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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

Celebrating Our 15th Year of Helping Our Grads to REALLY Connect!

Our grads over the years

….each month we will have one grad comment on their CN experience and memories. This month we hear from Lori Cannon, Edward Jones who was in our first class comments.
“As luck would have it, I was asked to participate in the initial CN Class.  It is hard to wrap my head around the number of people who have gone through the class to date.  This is not a class that you take and move on.  The lesson stays with you and unexpectedly you remember how to implement that lesson in a new situation.  The one lesson I continue to learn is: who you see as your competitor could be an ally, you just need to look for it.” 

International Networking Week
Feb 6-10

See article 5 to get reminded of this event and how we are going to celebrate it.

February Breakfast (Toledo) 
Breakfast is scheduled for February 28 from 7:30-8:45 am.  It will be at Pam’s Corner downtown and that morning a couple techie CN grads are going to share how we can leverage technology to our advantage.  For people like Debby Peters, this will be an important presentation!  Hopefully it will solve her many technology questions! This event is free to attend and you can purchase a yummy breakfast from Pam that morning.  Of course, bring a guest to enjoy the casual networking.

March Afterhours (Toledo)
Reserve March 20 for an afterhours social event from 5:00-7:00 PM.  It will be Hoops, Hopps & Hooch at Charlies Taverna on Tollgate in Maumee. You can cheer your team on in March Madness!  We have always had a great time at Charlies for our afterhours events and we think this one will again be the place to be that evening.  Again we love our guests.

April Lunch (Toledo) – Annual Fantastic Four
Monday, April 24 will be our annual Fantastic Four lunch, BUT THERE WILL BE A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FOCUS THIS YEAR. Instead of asking everyone for their target market, we are setting the expectation that you will get to meet two or three new people.  In order to do that, we are partnering with the Maumee Chamber of Commerce.  We will still have it set up with tables of 4 or 6 with a table captain to facilitate the conversation.  We think this is a great way to add to your network and also to have a bit of fun.  We have space for 60 people at Smokey Bones and the lunch starts a bit earlier at 11:00 am so that everyone can network casually first.  The cost to attend is $20 and guests are welcome so bring a new face to meet some of the old faces!  Registration must be done in advance at under the Events tab.

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. 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:

Jason Orsky

by Debby Peters     


 Jason Orsky, a CN grad from our Cleveland area, is a man of many surprises.  I met Jason at a chamber lunch when he was introduced as a guest.  We happened to be sitting at the same table, so I reached out to him to see if we could get together for coffee.  Imagine my surprise when I walked into Panera looking for the traditionally suited financial planner, only to find Jason in shorts, tank top, shaved head, tatts and flip-flops.  It was a Friday and he was on his way to the boat.  I immediately knew that I was going to have this man be my friend.  He didn’t pull any punches but let me know exactly who he was.

Jason is the owner of Jason Orsky Wealth Management and is very successful because of who he is and also because of his competitiveness.  Add to that a heart bigger than all America and you get the idea of how he rolls!  He grew up with a brother just 19 months older than he and of course, he always wanted to beat this brother in everything, no matter what it was.  “If it was sports, fun or getting the girl, I wanted to be first!”  He also adds that his dad and grandpa set the work ethic early in his life demonstrating how to work hard and work constantly to make a better life for their families.

A huge influence in his life was Coach Levindofski, the wrestling coach at St Ed’s high school.  Jason shares, “I can remember him saying, “You’re going to make a lot of money selling things to people. I remember thinking that he was probably right!” He laughs and says, “Wrestlers typically didn’t get the cheerleaders as girlfriends, but I did.  She was a great help, too, in that she calmed me down!”

Simon Ellett, is another person that Jason credits with influencing his life.  “Simon, who is a business coach, showed me how to focus on being a Christian business person.  Up till that time, I kept all my various personalities separate, but Simon showed me how to turn it all into on ‘big ball of me.’”

