner and Heather Baker, owners of The Exercise Coach, want us to know that The Exercise Coach Perrysburg was recognized recently with two national awards. There were six award categories and they got the award for Newcomer of the Year and also received the Founder's Award. Of course this awards ceremony is normally held during an annual conference but for this year they did it over Zoom. 

Member Spotlight – Kym Cragel
by Chris Kapelski,
Have you met Kym? I had the chance to talk with Kym Cragel recently and learn a bit more about what she does and why. When our conversation finally ended, I couldn’t help but feel like it was time well spent. You see, Kym currently spends her days as a certified Infant Swimming Resource Instructor. Teaching young kids (that sometimes can’t even walk) how to save their own life if they fall into a pool. However, she didn’t start there and it took her 50 years to find what she loves. If you like interesting stories, strap in.

Over the years, Kym has held a number of positions including; fitness trainer, high school teacher, and even an executive for Boy Scouts of America. It was during these times when Kym found Connext Nation. Taking the course for the first time in 2005 and then again in 2009 to refresh her skills. “Both of those classes made my career at the time,” Kym said. Learning business practices and techniques she utilizes to this day. She went on to say, “It’s all about making connections, building relationships, and treating everyone fairly.” Something we were in 100% agreement on.

While her careers were always fun and she met a lot of nice people, Kym couldn’t fight the feeling that something was missing. That coupled with wanting to be around more to raise her three boys, she decided it was time for a change. In 2017, after learning how wide spread drowning was in young children, Kym dove right into the deep end and got certified as an Infant Swimming Resource Instructor. She set out to teach kids life saving techniques in case they ever found themselves in a pool unsupervised. Just like that, and over 50 years in the making, she had finally found her passion. 

Now that she’s found her passion, her dreams haven’t stopped there. Soon she intends to build a team of instructors and teach kids across Northwest Ohio. In the not so distant future, she even has plans to open her very own training facility to continue teaching year-round. “It’s about saving lives,” she said. To this day she has taught around 500 kids ages 6 months and up. “When you see the look on the parent’s face when their kid figures it out, that just makes it for me.”

If you have young kids or you just want to learn more about Kym, give her a call. She has amazing insights from her decades of experience and would love to share. Her biggest piece of advice? “Never give up.” After all, sometimes it just takes 50 years to find your passion. 
A New Normal
By: Debby Peters, 

Networking on Zoom is very similar to networking in person and also equally very different!  At some point we will evolve from the stringent contact now available back to sitting in front of our connections.  What has become evident to me is that the virtual meetings will continue in some way.  For me, I might not drive to Cleveland as often, instead using the approximately 3 ½ -4 hours of driving time to meet with three or four people virtually.  Also because of long distance connections I have been lucky to make during COVID, I can still stay connected and actually add to that list going forward.  What is important to know is how to use this platform to network in the best way possible.

Networking at Groups

When linking in to a virtual meeting, it pays to be an active participant rather than just a sponge-listener, although, sometimes there will be meetings where the culture demands your passive attention.  The first step is to figure out which type of meeting you are attending.  Is it loud and active or silent and quiet?  Your answer will then predicate your behavior.  

If the chat box is available, use it and use it a lot!  While you may use it to share info about yourself and your business offering, think of it as your conversation tool.  Greeting others; remarking about a comment that someone made; asking a question of the presenter and introducing your guest to others on the call are just a few actions you can take with this virtual tool.  You can also reach out to another participant to see if he or she would like to meet via Zoom later.  That way you can share contact info to easily make the appointment later.  If you are in a session that is interactive, become familiar with all the tools that the virtual platform offers, especially making sure you know how to easily mute and un-mute yourself.  

Breakout rooms are used to narrow the group to smaller numbers usually for conversation or brainstorming.  Again, be active, give your thoughts but don’t “hog” the time. This is an ideal opportunity to get to know a new person more in depth and again you can use the chat box to reach out for a future appointment.

Don’t attempt to multi-task by leaving your video off.  Networking is about seeing people, even if it is that little box on the screen.  Having just your name appear sends a message that you are not really into the group.  That may be entirely incorrect, but what people perceive is the truth for them!

Virtual meetings are not going to go away entirely.  They are not that much different from in-person meetings.  If you don’t reach out to other participants in either setting, nothing will happen.  Using the virtual format correctly will pay off just as well  Networking can happen for you no matter what the setting.
POC Panel Lunch Link
Debby Peters,


We usually do not report on events that have happened in the past, but we are making an exception this month because of the panel of Kelley Webb, founder of Matching Peace; Lionel Brock, TransAmeria and Latasha Jones, Owner of J Dog Junk Removal & Hauling.  They spoke about what it is like to be a POC in the US right now.  We recorded this event and the link to listen to it is here.

Becoming Aware

You won’t want to miss next month’s lunch on Aug 17 from 11:30am – 1pm when Kelley Webb, founder of Matching Peace will lead us in questions and exercises to help us uncover our own biases.  As Kelley says, “Unless you are aware of your biases, you can’t do anything about them.”  Lunch will again be virtual and there is no charge to attend.  Please invite guests to this one, too!  Send an email to to get the zoom link.

Easy Reading

A resource for those who want to become more aware of the BlackLivesMatter initiative, is a 21 day reading list that only takes about 20-30 minutes a day for three weeks.  There are four major topic areas:  Voting, Education, Criminal Justice Reform and Public Health.  The link is here  
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