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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 Carrie Hoover, Lyndall Insurance, who was in our last Cleveland class,
Being an insurance agent, I have taken numerous courses on how to close a sale; but never one on how to open a door.  The course Referral Pursuit, by Connext Nation, taught me that building relationships with a common purpose helps not only me grow but helps the people I work with as well.” 

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 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.

Our next graduation will be May 16 from 5:30-7:30 PM at the Maumee Indoor Theater.

June Breakfast
Our next breakfast will be June 27th.  Arlene Gerig is helping to secure a speaker.  More details to come but get this on your calendar now!

July Lunch
Our next regular lunch is July 17th from 11:30-1 at Smokey Bones on Dussel in Maumee.

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! 

Changes to the BOA
Because of family responsibilities, Kyle Mossbarger, Mossbarger Designs, has decided to step aside from the CN Board of Action.  Kyle has been very helpful as a member, including reaching out to get our best speaker ever for our quarterly breakfast last year.  He reached out to Gene Poore, star entrepreneur and BGSU professor, and secured him as our presenter.  We were all riveted by Professor Poore and want to thank Kyle for his connection.  We know that Kyle will continue to give to CN in whatever way that he can.  We thank him for his contributions!

Member Spotlight:

Monica Wisser

by Kerri Brimmer

Say hello to Monica (Knoll) Wisser… that is, if you can catch her running between her three insurance agencies, home in Perrysburg and frequent visits to family! Monica is a whirlwind. 

Monica grew up in Wharton, Ohio (pop. 358, just south of Findlay). She attended Riverdale Local school and BGSU. Her family was musically inclined, and after singing in her church, high school show choir, and school musicals, she decided to pursue a major in vocals at BGSU. Part-way through her studies she questioned her choice of majors… not due to countless hours practicing in a small sound room. She was finding a hard time helping children find the same passion for music she had, and decided to switch her major to business.

At 16, Monica took a job as a customer service assistant in the Upper Sandusky American Family Insurance office, hoping to get a discount on her auto insurance. She found that there were no discounts… but kept working anyway. Monica reflected, “I really enjoyed the customer interaction and the responsibility that comes with working in the insurance industry. When I turned 18, I started working in claims as well. The loss of a friend showed me the value of the insurance products.” 

After college, Monica worked for Agent Nathan Young in Perrysburg. Monica related “He inspired me to get licensed and I got accepted to be an agent in training. After about 8-9 months training, I took over an existing agency on Holland-Sylvania in Toledo.” Since then, Monica has acquired a second office in Defiance, Ohio. American Family offered to allow her to take over the Upper Sandusky office where she started working at age 16, bringing her full circle. “I travel a lot right now between the three offices, but in the future will only travel to each office once a week. It makes a lot of sense for me to invest all my time and energy in my business now while I’m able to do so,” said Monica.

Monica and her husband, James Wisser, regularly travel to visit family in Wharton, Ohio and Allen Park, Michigan. Her focus is 100% family! They are up to 10 nieces and nephews and want to miss as little as possible. Monica’s sister lives in Ohio and recently had her first baby boy. Her brother is an engineering student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana. 

In her leisure time, she and her husband love to try new foods, and have been known to travel just to get to a new restaurant. (Are you seeing a travel pattern here?) Monica enjoys coaching soccer. She was coaching with Perrysburg soccer club, and will be coaching at Riverdale High School in the fall. Fall is her favorite season because its not too hot or cold… and the best sports are in the fall. In autumn, she says, “you get to see all of God’s work coming full circle.” 

If you are looking for Monica you may find her at at a board meeting for American Family Insurance Charity (Kids Celebrity Wait Night), at her Profit Partners BNI meeting, a Connext Nation social event or at the Wharton First Church of God. With businesses in three communities, Monica is figuring out how she can be most valuable in each and how to make time for each. She focuses on “farming, not hunting” as taught in CN. She firmly believes in the value of having others help you build your business instead of doing it on your own. Finding a good referral partner has been key. 

Keep up the good work Monica!


CN Horn Tooting


Lisa Rosen says that the Spring Collection from Etcetera was absolutely fabulous! The Toledo area enjoyed it at a rate of nearly 100% over last year’s collection! Be sure to connect with Lisa if you would like to bump that % even more!