Because Jason’s father worked all the time and did not spend a lot of time with the family, Jason wants to do just the opposite with his family.  He says, “Jessica, my wife, has the hardest job – me!  She is a great mom to the kids, never missing events.  It was hard decision for her to stay home with the kids, but we both don’t regret her being able to spend time with Bella 12, and Mike 4.”  Jason is a very hands-on dad too, having daddy/daughter dates with Bella and man time with Mike.  “I spoil Bella completely.  She and Jessica do daughter/mommy coffee or spa dates, while we go buy new glasses or clothes or stuff like that!” 

Giving back is a huge part of this man’s life.  When he and Jessica were first married, they experienced some financial hardships.  “We were in our 20’s and it was really scary.  Our minister came through and gave us the money to see us through. Jessica and I made a decision that as soon as we could we would start giving money away. At first we couldn’t do much, maybe giving a $20 bill to a homeless man or taking some food to a family, but that has been part of our life ever since then. Simon Ellet told this story about his friend. “About a year ago, Jason collected men’s clothing to give to men at a homeless shelter.  At the end of the time, when everything was distributed another man came up needing a coat.  He was big guy like Jason.  It was a very cold day so just like that, Jason took off his coat and his shoes and gave them to the man.”  

This fun man wants to make a million bucks and more, so he can give most of it away.  BUT, he does have a luxury want – a black Lamborghini!  He says, “I want to be Batman!  He worked for the good of humanity.”  He shares, “I used to be ashamed of my struggles, especially the financial ones.  But now I realize they are just part of who I am and what I have become.

If you have a chance to share some time with this man, you will come away as I did on that hot Friday day a couple years ago – wanting to have this man be your friend.


CN Horn Tooting


Jeff Pettit, owner of Artistic Memorials in Perrysburg & Northwood will be celebrating 15 years in business on February 14th. Woo Hoo!!
On the 27th of January Bob Link, United Van Lines, received an award for the Masters Club. It's United Van Lines honor for the top 10% of salespeople and United Van Lines Moving Network. Typically only about a hundred sales people qualify and there are over a thousand within the system. Bob says that networking was responsible for 25% of his volume this year but second-tier would account for another 20%. His CN & BNI contacts have been invaluable.

In August of 2016, Angela Crosby joined Sheakley as an HR & Risk Management Consultant.  She is specializing in Human Resource outsourcing, Payroll, Workers' Compensation.

Rick and Lauren Reichow, Martin & Lark Insurance Agency, welcomed their newest addition Scarlett Mae to the family on Dec 15, 2016. She joins big sisters, Hayley and Nora.

Deb Keller, HMH Wellness, has opened a training center to learn more about essential oils where there are new classes to choose from, some even being free.

Joani Donovan, 3D Wellness, a comprehensive movement and massage center is now providing the opportunity to enjoy the gold standard of cycling trainers. CompuTrainer.  Its unique feature, Spin Scan, can train cyclers to pedal more smoothly and symmetrically reducing injury risk and elevating performance.
Networking Hacks
by Jason Madasz,
I have all of the business that I could ever want,” said no small business owner ever!  Ok, so some say this, but they are typically not the hungry entrepreneurs that we are talking about today.  If you are a hungry small business professional in 2017, you are most likely looking to increase your business.  Most everyone in this camp agrees that good quality, warm referrals are like stumbling upon a pot of gold.  Over the last few years, we have all seen those “Life Hacks” online.  You know the ones; the person that turns the toilet paper tube into a booming speaker or the watermelon that can magically recharge your cell phone.  There are entire websites dedicated to the topic.  So, how awesome would it be if there were a set of “Hacks” guaranteed to generate more referrals for your business!

Alright, I know the anticipation is building, you can’t wait to learn these secrets that you never knew could make all of the difference.  The secrets that are guaranteed to help you earn 6 figures of referrals in 2017.  All of these years, you wish you had know this.  Well, here they are………….there aren’t any.  Anti-climactic, but it’s the truth.  At least not in the way that we normally think of Life Hacks.  Most of us have come to view hacks as short cuts or ways around putting in the actual work.  Where in reality, there are no shortcuts to generating more referrals for your business.  The work ALWAYS has to get done.  