Although Ellen Critchley Pittman is retired, from the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, she continues to have the privilege of being the tour director for the TSO-sponsored trip to Chautauqua Institution in western New York.  The theme for the week they are attending is “Comedy and the Human Condition,” They already have reservations for 25 people.  This time last year, they only had 13 reservations, and 33 eventually booked. She say that it is always a pleasure to work with repeat travelers and to meet some new ones, as they do each year.

Mary Nyitray, Optical Arts, shares, “We won again!! 10 years in a row City Paper readers have voted us Best Optical!! Thank you to all of you who voted for us!  We greatly appreciate it!”

Tony Szczechowski, reports that Land Opt has inducted Pro Edge in to the "Million Dollar Maintenance Base Club" at the Principles Meeting on March 2 in St. Petersburg Florida.  

Diving is a passion for Angie Weid, owner of Organized Solutions.  She is excited to become one of the new volunteer divers at the Toledo Zoo.  Angie will be working "behind the scenes" and diving in "The Reef" a 90,000 gallon aquarium with the Black Tip Reef sharks, Unicorn Tang and other fun sea critters.  During the dive shows, Angie will be interacting with the audience, answering questions and posing for pictures.  She will also be helping with cleaning dives, where Angie will be brushing, scraping and scrubbing the tanks while the sea creatures swim around her.  Rumors have been told that the Zebra Sharks like to bump the divers during this process ... come visit the zoo and wave to Angie through the glass.

Kym Cragel, Wellness Fix, finished her Infant Swim Resource Certification and will be holding her first session beginning in April. Her ISR email is  She also began teaching at Lourdes University in the Lifelong Learning division.  She is teaching Holistic Health for 50+.

Jason Madasz, BNI, is proud to announce that BNI of NWO won Toledo's Best Professional Networking Group in City Paper’s Best of Toledo contest.

Jody Zink, Realtor in Ohio and Michigan with RE/MAX Preferred just received her ASP designation. ASP stands for Accredited Staging Professional. Properly staged homes sell faster and for more money than those that aren't. Being an ASP enhances Jody's commitment to putting more money in her clients' pockets.

Sarah Krafty celebrated Krafty Travel’s 5-year anniversary at Degage Jazz Café on Thursday, March 9 at their monthly “Travel Tastings” event.  “Travel Tastings” is a casual, fun networking and travel info night where members taste a new destination each month.  The events are the second Thursday of each month at Degage from 7-830p.  Sarah works with Chef Mike of Degage to create each month’s menu.  A travel supplier guest is also present to help represent the destination discussed. Next up is Ireland on April 13.

Tami Norris, shares that Northwest State/Custom Training Solutions has partnered with MSSC (The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) to start a unique program in the Toledo area for Certified Production Technicians. Through partnership with the United Way the first cohort of students were able to attend this program and graduate on March 24. The course is based on "industry-recognized, nationally validated standards" and helps prepare students for today's skilled factory jobs.  CTS is the only institution in the Toledo area to offer this certified training.
Good Bye to a Friend of CN!
by Debby Peters,
For those who think that “some things are done better in the dark,” you will be sad to hear that our wonderful trainer, Sandy Pirwitz, has decided to retire.  That line above was how Sandy described her evening CN class!)  

Sandy joined our first class across the state line in Michigan at Monroe County Community College while at the time owning a women’s’ clothing store.  The concept of target market was so new to her because she always thought that because she had clothing from size 0 to plus/plus, that every woman was her focus!  But she embraced the concept and become more successful because of it.  

Knowing how much CN impacted her life, she asked if she could become a trainer several years later.  At that point Sandy had sold her store and was overseeing BNI chapters as a Director Consultant.  Her chapters were always very successful because she brought the tenet of CN to this job.  She felt that developing relationships was the most important aspect of her duties and she did it well.  At a National BNI Director conference she was asked to speak about how she managed her chapters so well.  Included in that talk was the explanation that she had small dinner parties where she would invite groups of 6-8 BNI members for a night of “getting to know you (better.)”  I don’t know of any other Director that understood this relationship concept so well.  

It has been an honor to have Sandy be a part of our trainer team and now I wish her all the BIG FUN in the world in her retirement.

 Speak Up or Freeze
By Greg Peters,

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” 
~William Arthur Ward

It was a little breezy around here last week, and by “breezy” I mean a windstorm with gusts around sixty-five miles per hour that toppled large trees and knocked out power for around 800,000 homes. Immediately after that it got a little chilly around here, and by “chilly” I mean temperatures in the teens, where if your house doesn’t have power for several days, you get to experience living in forty degrees -- inside.

That was where we were. Fortunately, I mentioned our predicament to several folks and received many kind offers of assistance. Instead of shivering in our beds, by the second night, we were warm and cozy, and enjoying the creature comforts of the modern age, thanks to our good friends, Tim and Kimber.

Remember this lesson when it comes to getting results from your networking. You have needs -- whether you want clients, employees, vendors, or even advice. First, know what you want. Then -- and this is the important part -- you have to tell your connections. It’s funny what happens when you do…

… you get what you need.

I’ve seen this, time and again in my training programs. A participant shares her needs with a small group -- sometimes only three or four others. Inevitably, one or two of them can provide whatever she needs or at least a path that gets her closer to the goal.

If -- in our moment of need -- I had chosen to keep our lack of heat and electricity to myself, we would have been mildly uncomfortable, and by “uncomfortable” I mean freezing and experiencing the delights of hypothermia. Don’t make the same mistake with your business. Share your need, and enjoy the most important benefit of having a powerful network…


Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a world of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at or

Your Comfort Zone Sucks! 
by Jason Madasz,

When I look back at the times in my life when I made great strides forward, those periods were always comprised of challenges and outright turmoil.  Leaving my comfort zone seemed to always be painful.  All I wanted to do was stay in that nice, comfortable place where I knew everyone around me, my job was easy and I could just put in my time.


In 2003 my wife and I both lost our positions in the technology industry, forcing us to reinvent ourselves.  I look back now and it was no surprise why I was the low man on the totem pole and one of the first to lose my position. I was the head of the department, my job had become so easy, that I spend a minimum of 3 hours each day screwing off.  Playing basketball behind the warehouse and online games were daily activities.  I was comfortable (and a terrible employee).  Being laid off forced me into a place that I didn’t want to be, unemployed!  However, if this event hadn’t occurred, I would never have discovered my entrepreneurial spirit and definitely would not have been writing this today.  My comfort zone sucked!  Not only did it suck in the traditional sense, but it was also sucking my potential without me even realizing it.  My comfort zone was a trap that prevented me from realizing a much better future for myself and my family.

Obviously, my story isn’t unique. Thousands of business professionals have found new passions when they are forced out of their comfort zones. I would even venture to say that MOST small business owners didn’t originally start out on their current path. If this sounds like you, have you ever stopped to think about what your business would look like today had you pushed yourself out of you comfort zone a bit earlier?  How much more could you have accomplished?  How much larger and more profitable would you be today?  All because, you recognized your comfort zone, and pushed yourself out of it.

Want to know more how this relates to networking?  Go to to read the rest of this post.  Jason says it well!

They Know My Name! 
by: Debby Peters,

Recently Steve and I spent 10 wonderful days in Belize on a restful vacation.  This is our third year in the Caribbean, and we’ve decided that we will hopefully return to the Pacific coast for our next vacation.  Our reasoning is that every year we have experienced tremendously windy conditions in the Caribbean.  While a little ocean breeze is wonderful, the “blow your hair off your head” type of wind is more what we experienced.

But thinking a little deeper, we also realized that we missed the community that our favorite lodge, Aguila de Osa.Inn, fosters.  They do this by first knowing all the travelers names immediately.  They greet new arrivals immediately with a warm hello, a cold beverage and a little chat, including the invitation to the every evening cocktail hour and the information about how dinner is family style.  Each of us sits at a different assigned seat each night at one of the three big long tables. Not only does the staff make it their jobs to become friendly with each visitor, but they help all the travelers to become familiar with each other.  Leaving Aguila de Osa Inn is almost like leaving Cheers!  (The TV show of that name that represented a group that met at a local bar, “Cheers,” on a regular basis.)  It is a sad parting!

What are you doing in your networking efforts to create this kind of bonding to happen?  Are you fostering connections among your networking contacts?  Are you inviting others to go to events as your guest?  (It’s sort of like going on an excursion on vacation!)  In the article above, Jason talks about our comfort zone and how it can hem us in.  What one person do you need to reach out to in order to help that person to become part of your community?  That’s not the easiest task to do, especially when that voice inside our head is telling us not to risk rejection!

Remember, you can push yourself at people or you can allow them to surround you because they want to be around you!  Community is what it’s all about.

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