To read hints about how to do the work go to this link.

 The Award for the Most Important Aspect of Networking Goes to…
By Chris Kapelski,

You just finished up your largest networking event of the year and everything went great. You met a lot of new people, passed out some business cards, and even found a few good leads. But now what…

Follow. Up.

It’s the least practiced and most underrated piece of networking that exists today. You see, everyone had come to the networking event for the same reason. Sure, some of them were looking to increase sales, generate leads, launch a product, or build brand recognition but ultimately, they were all there to meet new people and grow their business. By the end of the event, everybody was on information overload and unfortunately this means you were probably forgotten. I know you’re thinking, no way. I’m not easily forgotten. Well then don’t take my word for it. Call one of the people you met and say, “Hello, this is (your name)” and wait to see what they say. I bet they have a hard time remembering why they should know you.

Now that you understand why follow up is key, let’s talk about a few methods to do so.

Email Them
One of the easiest methods to follow up would be to email them at the address on their business card that I am sure you collected. I strongly suggest that if you plan on sending emails you follow these guidelines.
•    Ask for permission not forgiveness. During the event ask people for their          permission to send them an email. This will ensure your email is welcomed        with open arms and not a turned back. 
•   Timing is everything. Be sure to reach out in a timely manner. If you don’t       get to it within a week of the event, your window has probably closed. 
•   Know when to quit. If you don’t hear back after the first couple emails you       could try a phone call, but then STOP. No one likes to be harassed and you       will end up doing more harm than good.

Speaking of Phone Calls…
While email is a wonderful tool and so many business owners use that as their main source of communication, nothing can beat the personal touch of a phone call. If you’re going to try and stand out with a call here are a few pointers.

•    Do your research. Look up the company and person you are calling first.          Understand what they do and make sure you can have a knowledgeable            conversation.
•    Have a plan. No one has time for a never-ending pointless conversation. Be      able to explain what you have to offer and why it would be mutually                beneficial for them.
•   Set up another meeting. Before you even think of breaking that connection,      schedule time for a second meeting where you will continue the                        conversation in greater detail. 

Now that you understand the importance of follow up and have a few methods to use, don’t forget to do it. By setting aside some time to follow up, you will separate yourself from the pack of other networkers and be much more likely to accomplish your networking goals. The average networker will forget about it or not want to take the time required to do so. But you never were average. Were you?  (Ed Note:  Chris will come back next month with some additional follow up ideas focus on social media and online presence.)

Celebrating International Networking Week®
by Debby Peters,

This year, International Networking Week is Feb 6-10th.  For those not acquainted with this annual happening, it is a BNI worldwide initiative to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world.

To celebrate in our own way, we would like to invite all our CN grads to play in a game that we have set up.  We have also invited BNI of NW Ohio to participate, too.  

We want you to reach out to network in a conscious effort. To help you to do so we have a set of networking actions that have been assigned point values.  The goal is to accumulate 5 points. The actions are listed below:

□ Meet someone for a one to one meeting – 2 points
□ Pass a qualified referral – 2 points
□ Make a personal introduction – 2 points
□ Attend a networking event – 1 point
□ Place a written testimonial on the CN or BNI NWO Facebook page-1 point

When you have realized 5 points, go to either the Connext Nation’s Facebook page at or the BNI of NWO’s Facebook page at Once there at either one, post a comment to tell us all how you achieved your five points.  Give us the details!  With whom did you meet or what two people did you connect?  Have you passed a great referral or attended an event?  Testimonial?

There will be a post about this event that will be pinned at the top of the feed for the duration of the week, so it won’t be difficult for you to find.  For all those who participate (and Cleveland area can easily participate in this) those names will go into a hat.  The winner drawn after the week is over will have the choice of having lunch with either Debby Peters (CN) or Jason Madasz (BNI).  Whichever one you chose will pick up the tab, so yes, you can get a free lunch!

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